The Layover Test
Ben Woodward
May 14, 2018
The Layover Test
In a recent conversation with a friend who works in consultancy, they described some of the modern methods of selecting candidates adopted by firms.Among these was the layover test. At first, I didn't know what this meant. As it was described to me, I realized we have a similar phrase in the UK, but we call it the pub test. The premise is simple. Would you be comfortable stranded with this person at an airport during a layover? In the British sense, it means could I have a beer with this person.When I worked in the UK Parliament, and the office was a team of 3, each person needed to pass the test. When you're spending large amounts of time with people and depend on them for team projects, the layover test is essential. It also reflects their ability to talk with external stakeholders, customers, and be a public face for their organization.via GIPHYHere are some tips to pass the layover test in your interview:1. Treat everyone during the process as if they're your interviewerEveryone's impression of you during the interview process matters. Have a conversation with the receptionist in the lobby and ask about their day. If you meet other members of staff, introduce yourself and greet them as you would a new colleague. If you take a break during the process or have lunch, use the opportunity to the other candidates.2. Hold conversations about more than politics or workThose of us who work in the conservative movement live and breathe it every day. We're passionate about our success but we have lives outside of it. No one wants to work with an obsessive politico who doesn't have a life outside of politics. Talk about sports, your weekend plans, books you like, movies, etc. Someone who can engage in interesting topics beyond work are like a breath of fresh air.3. Smile and engage in humorInterviews are serious, but that doesn't mean there's no room for light humor. Let the interviewer take the lead on this and don't be afraid to meet humor with humor if prompted. Smiling is infectious and makes you pleasant to be around. Nobody wants to go to work every day with someone who drains the fun out of the office.via GIPHY4. Show interest in your interviewer and thank themGoing into any interview with questions is an absolute must! It serves two purposes; firstly, it shows a genuine interest in the company you want to work for. Secondly, you give the interviewer a chance to share their experiences too. Ask them what their favorite thing about working there is, what skills they've learned from the job, what challenges they've faced, etc. Also, send a thank you note to your interviewer promptly after the meeting to show a genuine appreciation for their time.5. Be conscious of your body language and general personaThis is a polite way of saying don't be weird! What that means is shower and brush your teeth the morning of your interview, don't ask weird questions about their personal life, and respect people's personal space. You should be confident in your demeanor, stand up straight, look them in the eye, and smile. If you're worried about the ways you alienate people, ask a good friend to tell it to you straight.Passing the layover test shouldn't stress you out. All you need to do is be friendly, courteous, and the person interviewers could see themselves going to the pub with.via GIPHY
Nick Freitas: the true nature of conservative philosophy
Abbey Lee
May 9, 2018
Nick Freitas: the true nature of conservative philosophy
The Leadership Institute's monthly Wednesday Wake-up Club Breakfast came again on May 2, this time featuring a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, Nick Freitas.An up and coming Republican and popular advocate of the liberty movement, Nick spoke about the foundational values and motivations we hold dear as conservatives and libertarians. Sadly, we often forget to explain these core principles in our war with the left. And then the left grossly misrepresents the right.Nick illustrated three core principles that demonstrate the true nature of conservative philosophy when contrasted with the philosophy of the left. The left's philosophy of government control over each individual stands in stark contrast to the freedoms conservatives fight for -- individual liberty, free markets, and equal justice before the law.“People are not just a cog in a government machine,” said Nick. “They're not playthings for politicians or some sort of ruling political elite to move around their cosmic chess board in order to reorient society in the way they think it should be run.”Individual liberty, free markets, and equal justice before the law allow the individual not only freedom from the government machine, but also freedom to offer creative and individual solutions to problems.“Government is often the most violent, least creative way to solve a problem,” said Nick.Nick's words reminded me why we continue to promote conservative and libertarian principles. Our instinct as conservatives is to believe in the great potential of each person, trusting that they can choose for themselves, instead of looking to the government each time a problem arises.Nick Freitas is one of many notable members of the movement to speak at the monthly Wednesday Wake-up Club Breakfast, including Star Parker, Grover Norquist, Ryan Anderson, Kellyanne Conway, and many more. Watch these and other past breakfast speakers here. And if you're in the Washington, D.C. area, join me and other conservatives on the first Wednesday of every month for another incredible talk on contemporary conservative politics! You can register for the next breakfast here.
Hannah-Catherine -- from TV News Reporter to Media Trainer
Patricia Simpson Rausch
May 4, 2018
Hannah-Catherine -- from TV News Reporter to Media Trainer
Enjoy getting to know Hannah-Catherine Smith, LI's new Communications Training and Studios Coordinator. This is an informal interview series with employees of the Leadership Institute to let you get to know us beyond our trainings. The questions ask them to describe what makes them tick and their experience with LI at various levels.What made you want to work at the Leadership Institute? I wanted to work at the Leadership Institute because I truly believe in the value of education and equipping students with the necessary tools to be successful.During my internship at The Heritage Foundation, I learned a tremendous amount about public policy and how conservative policy can positively impact our local, national, and global community. With my communications background, I realized the importance of effectively disseminating these messages, particularly through media.LI seemed like the perfect marriage of education and conservative values. I am so excited to be in the field I love for a cause I believe in.What unique skills and background do you bring to your new position and how do you hope to use them? I was a television news reporter here in Northern Virginia for about a year after college. I covered Fairfax, Prince William, Arlington, Loudon, and Fauquier Counties so I know the area very well and am excited to be in the NOVA community!I was a multi-media journalist which basically means I did absolutely everything by myself. That meant pitching stories, shooting and editing all of my video, reporting, writing, and even going live on-camera alone. I also worked the nightside shift, so that came with its own challenges. My first job stretched me in a variety of ways because I had to learn so much, so quickly. Although it was hard work, I'm so thankful for the spectrum of skills I gained from that experience and can't wait to apply them at LI.Because I was a member of the media, I understand how reporters think, and most importantly, how media bias happens. I think it's so important to train conservative leaders for success in communications. If you moved here from another area, how does the DC area differ from your hometown? I'm from the D.C. area! I grew up in Huntingtown, MD (right on the Chesapeake Bay) and am so happy to be here to stay!Who has had the most impact on your political philosophy? I look up to my dad for my political philosophy the most. He's a colonel in the United States Air Force, so I grew up with an understanding of service to one's country.For my father, his service stems from a posture of gratitude to those who came before him, something I believe to be a key piece of conservatism. I admire him for being part of something greater than himself, putting mission first and people always.What are your thoughts about pineapple on pizza? As a conservative, I respect each individual's liberty to live how they choose, but for me, pineapple on pizza is a hard pass.
Negotiate the Salary You Deserve
Ben Woodward
April 30, 2018
Negotiate the Salary You Deserve
Salary negotiation is among the most awkward topics of conversation to have with your boss or potential employer. Salary is a taboo subject, something to be kept private. The only problem is, when we are so used to avoiding it, we get out of practice when the topic emerges. Most would rather accept the first offer for fear of seeing a job offer or promotion withdrawn. However, negotiating your salary is important, not only to ensure you get the best compensation for your skills but also to set the trajectory for future raises. Remember, each increase in your salary is based on the previous number, meaning any raise you negotiate will benefit your career forever. via GIPHYHere are eight tips for a successful salary negotiation.1. Salary negotiation typically happens during a job offer or review.Your potential boss should begin the negotiation process when they offer you the job. At that point, they will offer you a number, and you will make a counter offer. Remember, you can also ask for a raise during a six month or annual review. If your boss doesn't automatically offer a review after an agreed amount of time, don't be afraid to request one. 2. There's more to consider about a job offer than money.When finding a new job, remember money is not the only factor to deliberate. You should consider whom you‘d be working for, your career trajectory, and how challenged you'll feel in the job. There is no sense in taking a well-paying job if your career stagnates after a couple of years because there is no room for growth. 3. You can negotiate outside of your salary.Even if your boss cannot budge on pay, you can negotiate elsewhere. For example, perhaps there is an option for a signing bonus, more vacation time, increased retirement contributions, or they can pay for skills training. 4. Do your research before going into the negotiation.Before going into negotiation, you should equip yourself with adequate knowledge so you can make reasonable requests. Look carefully at the sector you'll be working in; non-profits pay less than the private sector and campaigns pay less than non-profits. Also, carefully consider where you'll be living and the costs associated, as well as the size of the organization and the market value of your skills. via GIPHY5. Know where to look.To understand the salary you should be negotiating, there are many resources available to you. For jobs in the government or on Capitol Hill, sites like the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other public records can be helpful. Other sites like Glassdoor and Payscale.com are great for the private sector and non-profit jobs, and 990's are useful for non-profits too. Also, if you feel comfortable, have a conversation with your network. 6. Don't say a specific number, give a range.When you are asked about your salary requirements, give a range rather than a specific number. Remember, it's a negotiation, not a demand. If you're hoping for $50k per year, I recommend you say you would like to make $48k - $55k. If they can't meet your minimum, don't forget, you can negotiate other benefits. 7. Don't accept the first offer they give you; ask for time to consider.If you're nervous about the negotiation process, thank them for the offer and ask for a day/the weekend to think about it. When you speak with them the next day, be ready with your counter offer. Remember, when you're making your counter offer to emphasize your value, not why you need more money. 8. Stay positive and respectful.Remember to keep the negotiation civil. Consistently highlight your interest in the position and your excitement at the prospect of working there. Remember, you are going to have to work for this person after the negotiation is over. Finally, salary negotiations are awkward, but if you handle them correctly, you will come away with a better employment deal, which will continue to benefit your career for years to come.via GIPHY
Supervising an Intern:  No Ordinary Management Role
Ben Woodward
April 13, 2018
Supervising an Intern: No Ordinary Management Role
My team has constant conversations about how we can make the intern program as appealing as possible for young conservatives looking for their first start in the movement. If you've supervised an intern, you'll understand there's a lot more required of you than project delegation. The responsibility is on you to be their boss, but also their mentor, guiding them through the process and giving them the tools necessary to create their path.As an LI intern just three years ago this summer, I was fortunate to have a supervisor who gave me projects of high responsibility, was quick to point out good work, and as quick to tell me where I could improve. Most importantly, my supervisor invested heavily in my professional development.There are three pillars of being an effective intern supervisor.via GIPHY1. Delegate projects of high responsibility and push your intern out of their comfort zone I often hear it said that it would be quicker to do work yourself than give it to an intern whose work you will only have to edit. Of course it would, but your intern is not there to do your job for you, they're there to learn. When your intern first starts, you should hold an introductory meeting to establish your expectations and figure out what your intern is hoping to get out of the experience. This will help you understand the skills you can teach them and delegate challenging projects accordingly. Hold a weekly meeting to ensure your interns are meeting their goals.By giving your interns projects of high responsibility with clear expectations and deadlines, they will quickly become a useful contributor if they are up to the task.2. Be their boss, not their friendDon't get me wrong; I like the interns who come through LI and enjoy getting to know them and supporting their careers. But your intern needs you to be their boss and their mentor. Too many supervisors fail to establish the relationship early on, they complain about their interns without expressing concerns directly and wonder why their interns keep screwing up.Hold your interns to a high standard and make your expectations clear. When your intern exceeds your expectations, be quick to express your gratitude. For example, if an intern outside the division I work in helps me without being prompted, I like to email their supervisor, so they get credit.When an intern doesn't meet your expectations, your role as their supervisor is to make them aware. If you edit their work, explain why. Or if they come in late, call them out on it before it becomes a habit. via GIPHY3. Alert them to networking and professional development opportunitiesMost people new to the DC area or wherever their internship is taking place will be unfamiliar with the opportunities they have to attend networking events, explore the city, and invest in their skills through training and policy discussions.Your responsibility as a supervisor is to help your intern hit the ground running. Wherever possible, forward them recommendations of training and events they should attend and take them with you so you can introduce them to important contacts.Work experience is only half the purpose here; the goal should be to give your intern a comprehensive experience, so they gain the skills, the knowledge, and the contacts to secure a full-time job. via GIPHY
Who is LI?  Meet Jared.
Patricia Simpson
April 10, 2018
Who is LI? Meet Jared.
Jared ReniHometown: Provo, UTTitle: Director of Communications Training and Studios, Leadership InstituteYears at LI: 3Q. What is your position at the Leadership Institute and what is the easiest way to describe what you do to those who might not be familiar with LI?A. I am the Director of Communications Training and Studios. In my role, I help conservative activists gain skills in communications through our training programs. I also partner with Leadership Institute staff and other organizations to provide studio space and support for their video projects.Q. Did you have a different position when you first started at LI? How did you harness what you learned in that position to succeed in your current position?A. I've been fortunate to see my role at the Leadership Institute expand since being here. I started off as a temp, then became the Communications Training Manager, then became the Director, and most recently, added the studios to my area of responsibility.I learned fairly quickly that working hard, thinking outside the box, and leading with sound vision and ideas does not go unnoticed at the Leadership Institute. I was given a lot of trust and freedom in my role early on, which allowed me to really hit the ground running and accomplish a lot more than I would have if I were put inside a box. I've used that freedom to be very flexible in the way that I go about accomplishing my goals, and it's helped me improve each year.Q. What is your favorite part about your job?A. There are so many aspects to my job that I love. Aside from the freedom I already mentioned, I get a lot of satisfaction out of working together with partner organizations to provide training to their staff or at conferences. I can usually spot the moment when they realize that what they're learning is gold, and that's always a good feeling for me. This obviously wouldn't be possible without the support of our donors and our volunteer faculty.Q. Is there something you've been able to do while working here that you never, in a million years, would think you would be able to do? What was it?A. This one's easy. I never in a million years thought that I would be a studio director! Our donors have really set us up with an amazing resource at LI, and I consider myself blessed to be able to put it to use each day.Q. What makes LI different from other places to work?A. LI possesses a really unique space within the conservative movement, in that we are able to work on behalf of the entire movement. We don't really touch political issues from any angle, and that helps me to feel like I'm never compromising my own beliefs for the sake of politics or otherwise. I'll just add that the culture at the Leadership Institute is awesome!
Returning After a Long Break From Work
Ben Woodward
April 2, 2018
Returning After a Long Break From Work
Returning to work after a long vacation is like going to the dentist. It was once in the distant future, something in the back of your mind, but now the moment has arrived. Ok, maybe I am a little dramatic… but getting into work mode after a vacation whether it's a long weekend or a full-fledged trip to the Bahamas is difficult. First, you have to transition from relaxed mode to work mode. Second, the work probably didn't stop flooding in just because you were on vacation and now you have a backlog to deal with.So what's the best way to manage your first week back?via GIPHY Do something to boost your moodJust because you have to work does not mean you cannot treat yourself. Start your day with a lavish breakfast (if you're me, that means chocolate chip pancakes and bacon); plan lunch with a friend or something to look forward to in the evening.Allowing yourself small treats on your first day or week back will improve your mood and get you through the initial transition from vacation to work mode.Create a to-do list and update your calendarI like to do this the night before I return to work, so I am ready to hit the ground running. Sit down and create a list of your priorities for the coming days. What will you have to organize? Who do you need to meet with? It's essential you're clear about your priorities while familiarizing yourself with all aspects of your upcoming week.Putting everything into a shared calendar is a great way for your boss and colleagues to see your agenda and understand what you're doing to catch up.via GIPHYRead your emailsGo through your emails and determine which ones are a priority. It's a good idea to deal with the simple ones the night before, so they don't weigh on your mind later. I like to respond to every email even if I cannot do it right away. Acknowledging the email will prevent people chasing you later on, which wastes time and puts you under unnecessary pressure.Give yourself a window during your first day back where your only job is to manage priority emails.Talk to your bossAsk your boss for a meeting on your first day back. This is useful for two reasons; first, they have probably been picking up the slack while you were away and so it's crucial they update you on everything you've missed and any other developments which may affect you.Second, it's your chance to update your boss on how you plan to catch up and what is on your agenda that week. It will reassure your boss and ensure they're aware of your increased workload over the coming days.via GIPHYFinally, take some time to catch up with your colleaguesYou haven't seen your colleagues for a while, and they're likely to wonder how your vacation went.Did you try their recommendations, take pictures, miss anything big at the office? Consistent interruptions by colleagues coming to your desk makes it challenging to be productive. I recommend inviting your colleagues out to lunch that day so you can catch up.Returning to work after a vacation sucks. There's no way around it. But if you follow these steps, you can stay organized and ease the transition.
The Five Stages of Grief Following a Job Rejection
Ben Woodward
March 19, 2018
The Five Stages of Grief Following a Job Rejection
Nobody likes rejection whatever form it takes, asking for a favor, a date, a job. Most of us spend our lives trying to avoid rejection.But when it comes to job hunting, you have no choice but to put yourself out there.When I graduated university, I had done a couple of internships and worked on campaigns. Confident I would find a job in the UK Parliament, I began submitting applications for every vacancy with a conservative member. Getting interviews was not too difficult; the hard part was turning those interviews into job offers.After a couple of rejections I started to feel worn down, but to coin a cheesy line, “what doesn't kill you can only make you stronger.”I learned from each rejection and eventually got a great job. Here is how you should handle the five stages of grief following rejection.via GIPHY1. ResponseMost interviewers send you a rejection by email unless you have gone through a lengthy process in which they may have the courtesy to call you. First things first, thank them for their time, tell them how much you enjoyed meeting them, and politely ask for feedback.This is important. It will form the base of future preparations so you don't go into your next interview blind. Thanking the interviewer is important. You never know when you will meet them again.2. DenialIt's ok to be upset or frustrated by the process so long as you don't express it to the recruiter. Hopefully, you're applying for jobs you are excited about, and therefore it's tough to receive bad news.Treat yourself to a nice meal, a night out with your friends, or binge-watch The Office for a few hours. After that, get over it!via GIPHY3. ReflectionThis is the point where you start to ask yourself what went wrong. There are multiple reasons you may not receive a job offer: sometimes the competition is fierce; perhaps you applied for a job you weren't ready for; or maybe you didn't prepare and show the best of yourself during the interview.To inform how you approach interviews in future, look carefully over your feedback. I was once told I was “overqualified.” Ironically, I was not getting the more senior jobs either! But I let the feedback motivate me -- after all, it was something of a compliment and convinced me I could be successful with another office. If it has something to do with your interview technique, take a moment to read the jobseeker guide or reach out to LI's Careers Division for support.4. AcceptanceAccept you did not get the job and start applying again right away. The key with any application is quality over quantity, which means your resume is tailored to the position you are applying for and your cover letter is written from a blank sheet of paper (no templates).5. Successvia GIPHYYou've gotten over your recent rejection; you've submitted several outstanding job applications; and now you're being called to your next interview. Think carefully about your feedback. How can you reassure the next recruiter they should hire you over all the other candidates?Perhaps you need to do more research, have stronger answers to standard questions, or be more confident in your body language. Don't forget; you can ask LI's Careers Division for a practice interview and receive frank, constructive feedback.You will find a job; the key is to be proactive and learn from the experience. Good luck!The Leadership Institute's ConservativeJobs.com is the one-stop shop for conservative job seekers and employers. Whether you are a polished executive or a young up-and-comer, ConservativeJobs.com works to help you find the right job in public policy, government, the news media, business, or on Capitol Hill.Contact the Leadership Institute directly or log on to ConservativeJobs.com to get started right now.
The Next Generation: Episode 2018
Andrew Walter
March 14, 2018
The Next Generation: Episode 2018
Victory in politics is the direct result of the number and effectiveness of the activists behind it.This is one of the valuable lessons I took away from the Leadership Institute's flagship training, the Youth Leadership School, last November. It became clear to me that this is true, and the Leadership Institute is the best source to better understand political technology. This drove me to pursue an internship at the Leadership Institute.Like other interns at the Leadership Institute, I had read political books, assisted campaigns, and led a campus organization. But I knew the invaluable experience gained from the Leadership Institute would take my passion for advancing liberty to the next step and make me an effective leader in the movement.The professional skills, networking, and daily understanding of the most effective political technology means wherever my career takes me, LI has set me up with the confidence, skills, and knowledge to make liberty win.This semester's class is even bringing the expertise of LI to places across the globe. “I look forward to using my training in LI to help liberty flourish in my home country, Peru,” said development intern Javier Alban.The message of freedom is strong, and with the right training, conservatives can effectively make it a reality everywhere. If you would like to be part of the next generation of effective activists as a Leadership Institute intern, find out more about the program here.
Four Questions to Ask Yourself Before Working Remotely
Ben Woodward
March 5, 2018
Four Questions to Ask Yourself Before Working Remotely
Some career paths are almost entirely exclusive to one location. Banking has Manhattan, the film industry has Hollywood, and national politics has Washington, D.C. Even if you find opportunities to pursue your ambitions outside the central hub, often you will struggle to earn as much money, gain promotion, or enjoy the same relationship with your bosses when you work remotely. However, working remotely has many benefits. If you hope to start a family or other circumstances require you to move, working miles from your office allows you to work in the industry you love in the place you need to live. More and more, conservative job-seekers ask me for advice about working remotely. At the Leadership Institute, some staff work away from the Arlington office, and they do a tremendous job. via GIPHYSo here are four questions to ask yourself before working remotely.1. How do you motivate yourself?Some people are simply more productive if they have the regular encouragement of their colleagues and bosses. Personally, I'm a relatively independent worker, but even I enjoy daily interaction with colleagues to bounce ideas around. Other workers are quite happy to bury their heads in a project and not emerge until they have a finished product.Other staff have the personal self-discipline to set hours and goals for themselves, which they can meet without the office environment to encourage them. Ask yourself honestly; what kind of worker are you? Someone who works remotely must be able to exercise self-discipline and work in solitude.via GIPHY2. Have you earned it?Let's face it; you're asking a lot. You're asking your bosses to trust you to be productive when you're out of sight; you're asking to be a little less effective because you won't be present for meetings or for colleagues to bounce ideas off of. Perhaps your organization even has to pay for you to return once a month and for significant events. It's also inconvenient for your bosses who won't be able to access you as easily.So why would they say yes? Usually, because you've worked for an organization for a while, you've proved your value, and the inconvenience is worth keeping you around. Before you ask to work remotely, try to assess whether you've earned it. 3. Is your home environment conducive to productivity?To be successful working remotely, you'll need to create a semi-office environment for yourself where you can be as productive as you would have been on site. It's no good trying to work with distractions from children, pets, or the hustle and bustle of your home life. If your home life is not conducive to work, you may need to consider finding somewhere else you can work -- either a coffee shop, a library, or something similar. Surrounding yourself with people who will support you and motivate you to succeed is very important. Make sure you communicate with those around you about what you need from them to ensure you get work done.via GIPHY4. Can you weather the impact on your career?The reality of a successful career is it doesn't end at 5:30 pm or whenever you clock out at the end of the day. A successful career is more than the tangible work you produce day by day. It's the connections you make, the speeches you give, the meetings you attend, the day-to-day conversations with your bosses, colleagues, and other professionals outside of your organization. Working remotely means you won't be physically present at the table, or at any other table unless you specifically travel. Like it or not, that will make it difficult for you to compete with your colleagues for promotion. I tell you these things, not to discourage you from working remotely, but to make sure you take the decision seriously and ensure you're ready to go above and beyond to continue to prove your worth.Many people have very successful remote careers. Make sure you do too!via GIPHY
Conservatives on the rise: Canada's Harper takes helm of International Democrat Union
Ron Nehring
March 2, 2018
Conservatives on the rise: Canada's Harper takes helm of International Democrat Union
One of the most important tools for conservatives working together to advance sound principles worldwide is the International Democrat Union, or IDU. Founded in 1983 by America's Ronald Reagan, Britain's Margaret Thatcher and Germany's Helmut Kohl, the IDU is a global alliance of center-right political parties sharing a common commitment to the principles spelled out in the group's founding document, the London Declaration.While some may have felt the group's mission was accomplished with the West's victory in the Cold War and subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union, on closer examination it is clear that the need for conservatives to work together worldwide is as great as ever. While we have seen the spread of democracy in the 20th century, we have not automatically seen the uniform advancement of the center-right principles of free markets, individual liberty, and personal responsibility. Venezuela has worked to export "21st century socialism" throughout Latin America, for example, while Russia uses information warfare to cause problems within NATO nations, the EU, and the United States. Many more examples abound.Last week at the IDU's Party Leaders Meeting in Spain, the IDU took another step forward toward fulfilling its post-Cold War potential with the election of former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper as President. Harper, a skilled and principled leader who understands how political parties work, is the latest addition to the IDU's new leadership team. Christian Kattner, the skilled political operative from Bavaria's CSU party (the more conservative sister party to Angela Merkel's CDU), came on board as Secretary General in 2014, setting the stage for the group's future growth.The IDU's greatest potential lies in serving as a dynamic forum for the exchange of ideas and best practices among center-right political parties, both in terms of policies as well as political campaign strategies and tactics. Last year at the IDU Campaign Managers Meeting in Berlin, I was introduced to numerous campaign leaders from a variety of countries including the UK, Norway, New Zealand, and a host of others. Each presentation provided insight into techniques, messages and methods used by the campaign teams of each of these parties to advance. It is a critically important function.With the continued strengthening of the IDU leadership team, I have great confidence we will see a further sharpening of the center-right parties that fully participate in this critically important organization.This article was originally posted on www.ronnehring.org/blog.
Five mistakes to avoid as an intern
Ben Woodward
February 5, 2018
Five mistakes to avoid as an intern
My internship went by too fast. I learned valuable lessons, made friends for life, and secured a full-time job. Overall, not bad! As well as learning what to do, I learned something equally important -- what not to do.Since then, I've seen many interns go through the Leadership Institute and met a lot more from across Washington, D.C. I've found myself in the amusing position of advising interns against some of the very things my fellow interns and I did.All interns make mistakes. Most are very forgivable, others make interns very difficult to like. All of these mistakes are avoidable.Here are five common mistakes interns make in no particular order.Over-familiarity with staffAs you build trust with your supervisors and other staff, you should feel comfortable getting to know them, asking for advice, and more responsibility. In fact, you should aim to build your network within the office as early as you can.However, too often interns get very comfortable around staff. I've seen interns drunk at bars, complain openly about supervisors, and share private details about their lives. An intern once asked their coordinator's boss to a house birthday party. Practice caution and stay in work mode when you're around staff.via GIPHYAtention to detailI can sympathize on this one; I'm guilty of it too. I hope you caught my mistake by the way. An essential part of my job is communications; I spend a lot of time writing emails, blogs, marketing material, and more. As a result, my interns do the same. Simply proofreading your work can be a game changer. Diligence and pride in your output is something every employer looks for, and as an intern, you should aim to build a reputation for this early on. If your work requires minimum editing, you'll become an asset quickly.AttitudeYou can ask any supervisor and they'll tell you their pet peeve is a bad attitude. Interns who complain about tasks and are unwilling to do anything beyond the scope of their day-to-day work drive bosses crazy. On one occasion, while holding a networking event, an intern was asked to help with registration, to which they responded: “I thought I was here to drink not work.” True story!Organizations invest time and energy into your success as an intern. If you don't appreciate an opportunity, you'll be overlooked next time.If you are genuinely concerned with an aspect of your work, talk to your boss and explain the types of tasks you'd like to be working on. Remember, more responsibility comes over time as a reward for gaining your supervisor's trust.via GIPHYLimiting yourselfDon't limit yourself to the day-to-day tasks assigned by your supervisor. Try to anticipate the work before it's assigned and show initiative by identifying a need in your office.While your departmental responsibilities come first, look for ways you can help others on staff. Maybe there's a meeting today and the room needs to be prepared, an event you can help plan, or you just walk past someone on staff who needs a spare pair of hands.I was once cleaning up after a training when two interns who had an engagement that evening stopped by LI to see if I needed help. I appreciated it so much; the next morning I emailed their supervisors, the intern coordinator, and the department head to make sure they were aware.via GIPHYFailure to branch outI made my closest friends on the internship because we had something in common. We wanted to go to every event, meet new people, and make the most of the short time we had in Washington, D.C. These people are now highly successful professionals in the conservative movement. On the other hand, some interns fail to use the opportunity and prefer to network with their peers.This represents a tremendous waste of potential. Working in Washington, D.C. is more than just going to the office 9 to 5; it's working in one of the most influential, fun, and exciting places in the world. If you're here, be here!By avoiding these common mistakes, you'll make a positive impression and you'll have a great internship!via GIPHY
Team Projects – How to Get the Best Results Working Together
Ben Woodward
January 22, 2018
Team Projects – How to Get the Best Results Working Together
We all have our way of working. Some work better with constant interaction and enjoy sharing responsibility. If you're anything like me, however, you prefer to be in control of a project. You'd rather work alone than share responsibility. I have my own way of doing things; there is a method to the madness, I like to say. And whenever I am required to work with others, I prefer to be in charge of the project so I can make sure it's done right.via GIPHYBut some projects are either too big for one person or affect multiple departments. Here are five tips to ensure group project success.1. Immediately establish who is responsible for what.Morton Blackwell's sixth law of the public policy process “Give ‘em a title, and get ‘em involved,” is never more accurate than when you're working in a large team. Make sure everyone is in charge of something, ideally the area of the project that most excites them and utilizes their talents. Who is best at marketing, digital, event planning, etc.?2. Schedule regular meetings with an agenda.At the beginning of any project, establish a consistent time to meet. This may be once or twice a week. Meetings give colleagues the opportunity to bounce ideas off each other and ensure a degree of accountability. An agenda can include action items, which you will follow up at the next meeting. If someone cannot be present at the meeting, make sure they're caught up at a later date. via GIPHY3. Create an online team chat.Some great online platforms are available to enable you to share ideas, documents, schedule meetings, and discussion. By discussing your project within a group chat, you can share thoughts and keep the group project in the minds of all the team members. Online chats also mean you don't have to wait until the next meeting if there's something you'd like to discuss. 4. Don't be afraid to lean on others or request more responsibility.The best thing about working in a group is mutual accountability for the success of your overall project. Check in with your team members on a regular basis and make sure they're being challenged. Likewise, if a colleague is overwhelmed because of other responsibilities, don't be afraid to step in. If you're in need of assistance, ask others in your team for help. via GIPHY5. Share the credit.It is critical for team morale that all members of the project receive credit for its success. If one person's contribution isn't recognized, it is essential to recognize them. Likewise, if something goes wrong, it could be a collective failure and is something the team should address as a whole. Maintaining team morale is essential to a successful group project, as individuals will greatly impact each other's enthusiasm. Finally! Group projects can be a lot of fun and a great way to build your relationships with colleagues. Just follow the steps above, and you'll enjoy a successful outcome.via GIPHY
Leadership Institute Program Catalog
Leadership Institute
January 16, 2018
Leadership Institute Program Catalog
The Leadership Institute increases the number and effectiveness of conservative activists and leaders in the public policy process. To accomplish this, LI identifies, recruits, trains, and places conservatives in government, politics, and the media.LI's Program Catalog, available for you to view here, gives you a 41 page overview of Leadership Institute programs, including:- Campus leadership,- Campus journalism,- Career services,- 47 types of training schools,- International training, and- Online training and resources.
Break the 4/5 rule in 2018!
Ben Woodward
January 8, 2018
Break the 4/5 rule in 2018!
In 2018, I'm going to break a rule. According to Business Insider, 80% of New Year's Resolutions will be broken by February. That's 4/5 of us who make a commitment to ourselves and don't follow through! It's not surprising when you think about it because most resolutions are wildly ambitious. We've all promised ourselves we're going to lose a lot of weight, quit our addictions, or become a millionaire. By the way, if you've achieved any of these things, good for you. Tell me your secret! via GIPHYMore importantly, most resolutions only develop with ourselves in mind. As such, because our resolutions are self-involved, we don't have anybody else invested in our success. Imagine how much more likely you would be to follow through if there was accountability from those around you.To break the 4/5 rule in 2018, I resolve to create something new at work.This New Year, your challenge is to sit down and identify how things could be better. How could you and your organization better accomplish your mission and better advance conservatism?via GIPHYThe best thing about working in the conservative movement is the tremendous potential to be an innovator and improve the way things are done. Here are three reasons you should resolve to create something new at work:Too often, professionals wait around for the formal authority to make a change. This, and fear of failure, prevent good ideas finding their way up the chain of command. Staff at non-profits like the Leadership Institute, however, are always encouraged to identify a need in the movement and fill it. Often this means going outside your formal job description and stretching yourself to take on new responsibilities. As you begin to challenge yourself, you will develop new skills.By doing this, you not only become an indispensable part of the team, but you also show your bosses you are serious about improving your organization and have the leadership skills necessary to drive innovation rather than just following orders.via GIPHYBut how do you create something new?Think about obstacles that make your job harder, or perhaps something you admire about another organization's way of doing things. Don't try to invent the wheel; just contribute tangible improvement.When you identify a way to contribute something new, and your boss is happy to proceed, prepare a full project proposal. It is essential you do your research and explain why the new idea is necessary, how you will define success, your strategy for implementation, and how you will overcome possible challenges.If your proposal is approved, identify staff who can support your new project and are willing to lend their time to ensure success. Set realistic goals for your project and keep your motivation. Remember, it's a marathon not a sprint!By making it your resolution to create something new at work, you will not only advance your career, but you will break the 4/5 rule. When you set yourself a goal that's well planned, your colleagues are invested in, and that helps others, you're far more likely to succeed.Be a rule breaker in 2018!
Conservative Heroes: Fourteen Leaders Who Shaped America, From Jefferson to Reagan
Morton C Blackwell
January 1, 2018
Conservative Heroes: Fourteen Leaders Who Shaped America, From Jefferson to Reagan
<< Download the full PDF here >>Dear Fellow Conservative,You and I are probably exceptions. Most people today have little understanding of America's founding principles of limited government or of how great American political leaders have devoted their lives throughout our history to defend those principles. Where can people learn about the heritage that made and kept our country great? Certainly not in most schools. Conservative Heroes: Fourteen Leaders Who Shaped America, From Jefferson to Reagan by Garland Tucker III tells readers exciting stories of conservatives from America's founding to the modern era. All were dedicated to the principles of limited government. At no cost to you, I have arranged for you to have online access to this outstanding book that tracks consistent conservative themes throughout American history and shows how fourteen outstanding leaders applied their philosophy through their political activities. The book in PDF form is without cost to you. << Download the full PDF here >> Like me, you may prefer to read physical books, but also like me, you can sometimes read interesting and useful books online. I knew that more people would read it online right now if I could distribute it at no cost. If you wish to own a Kindle or hard copy of the book, you can order either version from Amazon here.Garland Tucker, a successful businessman who is a deeply read student of history, tells the stories of fourteen leaders from Jefferson to Reagan. Some are famous; others are important but hardly remembered at all.You probably know other conservatives who share your interest in conservative principles. If so, please forward to them my no-cost offer of this highly educational, 202-page book.Cordially,Morton BlackwellPresidentThe Leadership Institute P.S. If some friends or other people you know should learn more about conservative heroes, please send them this PDF. Or order a copy for them here.
Merry Christmas from the Leadership Institute!
Leadership Institute
December 25, 2017
Merry Christmas from the Leadership Institute!
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Your internship is ending, make a lasting impression!
Kate Lipman
December 6, 2017
Your internship is ending, make a lasting impression!
There's a lot to be said about a first impression, but what about a last impression? For many of us who have a full-time job, the run up to Christmas is a wind-down period. For interns coming to the end of their semester, it's a time to solidify the strong reputation you have worked hard to build. Instead of focusing on the impending Christmas break, use these last couple of weeks to impress your supervisors. You never know when a vacancy will emerge or you need a reference. Here are some ways you can make a strong last impression. Ask for a final evaluation This shows your boss you invest in your personal growth, and care about your work performance. The evaluation itself will also be very helpful for you professionally; it's a chance to hear what you do well and where you can improve in future. You can then take this knowledge to your next opportunity and improve any issues your boss addresses. via GIPHY Complete outstanding projects Just because your time at your organization is coming to a close does not mean you should let your projects go unfinished. If you fail to finish your outstanding projects before your internship ends, you will leave a bad impression, and your boss won't thank you for the extra work. By completing those projects, you show your boss you are committed to your responsibilities as an intern. via GIPHY Utilize all opportunities at your organization At LI, all interns have access to free trainings. While they continue to enjoy this privilege for a year after their internship, some move home and can't take advantage of the opportunity. The smart interns go to as many trainings as they can in the last few weeks. If your organization offers similar perks -- holds events, meetings, visits -- take advantage of the opportunity now. It's a lot harder to do when you're not around. Network Following from the last tip, networking is the best opportunity you have during an internship. When you're out of sight, you're out of mind. It's far easier to build relationships when you're physically in the same city, so figure out who you want to stay in contact with after the internship and arrange one last meeting. Also look at whom you have not yet had an opportunity to meet within your organization and organize a lunch or coffee. While the department you interned in may not be hiring, another department could. Once you are confident in your relationships within your organization, look outside at the last few networking events and meet people at the organizations you hope to work for next. Thank you Make sure you take an opportunity to thank the people who have helped you during your internship. Writing personal cards to colleagues, in particular your supervisor, intern coordinator, department head, and President, is the best way to show appreciation for their efforts in your career. via GIPHY Lastly Congratulations on completing your internship! Enjoy your well-earned Christmas break and if LI can be of assistance, please don't hesitate to reach out at resumes@leadershipinstitute.org.
You can Lead without being the Boss
Ben Woodward
November 27, 2017
You can Lead without being the Boss
Leaders come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they are your immediate supervisor, and other times they are the person who takes action while everyone around them remains silent. Chances are, you are not a CEO, a General, or a politician, but that does not mean you are not a leader. Fancy job titles are not what gives you the power to lead. Here are some ways you can show leadership without authority. Be creative Make it your goal to be more innovative in the workplace. There are always ways your organization can improve. Perhaps something makes your job more stressful than it needs to be and you can find an alternative, or maybe there is a tactic other organizations use you can try. Sometimes the leader is merely the first person who shows up and takes action. For example, the Leadership Institute is consistently looking for ways to improve the quality of its trainings. This means that there's always scope for staff to propose new trainings or adjustments to existing ones. via GIPHY Be a problem solver You weren't hired to see problems and report them; you were hired to create solutions. If you identify a problem, before you go to your boss try to come up with a few ideas to fix it. Even if your ideas aren't accepted, you'll be known as someone who makes life easier on higher-ups. For example, if you're running an event and a crucial component such as the venue falls through at the last minute, stop, take a breath, and start to list some potential alternatives you can contact. Take that list you your boss rather than running into their office panicking. via GIPHY Become the go-to person I bet you can think of someone in your office who you would immediately turn to for advice. There may be several people depending on the issue. Why don't you become that person? Figure out where your comparative advantage lies and offer to help people. Leaders are those who others turn to in a crisis. For example, it may be something really simple like being able to Mail Merge, or perhaps you are well connected and can put people in touch with each other. Communication, communication, communication Good leaders communicate effectively. Think about it, how can people follow your lead if they don't have any idea what you're telling them to do? However, it's also a two-way street, good leaders are also good listeners. You are not all-knowing, and being able to identify who knows more than you, and acting on their advice is critical. Be decisive In a healthy work environment, the status quo is challenged from time to time. Likewise, any new ideas are held up to scrutiny before implementation. But if you're confident in your ideas and way of working, you should be prepared to follow through on decisions and have courage in your conviction. Don't back down at the first hurdle. via GIPHY Remember, you can be a leader without authority. Likewise, there are plenty of people in authority who aren't leaders. By taking the initiative, acting as well as talking, and having confidence in your abilities, you will show leadership in your organization.
Count Your Blessings: LI Grad New Missouri Speaker Pro Tem
Thomas Bingham & Carol Wehe
November 22, 2017
Count Your Blessings: LI Grad New Missouri Speaker Pro Tem
Every day conservatives fight to gain control of Congress to stop the radical left agenda. It is imperative to elect principled conservatives to office at every level of government. That's why, at a time when we're supposed to count our blessings, I give thanks for representatives like Elijah Haahr in Missouri, and the many other principled conservative Leadership Institute (LI) graduates already in office who work to make our country a better place. Elijah realized the importance of putting conservatives into office early on. "Raised in a conservative family, I started volunteering on political campaigns at the age of 10,” Elijah said. Twenty years later, at just 30 years old, Elijah ran for and won his first campaign. He decided to run for an open seat in the Missouri House of Representatives, District 134 in 2012. After winning his primary with more than 20% of the vote, he went on to win the general election against James Owen. Now, at 35, he still holds his elected seat, is an active member of the Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association, and just this fall was elected to be the next Speaker of the House starting in January 2019. Why is it important that Elijah Haahr is so successful at winning elections and being an effective representative? It's not easy. To be an effective candidate, he had to learn how to campaign, fundraise, develop his message, and anticipate negative coverage. As the new Speaker Pro Tem, Elijah Haahr said he greatly benefited from Leadership Institute trainings and his experience working on campaigns. “My parents discovered the Leadership Institute, and I attended several LI courses as a teenager,” Elijah said. “The lessons learned on running and winning campaigns, along with the philosophical foundation LI provided, I still use in my campaigns and political work today." Not only was Elijah a student at Leadership Institute as a teenager, he took LI's Future Candidate School in 2009, just three years before he ran and won in 2012. Future Candidate School is a four-day boot camp which prepares conservatives to run for office. Students at Future Candidate School learn how to get involved, drive support for an issue or candidate, organize activists in large or small groups for maximum impact, communicate more effectively, use the media to help advance an issue, build personal leadership skills, abilities, and confidence. Elijah Haahr is not the only Leadership Institute graduate to get elected to public office. More than 36 Leadership Institute graduates are serving members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. And 504 Leadership Institute graduates are members of State Legislatures, along with Elijah. So, while you're finding leaders, family, and friends to be thankful for this week, you can also consider taking the same leap Elijah did to learn how to effectively campaign and then to run and win public office. The next Future Candidate School will be held December 5-8, 2017. To register for the Future Candidate School click here. Join me in congratulating Elijah Haahr on his new role as Speaker of the House in January 2019, and in giving thanks this Thanksgiving for the hardworking conservatives willing to serve as elected leaders.
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