In his book, Creativity, Inc., Pixar Animation Studios president Ed Catmull shares a challenge of epic proportion – someone accidentally deleted every work-in-process file that comprised Toy Story 2. In an instant, 90% of the film was gone! Two years of his team’s work was lost. To make matters worse, the company’s backup system – their virtual safety net – also failed.
The Pixar team rose to the challenge and overcame this random, tragic event. They released Toy Story 2 on time, and it instantly became a major box office success. You’ll never imagine how they restored the lost data, but here’s a hint – you’ll find the answer in chapter eight.
Catmull and his leadership team learned several valuable lessons through this crisis, many of which extend beyond the scope of data storage and backup. But this example poses questions for every booster leader – Where do you store your data? Is it secure? Do you have a reliable system in place to protect it from loss?
Within the last five years, advancements in technology have given booster leaders an innovative solution for file storage and collaboration – the cloud. Services like Dropbox allow you to store data on their remote servers (the “cloud”), enabling your team to collaborate and share files. Dropbox’s basic level of service is free, and is sufficient to serve most booster clubs’ needs. To learn more about Dropbox, click here for an introductory video.
The cloud provides several benefits for every booster club. Here are seven:
- Backup protection. When you use a cloud-based storage service, your files are securely stored on the provider’s servers. They back up and maintain the files, virtually eliminating your risk of data loss. You no longer have to worry about your organization’s files being lost or corrupted when saved to a parent’s home computer.
- Transparency of financial data. Minimize your exposure to embezzlement, theft, and fraud by saving financial files to the cloud. You’ll give your booster officers visibility to monthly financial reports, electronic bank statements, checking account registers, QuickBooks backups, and other financial files.
- Collaboration. Cloud-based storage encourages collaboration within your team. Team members may access and update files without having to email them back and forth.
- Version control. When emailing files for collaboration by the team, it is sometimes hard to know which version of a file has been most recently revised. Cloud-based storage resolves this issue. Rather than having each team member revise the file that he or she received with an email, team members access one common file in the cloud.
- Sustainability. As booster officers and leaders rotate into and out of the organization, they’ll be able to sustain the momentum by accessing prior years’ files in the cloud. You don’t have to worry about files being transferred to new volunteers because they’re readily available in the cloud.
- Accessibility. Most cloud-based storage services provide mobile apps so data may be accessed on smart phones and tablets. This is especially helpful for busy parents on the go. Mobile apps allow them to review files wherever they are at any time of day.
- Organization. Having files haphazardly stored by various parent volunteers on their home computers is unprofessional and difficult to maintain. Within your cloud application, set up a logical set of folders categorized by officer’s role, committee chair, etc. If you booster club is audited, your cloud-based file structure will reflect proper organization and good faith.
Cloud-based storage provides booster leaders a professional method for organizing and maintaining files like never before. If you want learn how to organize and lead your club with confidence, check out my book, The Booster Leader: 35 Leadership Essentials for a Thriving Booster Organization. The Booster Leader is available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats.
Question: How can you use the cloud to better lead your organization? You can leave a comment by clicking here.