Leadership Development

A national, nonpartisan group formed just five years ago has been busy organizing young policymakers at the state and national level to bring change in government.
In fall 2013, as opinion polls ranked partisanship as a top threat to democracy, as a government shutdown loomed and as the approval ratings of members of Congress and state governments dropped, a group known as the Millennial Action Project launched with a goal to look forward to the next generation of government leaders.
Steven Olikara, founder and president of the Millennial Action Project, said the group wanted to address how the millennial generation would do things differently. Would they transcend the partisan divide to build a better governing system?

Whether a first-time elected official or a veteran policymaker, all members of The Council of State Governments share in common a distinguishing characteristic. By their very nature, state elected and appointed officials have demonstrated leadership—in their professions, in their communities, in their aims to strengthen their states.

Many state leaders participate in international trips, education exchanges and foreign delegations in their states and districts. Understanding the proper protocol to guide interactions with foreign visitors is key to overcoming intercultural communications barriers and building relationships with overseas contacts. During this session, experts discussed the proper protocol for meeting with foreign delegations, including proper greeting and business card exchanges and how to conduct business meetings and other events.   

Diversity in leadership is vital to an effective and representative government that understands the needs of all its constituents. However, despite being the largest age demographic in the United States, millennials are few and far between in statehouses across the country. In many states, the average age of a legislator is significantly older than the average age of the state’s population. This discrepancy might cause misrepresentation of the population’s policy interests, resulting in unmet needs for millennials.

For Idaho Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, co-chair of the CSG International Committee, learning proper protocol when traveling abroad has been an exercise in trial and error.

“It has been the learning experience for me to do things wrong, so that I could learn to do them right,” he told participants in the Found in Translation: Global Protocol for Foreign Delegations session, sponsored by the CSG International Committee.

Many state leaders participate in international trips, education exchanges and foreign delegations in their states and districts. Understanding the proper protocol to guide interactions with foreign visitors is key to overcoming intercultural communications barriers and building relationships with overseas contacts. During this session, experts discussed the proper protocol for meeting with foreign delegations, including proper greeting and business card exchanges and how to conduct business meetings and other events.   

Many state leaders participate in international trips, education exchanges and foreign delegations in their states and districts. Understanding the proper protocol to guide interactions with foreign visitors is key to overcoming intercultural communications barriers and building relationships with overseas contacts. During this session, experts discussed the proper protocol for meeting with foreign delegations, including proper greeting and business card exchanges and how to conduct business meetings and other events.   

Many state leaders participate in international trips, education exchanges and foreign delegations in their states and districts. Understanding the proper protocol to guide interactions with foreign visitors is key to overcoming intercultural communications barriers and building relationships with overseas contacts. During this session, experts discussed the proper protocol for meeting with foreign delegations, including proper greeting and business card exchanges and how to conduct business meetings and other events.

The half-day introductory workshop established by The National Institute for Civil Discourse entitled, “Building Trust through Civil Discourse,” was an outgrowth of an effort by The Council of State Governments Midwest, which brought together two legislators from different political backgrounds and different states for a workshop at its annual regional conference in Cleveland, Ohio, in July 2012. Rep. Ted Celeste, a Democrat from Columbus, Ohio, and Rep. Scott Raecker, a Republican from Urbandale, Iowa, teamed up to facilitate this first session for legislators from the Midwest region. CSG promoted the session in its materials about the annual conference, but did not have any idea how much interest there might be in the program.

By Frank Shafroth, Director of the Center for State and Local Government Leadership

Key state leadership is about focus—taking away partisanship and getting to the heart of the problem. Former U.S. Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio, who also served as a state legislator, mayor and governor, once told me he had struggled hard to try and determine how one could distinguish between a Republican versus a Democratic pothole. His view was always to try and understand the problem, what it would take to fix it, and who could help him fix it.

Pages