What do they need to know?
The Curmudgeon has been critical of some current TM training, especially “ad hoc” officer training. That is, the “let’s just do the same thing we did last time” classes. There’s a better way.
Institutions that train successful leaders and executives, like General Electric and USMC Officer Candidate School, first identify what success looks like: What do successful executives and officers know and do?
What knowledge, skills and conduct are needed to fulfill their responsibilities well? Then we can ask what knowledge, skills and conduct are weak in our specific candidates? And finally, what are the best ways to strengthen these areas?
In Toastmasters the responsibilities of club officers are defined in The Club Leadership Handbook (item 1310, also available as a PDF download). Let’s use Club President for our discussion. The Club President (in many clubs) presides at meetings. She oversees the VPE, VPPR, Secretary, Treasurer and Sergeant At Arms in the performance of their duties. She ensures that legal requirements and TMI rules are known and enforced. She monitors the Club image and “feel.”
Some of our trainees have already served as Club Treasurer, Secretary, VPE and even President. They have figured out how to use the TI website and speech scheduling software and they know what reports and tax forms are needed – and when they are due. Reading the Handbook to them will be counterproductive. Going over published materials in a group training session is usually a waste of limited training time. And, it can seem demeaning; “you mean you don’t think I can read that material myself?”
Others are facing their first TM Club Office. They may be unaware of reports, frustrated by the (balky) website and intimidated by presiding at meetings. They will be thankful for training that includes a walkthrough exercise on website access and a calendar review to help them oversee VPE planning and Secretary/Treasurer reports and procedures. A checklist of requirements for meeting minutes and audit reports – and samples of each — can help them.
As we learn what these two groups of Club Presidents need to know, how will we teach it? That’s for another post.