When everyone is on the same page

You can achieve anything!!

This is so true.  I attended an executive meeting for one of my Toastmasters clubs last night  The wine and ideas were flowing and overall it was reassuring that everyone was on the same page.

There were many things discussed regarding the internal growth of the members as well as reaching out to bring new members in.

A number of action committees were formed.  The biggest lesson I have learned in regards to committing to these projects is that there is only so much of you that can go around.  In the past, I would put my hand up to be a member of all the committees, but recently in the last year or so I have learned to say no.  Not because I don’t want to do it, but because if I do everything then I am 1) Not empowering others to learn and grow and 2) I would not be able to give my full attention to each project.  This is when things get missed and reflects badly on the project and the teams and myself.

I know that the plans we have in store over the next 6 to 12 months will cement our club membership and allow us to continue to be a strong and effective organisation.

So I am a wombat

I attended a course today for work and the premise was to find out what type of leader I am and how I can work with others in my team to get the best out of each person.

AusIDentities is a one-day event where we take a version of the Myers-Briggs personality test to determine what Australian animal we are associated with.  The result was that I am a wombat.

According to the course, wombats are a great asset for any organisation.  They tend to be hard-working, dependable, loyal, thorough in their approach to tasks, and will usually want to abide by the rules or at the very least follow established procedures.  They bring stability and dependability and a keen desire to be useful, all qualities that endear them to their employers.

Typical behaviours of wombats are:

  • Standardising
  • Responsible
  • Meticulous
  • Dependable
  • Structured
  • Economical

The ideal job for a wombat is a manager or supervisor.

I am pleased to have identified as this type of leader as this reaffirms my training in Toastmasters and that I want to continue learning to lead more and more each week.

Toastmasters is a place to develop your communication skills delivering speeches but Toastmasters also claims the mantra of ‘Where leaders are made’.

I believe that this is very true.  All leaders throughout history have needed to learn the role.  They were not just magically a leader the first time they tried.  As a leader in Toastmasters, I appreciate every  day the people who have and continue to mentor me in my leadership development.

I am now pleased that I am also able to serve others and teach them to become leaders in their own right.

That is just one of the benefits of becoming a member of Toastmasters.

What happens when it turns negative?


Yesterday I had a wonderful day at our District semi annual conference.  It was a day full of inspiring educational sessions and personal growth for me.  I had a great time networking among the fellow Toastmasters in attendance and I got a lot out of the day.

But what happens when it turns negative?

Negative may be a bit harsh, possibly anxious would be a better word.  It wasn’t much, but during the day I spoke with a few (not many) people who are well ingrained in the way that they do things and aren’t really prepared to adapt to change.

We had an excellent presentation on the new “Pathways” education program and we all did an exercise of which pathways would suit us best.  Toastmasters has spent years redeveloping the education program to bring it up to modern day standards including online learning via video tutorials and other exciting mediums.

I do understand the apprehension from the members who are happy with the way the current program operates and don’t see the relevance of the new program and what it can bring for them.  I do see the pathways being centered more around professional growth especially in the areas of career advancement.  I acknowledge that.

I guess my question is what can we do as members to help the ones who are apprehensive to give something new a go?  The pathways education program will be focusing deeply on mentoring and that may be the key.  These apprehensive members may be able to be mobilized as mentors to others who are traveling along their pathway.  It will give the sense of purpose that we all need and the acknowledgement we all seek.

International President Mike Storkey instills into all of us “Remember the member”, so I am remembering the member.  Not just those who are excited for “Pathways”, but also those who are apprehensive. Some of these members have been in Toastmasters upwards of 30 years.  Let us not ignore or forget the hard work they have done before us to be build this organisation into what it is today.

When inspiration strikes

On Wednesday evening at Toastmasters we had a speech from a member who spoke about the rule of 5.  Simply put, if something presents itself to you and you are not sure you should do it or not, give yourself 5 seconds to answer yes or no.  After 5 seconds you are pretty sure if you are going to do it or not.  If the answer is no after those 5 seconds then you are almost guaranteed to not change your mind.

I have been thinking recently on using my knowledge in most things technology to help my fellow Toastmasters more.  I was not sure what it would be.  So today when inspiration struck I questioned if this is what I should do.  After applying the rule of 5 to my thoughts I took the plunge and did my first online tutorial video for District 69.

A brief overview of dashboard and how to run reports.  Something that is easily understood by me, but I know a number of leaders who struggle to understand how to do these tasks.

So here it is.  My first tutorial for the members of District 69

The Competent Leadership manual


On Wednesday night I achieved a Competent Leadership award.  This is the fourth time I have achieved this award.  You may ask why have I done this again and again?  There are two major reasons why I keep repeating the Competent Leadership manual.

  1.  The first is that I can help my club achieve its goals on the Distinguished Club Program.  Every year Toastmasters International sets a goal for two Leadership awards per club to be achieved.  My club is able to achieve this because our members bring their manuals to each meeting and we also track our progress in easy-Speak.  Last year our club was able to achieve 5 or 6 leadership awards.  Although Toastmasters only sets 2 as a goal we all pitch in and share the roles at our club and help each member grow as leaders.  This just naturally results in leadership awards.
  2. The second and most important reason I keep repeating my Competent Leadership award is that my growth as a leader never stops.  Each time you take on a leadership role be it at District, Division, Area or Club you are always learning better ways to become a leader.  As we are all members at club level, I believe that I am always able to improve my leadership skills each and every time I do a role at the club.  Just because I have already done the Competent Leadership manual before doesn’t mean I have no where to improve or grow as a leader.

We are always growing as leaders and the Competent Leadership award gives us a chance to work on the fundamental skills as a leader.  It helps the club and it helps you.