Training, Enthusiam & What Next
Michael F. Bowman (mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG)
Wed, 17 May 1995 23:42:32 -0400
You raised a great but tough question regarding how to handle the
enthusiasm a Scouter brings back to a group/unit after training.
Almost every training I've been to (Scouting and career) has breed some
degree of enthusiasm to go back and make things better. In Scouting this
is particularly true and I've seen many people really get excited at
training only to get frustrated when old bad habits die hard.
In a perfect world, everyone would be excited to know what the newly
trained person learned to take advantage of great new ideas. Not so in
most places unfortunately. There's always a lot of resistance to change
from the outside. People normally want to feel things out a bit before
making a change and to have a voice in the change, especially when they
can't understand (weren't at training and wouldn't go anyway) why dynamic
Dan is running around with his hair on fire - after all things have worked
fine the way they were. And much of their program probably was just fine
at one time or another, but could always be improved.
Probably the greatest weakness in our training is that we can get so
excited that they can't wait to try out the newly learned ideas without
helping them develop a strategy to sell the ideas.
Maybe the kindest thing would be for an old hand to temper the newly
enthused Scouter with some words of wisdom about nudging change instead of
charging into what could be a wall. Some of the things I've shared with
those coming back from Wood Badge and other training course follow:
* Remember that the people you are serving haven't had the same great
experience that you just had and won't know what to make of your
sudden change of outlook.
* You've got to work a little smarter now and exercise one of the harder
parts of leadership - selling ideas by effective communication - to
get the group ready to follow suggested changes.
* What really turned you on at training? Would the same sort of thing
work in the unit or help change how people see things?
* What kinds of communication were used effectively? Can you use these
techniques to sell the ideas at home?
* Pick and choose what you think is the most important thing to work on
and focus your efforts on one or a few ideas at a time - don't shotgun
a hundred ideas.
* Take time to build a consenus for change, if it is for the better.
* Before you start to change something, be sure its needed. Sometimes
we need to temper a desire for "perfection" with the need to have a
program that delivers.
* Involve others in your ideas - start with one or two and build.
* Realize that others have pride in how they have been doing things and
are probably hesitant to do anything that lessens that pride.
* Ask how you can help others to discover ideas that they will then use
* Remember to be patient.
* Remember that nobody likes a know-it-all one-man/woman show.
* Take time to observe and develop raport.
* Take time to compliment and recognize those who are trying!
There probably are no really right answers, because so much depends on the
people and their circumstances. There are a lot of good experienced
Scouters on this list who have handled the challenge of an enthused,
freshly trained Scouter. I hope they will share their experiences and
Speaking only for myself in the Scouting Spirit, Michael F. Bowman
Prof. Beaver, Nat. Capital Area Council, BSA mfbowman@CAPACCESS.ORG
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City