Posts

Reflecting

I'm currently reading, " Measure What Matters " by John Doerr. This post will be very short - really just a question. The American philosopher and educator, John Dewey, once said, " We do not learn from experience ... we learn from reflecting on experience. " As a leader, do you periodically take time to reflect on your experiences? If you and your team have just finished a project, has the entire team taken a moment to reflect on the project, what they learned, what went wrong, what went right?  If you're not periodically taking time to reflect - how are you ever going to learn from your mistakes - or what you're doing right?

Meeting Quality and Membership

The quality of your club meetings will drive your membership levels. I firmly believe this. Think about it logically. People seek out Toastmasters because they have a goal to achieve or they've identified something about themselves they'd like to change. They're at your meeting to see if you can help them achieve their goal. If you show them an enjoyable meeting that starts on time, stays on time (and track), and ends on time, with helpful evaluations - they'll join. Put yourself in their shoes. You want to become more confident professionally so you attend a meeting. When you get there, no one greets you because the members are running around trying to fill roles at the last minute. When it starts, it doesn't seem like they have an agenda or know what's coming next. No one even acknowledges your presence. How confident would you be that these people, and this organization, will be able to help you achieve your goals? Remember, guests don't join Toastmasters

8 New Members Every Year - GUARANTEED!

 That sounds like a bold claim, doesn't it? Eight new members - guaranteed - every single year? Sound too good to be true? It's not! Before we talk about membership, let's talk about your car. Let's say your car has a 15-gallon tank (that's 56.8 liters for our friends outside the US) and it gets 20 miles to the gallon (or 8.5 kilometers to the liter). How far can you go on one tank of gas? 15 gallons x 20 miles per gallon = 300 miles (or, 56.8 liters x 8.5 kilometers per liter = 482.8 kilometers) Another way you can look at it - if you just drove 300 miles and it took 15 gallons to fill up your tank, then you know you averaged 20 miles per gallon. 300 miles / 15 gallons = 20 miles per gallon (482.8 kilometers / 56.8 liters = 8.5 kilometers per liter) It's the same concept when it comes to guaranteeing 8 new members every year. You need three numbers from last year: The number of times your club met. The number of guests you had at your meetings. The number of ne

Membership and Retention

 During my campaign for International Director, I am frequently asked about my views on the challenges facing Toastmasters. I thought I might take a break from my leadership posts to talk about my views on the future of the organization and the challenges facing us. Retention In my opinion, the biggest challenge facing Toastmasters isn't COVID - it's member retention. It's only natural that a club will lose a certain number of members every year. People move, they experience life changes, their priorities change, etc. The number most commonly mentioned in Toastmasters is that we lose 40% of our membership every. single. year! If you run a business, and you lose 40% of your customers each and every year, you won't be in business for long. People in sales know this adage but, the least expensive customer to get is one that's already purchased from you. While we may not spend actual money to get guests to attend our meetings (although some may), we spend time contactin

It's okay to say, "no".

 One of the biggest lessons I learned, as a leader, was to say "no" without feeling guilty.  As a leader there seems to be a never-ending demand on your time. Someone wants to talk with you. Someone else wants you to attend their meeting. Someone has a great idea for a new project. And on and on. It feels like the more you do, the more you're asked to do. If your plate is full, what they're asking doesn't take priority over what's on your agenda, and it doesn't absolutely HAVE to be done by you, it's okay to say, "no". In fact, saying "no" can be an excellent delegation opportunity! " That sounds like a GREAT idea but I don't don't have the bandwidth to take that on right now. Could YOU head that up for us? " (You'll find out quickly just HOW good of an idea THEY think it really is! LOL!)

One-on-One Meetings

 ( This post is inspired by an article I read on the Trello blog. If you're not familiar with it, Trello is a web-based collaboration tool. At one glance you can see what's being worked on, who's working on what, and where something is in a process. Think of it as a white board, filled with sticky notes, with each sticky note being a task. ) If you're not familiar with them, one-on-one meetings are meetings between a manager and a team member to discuss how things are going. Do we really need more meetings? Let's face it, most meetings could have been better handled by an email. In fact, 67% of employees say that excessive meetings get in the way of them making an impact at work! One-on-one meetings CAN be very helpful - and not just for the team member! They can also help YOU improve YOUR performance. For the team member, use them to discuss priorities, challenges, and professional development. For you, the leader, these meetings provide an opportunity to: build

Make them want you as their leader

To be an effective leader, you essentially need two traits: 1) the skill and competence to be promoted to a leadership position and, 2) the ability to attract willing followers. John Maxwell says, " If you think you're leading, but no one is following, then you are only taking a walk. " I was very careful, in that first paragraph, to qualify "followers" with "willing". You can absolutely be a leader with unwilling followers. I've often heard it said that the most difficult type of leadership is leadership in a volunteer organization. At your job, you HAVE to follow what your boss says or you'll be fired. In a volunteer organization, they don't HAVE to do ANYTHING you say. You have to MOTIVATE them to WANT to do what you ask. Good leaders, on the other hand, spend their time ensuring that their "followers" actually WANT them as their leader. Lieutenant General Hal Moore, the solder on whom the movie " We Were Soldiers " w