|Trainer's Guide for Training of Elected Officials (HABITAT)|
|Part I - Planning for elected leadership training|
The issues listed above are concerned more with logistics and process than substance. This reconnaissance phase of the elected leadership planning is also a time to collect ideas and incidents about specific problems the councils are experiencing. While case studies and critical incidents are included in most if not all of the handbooks, you should develop your own whenever possible based on local experience. Whenever you are meeting with elected officials, you can be gathering valuable data and ideas to incorporate into the training. For example, you might ask councillors if they have experienced any problems in getting policies adopted in their local authorities. This information might be incorporated into one of the exercises in the handbook on The Councillor as Policy-maker. Or you might probe for experiences councillors have had in working with the private sector and how they have mobilized this resource to achieve certain goals (i.e., the enabler role).
Each of the roles defined in the handbooks lends itself to the collection of rich anecdotes and case materials, based on real situations. For example, during the field test of these materials, the local paper carried a story about a conflict between two districts over the use of a bulldozer for road maintenance. This news article was used to develop a case study on conflict resolution for the workshop and adapted for inclusion in the handbook exercises.
Whenever possible, you and your training colleagues should substitute local cases, critical incidents, information, data, and experiences into the training exercises and presentations. Sometimes it is as easy as watching the local newspaper for stories about local governments and clipping these stories for later use.
There is a tendency to reject an example, case study, or other incident used in a training situation if it differs from our own experience. How often have you heard the expression, "That's interesting, but it isn't relevant." There is nothing that slows down the learning process faster than someone rejecting either the process or the content of the training you plan to use as irrelevant. Fortunately, this barrier can be avoided most of the time by collaborative forward planning with the people you hope to train.