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When There's a Problem, Maintain your Optimism

Our long-awaited data warehouse system was installed this summer. Unfortunately, there are several operational glitches we hadn’t anticipated, things aren’t working as smoothly as we’d hoped, and the staff is ready to throw in the towel. What do I do now?

No matter how well you preplan any new implementation, it’s more likely than not that you will encounter some bumps along the road. Despite current rumblings, the staff will take their cues from you, so what you are experiencing now is a leadership issue as much as it is a problem with the software.

Effective leaders are optimistic; they approach challenges by seeking solutions, not by assuming that a situation is catastrophic. Model proactive behavior for your staff. Approach the situation assuming that the problems can, and will be corrected. Identify the specific issues and contact those people who have the skills and knowledge to help you sort things out. This is probably someone in the district’s Information Technology Department and the vendor.

Most importantly, make sure your staff has adequate access to support personnel during this process. People will be more willing to risk set-backs when they know that help is readily available.

Submitted by: Susan Brooks-Young

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