Toastmaster’s High Performance Leadership Program–5 Project Components

In the previous post, I outlined how the Toastmaster’s High Performance Leadership Program, which is essentially an introduction to project management, is one of the three requirements for obtaining the Advanced Leader Silver award, the highest level on the leadership track of the Toastmasters educational program, the other two requirements being that you

–serve a term as a District Officer, including being an Area Governor

–serve as a Club Sponsor, Club Mentor, or Club Coach.

The High Performance Program consists of completing a project with five components, which are listed below.

Part 1:  Learning About Leadership

In this part, you do the following:

  • Learn about the vocabulary and concepts involved in the study of leadership.
  • Take a quiz to make sure you have mastered the material.
  • Take an assessment of your current leadership skills, identifying those strengths you already have and what weaknesses need to be overcome.
  • Plot your leadership profile based on the assessment you did in the previous step.   This is a visual depiction of your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Brainstorm for project ideas.
  • Recruit your guidance committee, and set up an initial meeting.

Part 2:  Choosing Your Objective

In this part, you do the following:

  • Create a vision–what is the result or change that you want to come about as a result of your project?   In other words, why are you doing the project?
  • Create a mission statement–what is the project going to accomplish?
  • What are the core values of your project?    If you are going to create a product, a service, or a result, what are the features that it will have for those whom it will benefit?
  • Communicate your vision, mission statement, and core values.
  • Create a speech which encapsulates the communication you outlined in the last step.
  • Invite your guidance committee to your club, and present the speech to your club members and the guidance committee.

Part 3:  Winning Commitment to Your Objective

In this part, you do the following:

  • Develop a list of stakeholders–identify those within Toastmasters or within the community who have an interest in the project or who will be affected by its result
  • Divide the stakeholders into the potential helpers, and the potential resistors.
  • Contact your potential helpers.   From these you will create your action team, from as few as 3-4 people to as many as 8-10.
  • Hold a meeting and invite your action team.
  • Create an action strategy for your team.    This will consist of the deliverables that the team will have to produce in order to accomplish the project.
  • Create an action plan for your team.    This will consist of the action items that the team will have to perform in order to produce the deliverables mentioned in the previous step.
  • Create roles for the action team, goals or milestones to be achieved on the way towards completing the action plan, and develop a timetable for the action plan.
  • Meet with your Guidance Committee to go over your project action strategy, action plan, and project schedule.

Part 4:  Working the Plan

In this part, you do the following:

  • This is where you are accomplishing the various goals and milestones of the action plan.
  • Hold periodic progress review meetings.
  • Deal with obstacles, setbacks, and problems.
  • Deal with people problems and resolve conflicts.
  • Periodically reevaluate the overall project plan.
  • Get feedback from your action team.
  • Re-evaluate your leadership skills–have they changed from the initial valuation done in Part 1?
  • Meet with your guidance committee to discuss the progress on the plan, any problems or setbacks, any people problems and how they were resolved, the validity of the original plan, and the feedback from your action team.

Part 5:  Analyzing and Presenting Your Results

In this part, you do the following:

  • When the project is completed, you present your results to the club.
  • Complete the Leadership Excellence Award Application.
  • Have the guidance committee sign the application.
  • Have your club’s Vice President Education sign the award application.
  • Mail the completed form and the completed Evaluation Guide to Toastmasters International.
  • Toastmasters International’s World Headquarters will send you the Leadership Excellence certificate.

In the language of project management, parts 1 and 2 are the initiating process, part 3 is the planning process, part 4 is a combination of the executing and the monitoring & controlling process, and part 5 is the closing process.

For those who are project managers, the process will seem natural.   For those who are not, it is an excellent place to learn the skills required to become a great project manager!



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