NOTE: The opinions expressed by our individual bloggers are their own, and not necessarily those of Young Democrats of Atlanta.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Vegas, baby!! Or not.
Today's bloggerWe Democrats are surely not short on passion. We are also not short on intelligence. Nor are we are short on work ethic. All of these are critical elements to a social movement.

However, in my (albeit short) experience in party politics, particularly in the Young Democrats, I have noticed that generally, we’re a bit short on basic management skills. In my latest installment on the blog about political strategy, I urge: get thee to a project management class!

There is no lack of logical explanations for why we Democrats might not have core organizational and managerial skills. And no real need to get into them. The fact remains – our ability to impact political outcomes is going to be limited by our ability to identify and communicate appropriate goals, disaggregate goals into discrete tasks, document tasks, assignments, and responsibilities in a project plan, delegate and oversee work, and so on. These types of skills may not sound glamorous, but they are critical to our success.

Think about the most important items on your to-do list right now - is there a practical skill you need in order to carry out the Democratic mission? Project management? Communication? Teambuilding? Delegation?

I have debated with people in my own chapter about whether training for officers and others in key committee positions is a responsible use of our funds. I have repeatedly stated my position that skills training is one of the best investments our organizations can make. Here’s why this is smart:

One: more know-how equals more done. Plain and simple. Businesses invest billions in training their workforce each year not because it’s fun, but because it pays off. There is a quantifiable return on investment that accrues to the bottom line. We, also, can expect a payoff in terms of better results in projects we undertake.

Two: investments in training will pay dividends beyond the individual who originally participates. Members who serve with officers who are well-equipped to provide competent leadership will learn by example.

Three: last (and maybe least but not unimportantly), training *will* benefit the individual and help her in her career and other future endeavors. But being an effective officer or key committee member in a political organization is hard work. It takes time and requires trade-offs and sacrifice. What’s so wrong with being able to provide our talented people with some return on their own investment? We want to attract talented people to serve in leadership positions. This is a great way to kill two birds with one stone.

If I have even piqued your interest, check out these open-enrollment offerings at Emory’s Center for Lifelong Learning:


I challenge the next YDG leadership, and all of us, to reconsider spending our scarce resources on sending a handful of 20-somethings to Las Vegas to flirt and drink. Wouldn’t our organization – wouldn’t our cause – benefit more by learning how to achieve our mission – task by task and plan by plan?
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posted by Emily at 3/20/2006 10:59:00 PM


Blogger Shelby said...

Emily, you're breaking dangerous ground, here. YDG had big plans for that Vegas trip. 'N' stuff.

3/21/2006 09:54:00 AM  
Anonymous danielf said...


while the money is budgeted for those trips, it is rarely used. the vast majority of those trips are independently funded.

i cannot argue with you that we should do more, spend more, whatever it takes(and more) in order to do better at training.

whether its chapter volunteers or officers or statewide managers, it would greatly do us some good. i've got a couple of ideas about that that i'd love to run by you. (i'm given funny looks mentioning it to most folks)

whether or not people flirt and drink...well i suppose thats up to us and who we vote for to go on those trips now isnt it? perhaps we could do better? :)

3/21/2006 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Shelby said...

If the money isn't being used on the trips, then where is it going? Do we get any kind of financial report from YDG? And for that matter, if we're not doing that for our chapter, shouldn't we start? Ballpark figures, anyway, not down to every single $3.75 stopgap when people screw up the tab at Manuel's....

3/21/2006 01:36:00 PM  
Anonymous danielf said...

feel free to attend the meetings publically announced, shelb.

there are open financial reports. open budget making and acceptance.

and no ydg money goes to pay bar stopgaps. :)

that money goes back into making better fundraising efforts than we originally budgeted for. or allows for the unexpected increase in size and participation of the campaign internship program. or allows for the creation of new programs not budgeted for the previous year, such as the issues campaign.

most folks are so hands off on the financial matters. if you are seriously interested, we'll be building the annual budget again in about two weeks, come join the fun! :)

3/21/2006 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Yes, Shelby, I can assure you that YDG money is carefully accounted for. You can attend executive committee meetings where transaction by transaction reports are given...or you can mosey over to the SOS website (starting now... the Board of Ethics website) for electronic YDG submissions that show not only who gives us money but where we spent it and why. All this for transactions that we aren't required by law to report.

As for Vegas, the site of the next YDA meeting. The weekend is June 9-11, and it promises to be a good time. As your National Committeeman, if you want to go or get details on the meeting, contact me at jacecil6@bellsouth.net.

4/06/2006 04:54:00 PM  

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