Focus on the Toastmasters and care for them, and your key performance indicators (KPIs) will fall into place,  the KPIs are the means to the end, not the end itself.

Pradeep, whom I mentioned in my first blog on my public speaking learning journey, gave me the abovementioned advice (to that effect) as he wrapped up his evaluation of the chapter meeting on 25th June.

Just before the chapter meeting and installation of the executive committee, I had a brief word with Pradeep. I told him I had to meet the key performance indicators (KPIs) to earn the Distinguished Club status for our club.  Before I was elected as an executive committee officer, I didn’t know there were KPIs and the president with his/her deputies would work together to earn the recognition by satisfying some requirements including having X number of members completing their manuals. No wonder Michelle had been urging me to do my projects and yet I was taking my own sweet time as I’d not like to rush through things.

Frankly speaking, I wouldn’t care whether or not the club has the Distinguished Club status because I’m a person who puts substance over form but I have to put interest of the club before my own preference. Pradeep on hearing my concerns to meet KPIs, advised me instead to focus on caring for the members and this would in turn help the club gain its status.

I joined the club just one year but I was fortunate to have met people very kind to me.  Pradeep and Garry, despite being very senior in Toastmasters, always give me brotherly advice.

Pradeep messaged in the club’s chat group, saying he would be attending the chapter meeting for me and he’s behind our executive committee.  Touched by his camaraderie.

Garry encouraged me with his analogy of how a newbie wouldn’t decline an assignment from his/her employer just because he/she is new to the job. He has a point. That’s right, being a rookie doesn’t mean I would not be able to discharge the duties of president well. I think my concern is I find the heavy responsibility daunting and the fact that I’m not very familiar with Toastmasters system and the club.

After I delivered my inaugural speech as president, and as I took my seat, Taichi extended his hand over and congratulated me on my speech.  I was grateful because it’s an assuring gesture as i had just discharged my first duty as president.

Later, during the break for refreshments, Taichi said he liked my speech.  He felt I was sincere and I had in my speech gave recognition to everyone who has contributed.  I was heartened to hear this from Taichi.

Initially when I heard him paying compliments to my speech,  my immediate response was he liked my speech because I had recognised his contribution.  On reflection, I thought it was so mean of me. I was ashamed of myself.  It seems, I am not that sincere,  after all.  To redeem myself, I whatsapp-ed him that night to thank him for liking my speech and I appreciate his feedback, just like I appreciate what he’s been doing for the club. I added that his contribution hasn’t gone unnoticed.

I admired him for working quietly behind the scenes and therefore paid homage to him along  with other executive committee officers. While some play their role in full public view, others labour equally hard in the background.  There is no difference in their contribution, only in their roles. Leader, undoubtedly, plays an important role but that doesn’t mean that other roles can be trivialised and you need someone to play these other roles.

The meeting had incorporated an installation of executive committee officers and induction of new members. The event was graced by pioneer members and high ranking Toastmasters from the district, division and area levels. It was a who’s who gathering. And it was after the meeting, while trying to find out more about Toastmasters from Jun and Anthonius that I learned that the humble and unassuming Pradeep is a very senior officer and he used to be in charge of Toastmasters Singapore and Thailand. Wow. Talk about modesty.


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