By Lukas Liebich
“Toastmasters is about members, not about collecting DCP points!”
This is one of the most frequently raised objections at Club Officer Trainings. And I couldn’t agree more! If I had to choose between choosing what’s good for a club member and what’s good for the club’s DCP points, I would go for the good of the member any time.
But how did we get the idea we need to choose between the two?
Imagine this scenario:
You don’t hear from your VP Education all year long. Then, the end of the Toastmasters year arrives. One morning, in the middle of June, you find in your email a message from your VP Education:
“Hi there! Our club needs one more Level 4 to achieve President’s Distinguished. Could you please help us by doing 2 Level 4 speeches in the next two weeks?”
You want to help your club. You agree to do the two projects, even though you think it would have been nice to have more time to work on them. At the final club meeting of the year, you get celebrated as the “Club’s Savior” thanks to whom the club achieved its Distinguished status.
While your club showed a good “finisher” attitude, it’s right to ask the question: “Is this last-minute rush for collecting points of any use to the members?”
Not so much. But to defend the Distinguished Club Program, this is not the only way it can be used!
Compare to the alternative:
You get a message from your VP Education – but in July instead of June; that is, at the beginning of the Toastmasters year.
The message would go like this:
“Hey there! You’re one of our club’s more advanced speakers and we believe you could finish your Path this year. In order to do that, you need to complete Level 3, Level 4 and Level 5. Would you like me to help you plan your Pathways Projects for the year to make sure you make steady progress in your communication and leadership?”
Can you see the difference? Now it is clearly helpful to the member.
A message like the one above results too from looking at Club Goals in the Distinguished Club Program. The main difference is the “when”. If a VP Education, with the team of Club Officers, discusses the Club Success Plan, they are nudged to look at the Club Goals, but also at the means of achieving them. If they do it at the beginning of the year (that’s when it makes the most sense), they have a chance to look at all the members and see what role each of the members can play in the success of the club. The new members will be completing levels 1 and 2, the more advanced ones levels 3, 4 and 5.
This way, not only the person “just about to finish the right level” will be involved in the Club Success in the last two weeks. Everyone will be in, from the beginning!
The Distinguished Club Program is not a magical artifact. It is just a document listing and explaining 10 goals.
As the famous entrepreneur and author Derek Sivers puts it:
“The purpose of goals is not to improve the future. The future doesn’t exist. It’s only in our imagination. All that exists is the present moment and what you do in it.” – Derek Sivers, Hell Yeah or No
The DCP can inspire the club’s officer team to think about where each of the members can contribute to the club’s success – and look for ways how to align what’s good for each individual member with what’s good for the club.
Going through the Club Success Plan together is a great way to do that.
Have you discussed it in your club yet?