Effective Education Leaders Manage Uncertainty and Setbacks
After any failure, you usually have two options: give up or figure things out. Education leaders know when it’s time to double down, and when it’s time to fold, and they manage risk and uncertainty by making thoughtful decisions on next steps.
How education leaders manage uncertainty and setbacks
So here is the scenario. You are the 3rd year principal of an elementary school. You decide to purchase a new software application that is supposed to help your students develop foundational math skills as well as math fluency. You have 300 students, so you purchase 300 copies. You did your due diligence. You researched, vetted, and demoed the product and allowed the company to make a presentation to your leadership team and your teachers. Everyone, including you, thought it was a good product.
Fast forward to the next year, and its time to roll out this new math application. It does not go according to plan, and the rollout process is a disaster. It turns out that although the app is compatible with your student’s devices, it does not work at an optimal level with them. The teachers love the potential of the app, but when used on their student’s tablets, the app is too glitchy to be effective.
You contact the company, and there is nothing that they can do. You ask for a refund, but the company is playing hardball. Do you abandon the product and find something else? If you continue to use an app that is not working at an optimal level, you run the risk of setting your students back academically.
What would I do? I would make it clear to them that they can either run the risk of being sued by my district, or they can do the right thing and either fix the compatibility issue or give us a refund. Also, I would ask them if they want the bad press of being sued for defrauding a school district and putting student’s math fluency at risk. I guarantee you that they will fix the issue or refund your money promptly. By taking a risk in a situation like this, you can avoid your students being setback by something that is outside of their control.