Prior: Part 6: Multiple Calendars Need Not Lead to Multiple Headaches

In the past, information was submitted to one person or just a handful of people who then put it on the Sacrament bulletin and calendar. They then distributed the information to others. This is NOT how the Church’s digital calendars work.

The calendars are now collaborative and distributive.

These are the Church’s words, not mine. In fact, they had a nice little visual diagram where a bunch of people were handing information to one person who then put the information onto an information product.

The next visual diagram had a bunch of people putting information onto the information product themselves. This is what describes the current situation.

Many people now have the ability to place information on the calendar, usually just within their realm of authority.

In fact, by default, the Church empowers every single person in every single presidency with Calendar Editor privileges. This means, for example, that the Elders Quorum President, the two counselors, and the secretary automatically have the ability to place items on the Elders Quorum calendar.

This holds true for all the other organizations as well. And, the Church doesn't limit it there. Anyone can be made a Calendar Editor.

Digital Potluck

Think of the calendars as a “digital potluck.” The calendars make themselves. Everyone brings their bit of information to the digital table and puts it in its appropriate place. This creates the digital potluck. Anyone in the ward and stake can access this information.

Example: Relief Society put their information on their calendar. Primary puts theirs, etc. Since the information is not sifted through a lot of different people before it goes on the calendar, fewer errors and distortion will exist in the information.

However, the digital potluck needs to be brimming with information BEFORE you make a big push for people to access it. If a food potluck has no food on the table, people will not come back. They will not come back to the calendars either, if there is nothing on them, or if what is there is unreliable.

This digital potluck needs to be extensive before you make a big push for people to visit the calendars. Invite people to a digital feast, not a digital famine. They won't return to a digital famine.

The calendar should be and can be the best and most authoritative record of events and activities. It can always be current because it operates in real-time, unlike the bulletin which is only current one day a week and sometimes not even that.

The Challenges with the Digital Pot Luck Vision

The only real problem with the new digital potluck vision is getting it started. First off, if multiple people are going to be placing information on the digital calendars, they need to be trained in how to do it properly.

They also need to be trained to view themselves as the ones responsible for doing it. Too often, we consider passing information off to leadership to disseminate or announce it. The unfortunate result of this is that bishops, counselors, clerks, executive secretary’s and the like are placing information on the digital calendar.

They are only placing a cryptic reference to an event and it is usually bereft of any details. It is the people down the line that have the rich details and they should be the ones placing things on the calendars.

Not long ago, I was trying to find out details to a Relief Society event. I couldn’t get much of anything out of anybody.

We had two people in charge of Relief Society activities. I had an epiphany. Why not empower these two people to put the details on the Relief Society calendar themselves? They are the ones with all the details. Right?!

Well, I cleared it with the Relief Society President and she thought it was a great idea. I was just about to clear it with the Ward Clerk when our ward boundaries got realigned. That scuttled everything.

Calendar Editors

If this seems radical and questionable, it shouldn’t. This is exactly how the digital calendar system works. It is possible to give people Calendar Editor status for just one calendar. This is not a calling or a responsibility. It is simply an administrative possibility we can use for our convenience. Anybody can be empowered as a Calendar Editor.

There are several people with callings that have the ability to effect this simply administrative detail and empower someone to be a Calendar Editor. More on this later.

Put Things on the RIGHT Calendars

It is tempting to get casual about what calendars you put things on. For example, if you are in the Primary and need to put the baptism of a Primary child on the calendar, why not put it on the Primary calendar?

This is convenient because it is the only calendar you have access to put things on. However, some standardization needs to occur and these policy decisions need to be worked out by leaders.

If you put the baptism on the Primary calendar, people that do not list or view the Primary calendar will miss it entirely because they probably view Primary events as being irrelevant to them. All baptisms should probably go in the same place and that includes convert baptisms.

Baptisms should probably go on the general events calendar for the ward or branch and be scheduled by the ward clerk for that reason.

The ward Halloween event I mentioned previously that was sponsored by the Primary should have gone on the general events calendar too because it was relevant to the entire ward.

So, the gist is: Careful thought needs to be given to what events get put on what calendar. Information needs to be in predictable and consistent places so that people can feel confident on where to find the information they need.

The other crucial point is that this is necessary for people to be able to sync, and that subject will be covered in the near future. Wait for it …

Next: Part 8: Bury the Old Leadership Calendar Legacy and Those Who Practice It

Assignment for Leaders: Commit to empowering others to get their information on the calendars. Don't do it yourself unless you absolutely have to. Consider who the best people to record the information on the calendars truly are - the ones actually planning and administering the event.

Assignment for Members: Check the events you have on your local calendar. Start asking the requisite people to put more details there so that you, and others, can participate.

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