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close this bookTrainer's Guide for Training of Elected Officials (HABITAT)
close this folderPart I - Planning for elected leadership training
View the documentElected officials training: a changing mandate
View the documentWhat these materials DON'T cover
View the documentAnother example of what these materials don't cover
View the documentIs this guide necessary?
View the documentOptions
View the documentClient - centred training
View the documentTraining needs assessment
View the documentProviding case - based learning
View the documentTen ways to fail when you use this material

Ten ways to fail when you use this material

Most guides of this kind tell you a specific number of ways to succeed as a trainer. We want to take a contrary view of this task and tell you ten ways you can fail when using these materials to train your elected officials. Success will come to those who turn these contrary ideas on their heads and do just the opposite of what has been suggested.

1. Don't bother to discuss the training with any elected officials before they come to the first workshop. After all, you're the training expert, and they are just your clients.

2. Plan to hold the training in places that are convenient for you and the other trainers. Don't worry about the trainees. They all have big travel budgets.

3. The same goes for when you hold the training. Your clients should be able to adjust their schedules if they are really interested in attending.

4. Don't waste your time checking out the training facilities before the workshop begins. Everyone knows it's the content of the training that counts.

5. The UNCHS (Habitat) materials are so complete it doesn't make any sense to review them prior to the workshop.

6. Stick to lectures as much as you can and don't bother to use small group exercises. They waste a lot of time and take up too much space.

7. If you feel you must use the exercises, start with the first one in the handbook and proceed with others in sequence until the time runs out, or you run out of exercises.

8. Don't make any changes in the exercises. The authors obviously knew what they were doing when they wrote them.

9. Always adhere to the amount of time the authors suggested for each exercise. Even if a learning event is going well, stop it when it's time to move to another topic or event.

10. Don't spend time on evaluations or follow up. The councillors will get in touch with you if they have any questions or want more training.

Your first reaction to these 10 avenues to failure may be that they are silly and have no place in a guide of this kind. Unfortunately, we have witnessed too many trainers who seem to worship this kind of negative advice. No doubt you have experienced these kinds of trainers also.

We suggest you take a moment or two and review these 10 ways to fail in relation to your own training institution's way of doing things. If any of the 10 reflect current practice or behaviour, maybe it's time to call a staff meeting to talk about them. In any event, we hope none of the actions listed above will seep into your efforts to train councillors.


There are other things we could say, generally, about how to use the materials in the 11 councillor-role-specific handbooks (handbooks 2-12), or how not to, but we suspect you have heard them before and are anxious to move on. In the next few pages we will discuss the workshop exercises as contained in the various handbooks and how you can use them more effectively in your efforts to train councillors.