ANDREW MILLER
Time Management Guru

And we’re back with Part 2 of our time management questions and challenges series. In case you missed Part 1, you can find it here:

Part 1: https://www.teamworks.com/5-questionschallenges-time-management/

Questions covered in Part 1:
1. What is a “time management plan”?
2. What exactly should teams share with student-athletes?
3. How far in advance do you share the student-athletes’ calendars?

Question 4

WHAT APPROVAL PROCESS SHOULD CALENDAR CHANGES FOLLOW?

We’ll pick up with a very common question around appointment change approval processes. Do we need one? And if so, how do we implement it? I think this topic best manifests the inter-relationship among people, process, and technology to solve a complex problem: you need good people to implement efficient processes enabled by best-in-class technology. Let’s get into the details.

The answer to the first question is completely up to the institution as there are no “requirements”  from the legislation itself on a change approval process. As such, once again we find that the answer varies. I’ve seen compliance offices that:

  • Delegate approval of a change to the sport administrator
  • Keep approval of a change within the compliance office
  • Require both compliance and the sport administrator to approve a change
  • Employ no  approval process

The first three options above are typically implemented using email, which has the potential to inhibit a team’s ability to be nimble and flexible and generally adds administrative burden to everyone involved. And quite frankly, it requires someone to send an email to kickoff the process! In the case of the fourth option, technology plays a larger role. Using an integrated calendar and messaging system, administrators are alerted of a change immediately and can take the appropriate action, if any, based on the context surrounding the change (when it was made, reason it was made, and so on).

Regardless of how your institution approaches change approval policy, the need for transparency and timely information sharing across organizations is critical to an effective process.

In addition, keeping track of changes, making it easy for the teams to record changes whenever they occur within the approval process itself, and keeping an accurate and detailed history of actions surrounding a change (meetings with the coach/ops person, facilities conflict verification, and so on) will no doubt be beneficial for end of year reviews.

Teamworks’ Approach: Teamworks supports and enables the fourth option. Our business is team operations and collaboration while providing administrators transparency and information in a timely manner. This approach allows teams to be as nimble as they need to be while holding them accountable to time management policies. This truly is a win-win and lets all parties perform their job duties uninhibited.

Challenge 1

SHARING CALENDAR UPDATES WITH STUDENT-ATHLETES IMMEDIATELY.

This next topic is a commonly stated challenge rather than another question. The previous questions touch on it but because it is so paramount to the point of the legislation, it warrants its own section. And that is getting updates to the student-athletes in real-time.

No matter how well the team plans and no matter when a schedule is communicated to a student-athlete, changes DO happen. That’s just a fact.

On a side note – as discussed in our first Thought Leadership webinar with Lindsey Babcock, Executive Associate AD for Compliance at Kansas State (link here), changes are, surprisingly, frequently coming from the student-athletes themselves and not the coach who plans poorly or likes to keep everyone on their toes!

Nonetheless, making student-athletes (and staff) aware of these changes is a critical component to the legislation. When coupled with any type of approval process, Without the right technology, getting the word out CAN be an exercise in logistics, but it doesn’t have to be with the right technology in place. Technology that can reach everyone on the device they almost always have with them – their mobile phone.

Teamworks’ Approach: Our Calendar module is truly the foundation of time management in Teamworks, and alerting student-athletes and staff of changes has been in our wheelhouse for some time. All users on the invite list are alerted immediately through text messages, emails or both that a change has occurred. It’s that simple!

BONUS QUESTION

HOW DO WE MONITOR ADHERENCE TO OUR INSTITUTION’S POLICY ON ADEQUATE NOTICE FOR CHANGES?

Even though the conclusion of academic year 2017-2018 is still months away, I have no doubt that many of you are already thinking about the metrics your end of year reports will include. If you haven’t, then perhaps this is the spark to start the discussion internally!

In my limited discussions with customers on the end of year report, one common item has been “how many changes are in conflict with our policy, and why”. Great metric, tough to measure.

How an institution monitors policy conflicts depends significantly on many factors, many of which have been addressed in other sections of this series.

I do want to respect my place in this discussion as a technology vendor, so I’ll be brief on this topic and look at it from one example (though rest assured we’ll cover this topic again later). Let’s assume an institution uses email for change communication. Those emails will first need to be collected – likely no small feat considering the number of teams, staff, and practices in a typical academic year! Then they must be analyzed for policy conflicts, such as adequate notice. Unfortunately email timestamps can be misleading, and combined with an approval process may muddy the water as to when a change was actually communicated to student-athletes. But the analysis must be completed, summarized by sport, and reviewed with administrators and staff for improvements to be implemented the next academic year.

Teamworks’ Approach: Institutions can input elements of their time management policy into Teamworks. In conjunction with the Calendar module, changes and potential policy conflicts are easily monitored and tracked. We provide a single repository for all alerts, communication, and information necessary to quickly assemble an effective end of year report.


Thank you all for your time and please feel free to contact me with your thoughts and additional questions. Until next time!