Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Express appreciation; accept responsibility

Anyone who has ever organised anything with more than half a dozen people knows it can be frustrating. People working on multiple projects are a great example – different priorities often mean getting team members together can be difficult. In today’s enlightened times with flatter structures and experts in unlikely places, sticks are not a sensible option. Carrots are all well and good but genuine conflicts of interest often mean people can be placed in difficult positions. Good preparation, planning and communication, plus the ability to be flexible, come to the rescue when the going gets tough.

Yesterday I wrote about some of my frustrations with organising a meeting with 15+ people and getting everyone lined up in the same place at the same time doing approximately what they were supposed to be doing. In fact, although the turnout was relatively low, the quality and energy levels were super-high.

Everyone who had a role played their part brilliantly. The organiser of the evening was a consummate professional who made it all look so easy (artfully hiding all the hard work that had gone before). We had some terrific speeches, some truly gifted impromptu speakers and a highly enjoyable evening.

So to all my fellow Toastmasters last night: thank you!

The Toastmasters’ leadership checklist has nuggets of gold within it. Express appreciation and accept responsibility seems more than appropriate.
  • Appreciation for people who worked hard to improve their own speaking abilities, and to entertain and inform their audience.
  • Appreciation for those who are prepared to “have a go” even though the prospect of standing up in front of a group of people is truly terrifying.
  • Appreciation for those who generously share their knowledge and experience even though they are already accomplished speakers.
What a crowd, huh?

So the small amount of responsibility I assumed in helping organise the evening was paid back many times over. Isn’t that always the way?


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