How do you get the Leaders to use calendar?

Discussions about the Calendar Tool at lds.org. Questions about the calendar on the classic site should be posted in the LUWS forum.
1968leocomeeatabite
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How do you get the Leaders to use calendar?

Postby 1968leocomeeatabite » Thu Mar 06, 2014 3:45 pm

As I have experienced the lds.tech forum, I have noticed a great amount of challenges expressed with getting the wards and stakes to use the calendar properly. I have also hoped that my own stake would embrace the calendar.
It is my observation that few stakes are using the calendar properly. Or maybe there are stakes that are having no challenges and we just no not hear from them on the forum?
My personal experience and opinion is:
1. In some stakes the STS has activated the calendar for the Stake and wards to use. But the problem is that there is a lack of direction from the stake on how to implement the proper use of calendar.
2. Some wards that are on the ball dig in and get it going for their ward. But because of no direction or expectations from the stake, the ward becomes frustrated because when they have questions no one knows or no one is in charge so the questions or issues are not resolved and keep piling up.
3. In our stake the STS has tried to train the Clerks & Exec. Sec. and they are trying it some, but it seems to me they need someone in the stake to follow-up with them and help them with their challenges.
4. The stake and wards are not trained so they go to the default or old way of the building scheduler and then this often results in the incorrect use of reservation/restriction.
5. We read in the forum that the help section needs updating. This could be another fear for the leadership to implement the calendar until it is current. Nobody wants to get it wrong and then have to teach themselves a different way. (However it is my opinion that the help is still excellent and should be used.)
QUESTIONS:
A. What is the answer to have a stake get the calendar implemented and used properly?
B. Could you address the process of training? How long does it take to bring the stake and ward administrators up to speed, the stake and ward editors, and Building Schedulers? What if no one has taken the time to understand how it works?
C. Has church headquarters given us sufficient notice, encouragement and help?

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Re: How do you get the Leaders to use calendar?

Postby swigginton » Fri Mar 07, 2014 2:54 pm

I'm our stake executive secretary. These are all great questions, which we were trying to deal with about 6 months ago. The trigger for us was the decision to no longer publish a printed stake directory/calendar. I spent a lot of time experimenting with the online calendar and trying a bunch of different scenarios to become an expert in understanding it. It took a lot of work, but was worth it. Using that knowledge, I worked with a counselor in the stake presidency to develop a general policy and standards for deployment. Here's what we did:
  • Using a spreadsheet of the prior year's stake calendar, we categorized all the events to help us determine which calendars to create and which rooms were typically used in each building.
  • In September, we configured the list of resources for each building to include only those rooms that are typically scheduled. Other rooms are first-come-first served.
  • I created the stake calendars and entered the general stake events (stake conference, leadership meetings, etc.)
  • In October, we then trained the secretaries from each stake organization and gave them rights as calendar editors for their organization's calendar. They had the assignment to enter all 2014 stake events for their organization. That took about 3 weeks
  • We then notified wards leaders to view the online calendar to see the stake events and begin thinking about their ward activities for 2014.
  • At that point, we held a training session for the building schedulers. Their role is to only schedule non-church events (weddings, family activities, funerals, etc.). We do that using a single, private calendar available to all the building schedulers.
  • In early November, we had each ward provide one or two tech-savvy people to attend a training session to become ward calendar admins. We taught them how to create and administer ward calendars. We provided a "best practices" list of recommended calendars, but left it up to them to adapt to their ward's needs. We gave them training materials to take back to their ward to train and assign ward organization secretaries as calendar editors. We also provided a handout for them to give to ward members, introducing the calendar.
  • The ward organization secretaries were then responsible to enter the events for their organization

It went much smoother than we expected and most wards had their calendars up and running before the first of the year. Ward members are still getting used to it, but it's going well. A few things that I believe made it successful:

I took a lot of time to learn the calendar, through lots of experimenting. I read through the forum here and gleaned some very useful information.

We took time to prepare and hold 3 training sessions, as described above. That gave the building schedulers, stake secretaries and ward admins the tools they needed for success

I made sure I was available to help and answer questions

We defined only a few stake policies, but they help provide some incentive to use the calendar. For example:
  • A location may not be scheduled, unless there is a specific event to go with it. In other words, you can't automatically reserve the cultural hall every Wed. for the Deacons, because you "might" need it.
  • If 2 different groups show up for their activities and discover a location conflict, the one who scheduled on the calendar has priority.
  • An entire facility cannot be reserved without stake approval.

Hopefully, that gives you a few ideas. It was a lot of work, but I believe we avoided a lot of problems and found it to be worth the effort. Best of luck.

--Steve

1968leocomeeatabite
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Re: How do you get the Leaders to use calendar?

Postby 1968leocomeeatabite » Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:40 am

Steve, Thank you for taking the time to explain your approach. One thing that I am seeing is that though all of us are looking to have success, we apparently achieve it through our own approach. I am hoping that the approach will come for us. Your ideas are helpful, and a good chance to be used by us an others. Thank You. I especially like what you said about teaching your self to be an expert. I think that who ever in the stake is going to be the in-charge guy needs to spend the time to understand how the calendar operates and then can help the unit leadership(stake) make some guide line or rules to help the implementation with all units. Otherwise all the frustrations and incorrect use of the system is manifest just as it is apparent in the forum. I would like to emphasis the importance of the in-charge guy in the stake is the key. If this does not happen the rest are left to do as best they can and deal with others acting the best that they know how but are not as the calendar was intended. Good job and future success to you Steve.

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Re: How do you get the Leaders to use calendar?

Postby drepouille » Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:18 am

Our stake has been using the online calendar (both LUWS and the new calendar) for several years. We have not printed a stake directory since 2011, and our printed stake directory has not included a calendar since 2004.

During our stake conference this past weekend, the presiding Seventy told our priesthood leaders that the Church has a problem getting information "to the end of the row." After the general session on Sunday, we in the presidency got to meet with the Seventy for a couple hours. I asked him how we could get the wards and branches to use the online resources available to them. The Seventy and our stake presidency agreed that it is up to the bishops and branch presidents to decide which communication method works best for their members, and that technological solutions are not the panacea for all units.

Although I champion the tools on lds.org every chance I get, I have no authority over the bishops. My own ward doesn't use any of those tools. When I reviewed my ward's 2013 calendar, I only found two events, way back in February 2013. The newsletter is blank. The lesson schedules are not set up for 2014.

As for the calendar, I mainly concentrate on the meetinghouses that are shared by multiple wards and stakes. I try to guide the building coordinators as much as possible. I have created private calendars for them to schedule private events. I also guide the stake council, and encourage them to post their events to their calendars as early as possible. It would be great if all events for the coming year were created by the end of the previous year, but that has not been possible.

As the stake clerk, I am concentrating more on training all the clerks in the stake, reviewing their membership records, and pointing out important items in their monthly financial statements.
Dana Repouille, Plattsmouth, Nebraska

1968leocomeeatabite
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Re: How do you get the Leaders to use calendar?

Postby 1968leocomeeatabite » Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:45 am

Thank You, drepouille what you have said is instructive. I will still hope that as you are trying to have at least the calendar working in our stake.

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Re: How do you get the Leaders to use calendar?

Postby swigginton » Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:48 am

1968leocomeeatabite wrote:One thing that I am seeing is that though all of us are looking to have success, we apparently achieve it through our own approach.


I completely agree. It's not a one-size-fits-all activity. You must adapt the approach to the personality and demographics of your stake.

I think that who ever in the stake is going to be the in-charge guy needs to spend the time to understand how the calendar operates...


Yes. It was a lot of work and took considerable time, but was worth it. Having a readily-available "go-to" person who can answer questions and help with concerns makes the stake and ward leaders feel much more comfortable and reduces frustration. Change is often difficult, but knowing there is someone willing and able to help will ease the transition. Combining that with limiting the building schedulers to only private events helped us encourage the wards to use the calendar.

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Re: How do you get the Leaders to use calendar?

Postby aebrown » Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:06 am

Although the wards in our stake use the Calendar in different ways, the key to making it successful in our stake was one simple rule: the online Calendar on LDS.org is the system of record for scheduling buildings.

Once the stake president declared that if you don't have an event on the Calendar, you don't get to use the building, the wards really had no choice. Some wards may funnel all calendar requests through one person, while others distribute the scheduling to auxiliary leaders and others; some wards may have many calendars, while others have just a handful or even one; some buildings may use Restrictions, while others use only events. But since all our buildings house multiple wards, no ward could hope to have successful activities without using the Calendar to create events that book rooms in the building.

We try to provide training, and we share best practices that can make the system run more smoothly, but it was that one rule that made all the difference.

1968leocomeeatabite
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Re: How do you get the Leaders to use calendar?

Postby 1968leocomeeatabite » Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:15 am

The following quotes are swigginton
• In September, we configured the list of resources for each building to include only those rooms that are typically scheduled. Other rooms are first-come-first served.
I too have read in the forum that this is how many approach this, however if the unit leaders wanted the Beehives, scouts, Mia-maids, Varsity, Laural, & Ventures to create their own calendars every room would need to be listed. Yet some feel that by listing all the rooms it is inconvenient to scroll through a long list.
• In October, we then trained the secretaries from each stake organization and gave them rights as calendar editors for their organization's calendar. They had the assignment to enter all 2014 stake events for their organization. That took about 3 weeks.
I like the way this is organized. It gives the Stake an example of the responsibility the organization leaders have to use the calendar. However other stakes see this as unnecessary, probably because the amount of activities through the year are comparatively small. Yet it is their activity and they are the ones that could provide a detailed description, and thus help the correct details & info. reach the membership. I have seen other stakes use the High Councilmen to enter the activities of the stake. In our Stake the activities of the YM come in the largest # then the YW followed by the Primary & RS.
• At that point, we held a training session for the building schedulers. Their role is to only schedule non-church events (weddings, family activities, funerals, etc.). We do that using a single, private calendar available to all the building schedulers.
About the role: So this sounds like it might work OK. But if I understand it correctly, you would need to enter each building schedulers by name as an editor of this private calendar. If each building scheduler has access to this calendar it is apparently a stake calendar. This could run the risk of letting the membership think that we are still in the “call the building scheduler to schedule the building” mode which we are desperately trying to avoid. I think I would rather have a ward calendar administrator or editor schedule these, or a stake admin. or editor.
• In early November, we had each ward provide one or two tech-savvy people to attend a training session to become ward calendar admins. We taught them how to create and administer ward calendars. We provided a "best practices" list of recommended calendars, but left it up to them to adapt to their ward's needs. We gave them training materials to take back to their ward to train and assign ward organization secretaries as calendar editors. We also provided a handout for them to give to ward members, introducing the calendar.

I really like this. Just a few questions for Steve. The “two tech-savvy people” you had in the Nov. training: Did you leave this up to the bishopric as to who this was? If they were not presently in the bishopric were they added by name or calling? I like what you wrote about training.
• The ward organization secretaries were then responsible to enter the events for their organization.

Giving the secretaries was a great move. I guess in our ward it might be the member of the presidency that had internet and could handle the input for the calendar.
I took a lot of time to learn the calendar, through lots of experimenting. I read through the forum here and gleaned some very useful information.

I agree that it takes time to learn the calendar. It is taking a lot of my time for. It is a great tool! I really like the forum it has straighten me out on many points.
We took time to prepare and hold 3 training sessions, as described above. That gave the building schedulers, stake secretaries and ward admins the tools they needed for success.

I noticed that this was a strategic plan of training. You gave yourself time to put in place the necessary steps to be ready for the coming year. This would have needs of correlation in preparing and correlating all stake people and then each ward and its organizations. I say well Done.
I made sure I was available to help and answer questions.

For me this is probably the most important step!
Hopefully, that gives you a few ideas. It was a lot of work, but I believe we avoided a lot of problems and found it to be worth the effort. Best of luck.
Perfect!

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Re: How do you get the Leaders to use calendar?

Postby drepouille » Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:25 am

I created one private stake calendar named "Stake Center Events" and made "Stake Scheduler--Building 1" the editor of that calendar. So I don't have to make an individual an editor by name.

I also created another private stake calendar for the meetinghouse we share with another stake, and made "Stake Scheduler--Building 2" the editor of that calendar.
Dana Repouille, Plattsmouth, Nebraska

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Re: How do you get the Leaders to use calendar?

Postby russellhltn » Mon Mar 10, 2014 12:57 pm

1968leocomeeatabite wrote:This could run the risk of letting the membership think that we are still in the “call the building scheduler to schedule the building” mode which we are desperately trying to avoid.

At which point the building scheduler says "I only do private events. Contact your ward leaders to schedule your church event."

You could do it either way, I don't see an issue. Our stake funnels private events though one person because of other procedures we have in place for letting members use the buildings for family events.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.


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