YDATL Blog 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.
We 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?