As our organization continues to grow, our opportunities – and our challenges – are growing too. Perhaps now more than ever, we need strong leadership to guide us into the future together. Our leaders need to nurture a culture of cohesion and cooperation, an inspiring vision to strive for, and a fearless approach to the road ahead. Here are four strategies to accomplish these goals.
Build on the Building Blocks
Toastmaster’s rich history was forged by inspired leaders who laid a strong foundation of standards and principles, vision and possibility. They lit a torch and led our organization down the path toward a future of immense possibility.
One by one, they entrusted that torch to the next generation of leaders, and with it the responsibility to light the way for current and future members. Together, we honor their legacy by upholding our standards, committing to our values, advancing our mission, extending our reach, and serving the members of Toastmasters to the very best of our ability.
As in the past, our future success rests on our member clubs’ ability to provide great value and enhance the member experience. However, unlike the past, the needs of our clubs and members are increasingly location specific.
Clubs and members in emerging markets such as China, India, and Africa have vastly different needs than those in developed markets such as USA, Canada and Australia. As we spread across the globe, we must remain sensitive to this and agile enough to “meet them where they are.”
As we take our place on the world stage, our leaders must speak to, listen to, and accommodate an increasingly diverse audience. The changing demographics of our membership calls for a leadership team that is savvy to the nuances of our global membership, responsive to issues, and united in a vision of realizing our full potential.
In the next phase of our development, our strategies, technology, and operational efficiency will be more important than ever before. To reach and serve members around the globe, in any generation, we are compelled to stay light on our feet and heavy on initiatives, and deliver value to members at a faster pace.
With our new world headquarters in Denver, the innovative Pathways program, our enhanced infrastructure, and a global marketing strategy in development, we are well on our way. Yet, there is so much more we can do!
Values Translated into Action
We’ve been blessed with an inspired set of organizational core values: integrity, respect, service to the member, and a commitment to excellence.
However, we can’t just talk about core values or print them on a banner – we must embody them, not only at Toastmasters meetings but every single day.
To become the people we aspire to be, we need to continually ask ourselves: If I take this action, am I acting with integrity? If I behave this way, am I respecting those around me and myself? Living our values requires daily practice, and as Toastmasters, we know that practice pays off.
Modeling our core values is the essence of leadership, and instrumental in supporting our members. The more we align ourselves with our values, the more they translate into action. They become a driving force, both internally and externally, raising our levels of contribution, initiative, and ethics. And, they’re infectious! When we raise the bar for ourselves, those around us tend to follow suit.
Cultivating Strategic Alliances
Toastmasters International has a strong and widely respected reputation, and our members come from all walks of life. These untapped assets have the potential to fuel tremendous growth in the years ahead.
If we developed strategic alliances with universities, corporations, non-profits, and other organizations, our membership numbers would grow! And, if we developed a program to support members in initiating and facilitating these alliances, we would add a new dimension to their leadership skillset.
The potential for growth is truly staggering, and it’s a compelling way to encourage more members to assume leadership roles.
The Power of One Team with One Dream
The future success of Toastmasters depends on a shared vision of our organization becoming the first choice provider of experiential, high-value communication and leadership training.
There’s only way to transform this ambition into reality: by working together as one team with one dream.
Everyone has a role to play in the future of Toastmasters. We may have differing strategies on how to get there, but we all want to unlock our potential. With strong leaders, cooperative volunteers, engaged members, and a shared commitment to a compelling vision, we can take Toastmasters to new heights.