Legislators Need Some Training

Larry Price
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Wednesday - May 05, 2010
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Something must have gone wrong during the training and development of our current group of legislators. They don’t seem to be able to agree on anything and contest every proposal from each other, no matter the content.

Why?

Every organization trains its employees in order to utilize the utmost potential of the individual. Training can be costly, but the overall investment provides not only a monetary value, but an emotional one. Maybe the next election should be followed by a training session. The objective would be to have them work together for the people instead of working against the people for their special interest groups.

If we started doing that, we would be putting taxpayer cash in an emotional bank with happy employees and equal profit for everyone. There would be lower turnover, lower absenteeism and a surge in self-motivation. Training all of the would-be elected officials and their staffs would allow them to acquire and develop new skills in addition to enhancing their current skills. It would give them a valued emotional disposition.


 

The millennium era has literally transformed training for all occupations, organizations and institutions. Traditionally, training consisted of a simple process that included “personal contact,” information and books.

Today, this kind of training seems to promote and arouse a competitive spirit that doesn’t produce the kind of leaders and followers the state needs. Training is more technical. The training process consists of utilizing technology with no “personal contact,” no remote area and time, and new technical jargon.

No matter which way you slice it, training new personnel, a very critical aspect in the strategic planning of any organization, is sometimes forgotten. What we see is the mere presence of someone from the “other” group arousing the competitive juices to the boiling point.

The “traditional training” we are all used to is a good technique with many advantages. The new millennium is dominated by distant/e-training. It’s obvious that there is nothing wrong with blended learning; however, the overall importance of employee training is critical in achieving the most simple objective.

The one type of training everyone is familiar with is classroom learning. You have an instructor, a student and a significant amount of interaction and feedback. It is the dominant form of training used by the leading firms in town. What’s very critical during traditional training sessions is who is delivering the message. It is how a company or organization projects a governed behavior.

In a political environment, a great deal of emphasis is given to the qualities the trainer brings to the classroom setting. Involving individuals within the organization projects self-worth and creates a personal and fulfilling atmosphere.

The problem here is evident. No matter how effective and respected the trainer is, each individual learns differently, and it is important to consider the diverse learning methods to enhance learning. Imagine what the result would be if they used case studies of past legislative efforts, guided learning or even the Internet. Case studies allow for team building. Individuals learn from each other. The Internet allows employees to utilize the overwhelming volume of current information.

The overall advantage of classroom learning is the “person-to-person” interaction. What has happened with the vast and growing world of technology is we are losing human interaction. Yes, traditional training can become monotonous. Students grow bored and lose motivation, and that is detrimental to an organization. Time constraints and busy lives do not allow for learning. However, e-learning can be described as a dramatic culture shift, especially if users are not familiar with computers. It’s significance is that it delivers “just-in-time training.” Courses via the Internet save money because they limit the time that people are away from their jobs. There is no question the training and learning is flexible. In point of fact, the only real disadvantage to e-learning is the lack of interaction.


There is strong and convincing evidence that our legislative leaders at all levels need a form of blended learning. The balance is achieved by capturing the best of both worlds and allowing employees to pick and choose how they want to learn. IBM did it and it works just fine.

The bottom line here is the employees who understand the business they are in will complain less, will be more satisfied and motivated to serve the public. Proper training improves the entire working atmosphere.

Let’s face it, the legislative effort at all levels of government, federal, state and county, did not work for the taxpaying public. All they did well was argue, complain, disagree and publicly attack each other. At times it was embarrassing to watch. It’s got to improve the next time around.

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