Robert Heinlein once wrote a great piece call “This I Believe.”

I wrote some words I strongly believe in a reply to an interview the other day, and I thought they should be posted here. Essentially, this is my advice for other technology directors in my line of work.

Advice for Technology Leaders

a) Appreciate your users–if you lose the ability to empathize with them, it’s time to find another job.

b) Don’t get stale–if you’re resisting trying new things maybe it’s because you’ve grown complacent or adopted a turtle shell “bunker mentality.” A sure sign of this is if you deny a tech request/idea immediately without even considering it or trying to make it work.

c) Keep aware of the field–force yourself to keep in touch with the educational technology field. There may be a solution to problems you don’t even know about just around the corner if you look. Hire people with contrasting strengths to give your department fresh perspectives.

d) Keep working to educate the district on your job. Show them what you do. Teach them the things they need to do or be aware of in order to support technology properly in your district. Show them why they need to give you more resources or staff. Make up charts and lists to help, and track your team’s help desk tasks for reports. Most people are amazed when they see what we do to keep the district up and running.

e) Keep the district’s best interests in every decision you make, regardless of personal feelings involved. If it’s good for the district, it’s good for you to make the decision. This is a simple statement, but I see it violated in the educational field more than you would believe.

f) Finally, involve yourself and your staff with the district and involve the district with your staff. Technology is not an island unto itself, but I see many teams using their offices as bunkers and heading out only to do tech requests. Eat lunch with the staff, attend after school functions if possible. Get to know your users better and let them get to know you and your staff.”