Friday, March 28, 2014

My High Performance Leadership Project

Since joining Toastmasters International in June 2011, I've wanted to become a DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster) and part of the Leadership Track to take you there includes doing a HPL (High Performance Leadership) Project.  After a lot of thought I decided what I wanted to do and put my guidance committee together and I gave the introduction speech for my HPL project at Word Weavers on 26 March.  The guidelines for the HPL introduction speech indicate that you should share your vision and mission with the club.  The speech is kind of a kick-off of your project within your club. In my case I also wanted to encourage the members of my club to join me on the project, so that they will take an active part in my project. During the project phase I will put a team together and we’ll determine the details of what will be done during the project as well as the timing of the project activities. I’ll have further meetings with my Guidance Committee where I’ll review the project planning, status and how things are going.  At the end of the project I will give a speech with a lessons learned about the project. What follows is based on the text of the speech I delivered. I’ve left in some detail that I had to cut for time purposes from the speech I delivered. 



Fellow Word Weavers, Mr/Madame Toastmaster, honored guests.  At a meeting in January, Norbert said something that really stuck in my mind and that was that he didn’t like the way things were today and would like to be able to turn back the clock 20 to 30 years.  While, people fondly look back at the good old days, I know that I’m guilty of this, I’m here to propose something different today. I’d like to bring Word Weavers out of the Stone Age and into the Digital Age.

About the HPL

“As populations increase and cultures and people become increasingly diverse, more issues – and more problems -- face us than ever before… Many of the critical issues and problems today are the kind government is least equipped to handle… This is why the world needs strong, competent leaders now more than ever before. Progress can only happen when someone assumes a leadership role – when someone decides there is a problem, a need or an injustice, and takes action to solve the problem, fulfill the need or correct the injustice.“ (this statement comes out of the HPL manual)

Toastmasters has recognized the need to develop leaders and the HPL (High Performance Leadership) project is a product of this recognition. Gandi, Martin Luther King Jr, and Mother Teresa are all unconventional leaders who were able to accomplish great things without the traditional political authority that we’re used to seeing in historical leaders. What we’re going to do won’t be spoken of in the same breathe as these great figures but it is something that will help Word Weavers to grow and to prepare for the future.

Vision & Mission Statement


To bring Word Weavers from the Stone Age into the Digital Age.


Word Weavers, Toastmasters of Wiesbaden, will become commonly known throughout the Wiesbaden/Mainz area to adult residents of all ages. Potential visitors will be able to find us relatively easily within popular search engines and social media sites. We’ll expand the Digital Footprint of Word Weavers.

People Google everything today, so Word Weavers needs to be found on Google.  Google changes their search formula all the time. In fact there are people that are paid tons of money to try to figure it out. But I’ve noticed that there is more and more of a focus on social media in their rankings.  If you Google someone you’ll like find a Facebook entry and a LinkedIn entry and other social media sites in the top returns.


You have probably all heard that Facebook has over 1 billion users and if it were a country it would be the 3rd largest in the world. It is easy to get lost in statistics and forget about all the people.  Boiled done, Social Media is people sharing things socially, with family, friends, colleagues, and so on. I’d like to share 3 stories with about Social Media with you now.

You might have heard about the Pink Tutu project.  In order to cheer up his wife who was being treated for cancer, Bob Carey, started taking pictures of himself running around in a pink tutu.  The video of their story on YouTube has over 2 million views and Deutsch Telekom has been promoting their story.  Bob Carey not only cheered up his wife and the other women that were being treated for cancer with her, but his story has raised cancer awareness and tells us how Social Media can spread the word and connect with people all over the world.

Facebook was doing lookback videos earlier this year. They showed when users joined, popular pictures and status updates made by the user and many of them were very touching. John Berlin, desperately wanted to see the video for his son that had recently died.  He launched a campaign to do this and I found it on Facebook via a radio station that I listened to back in Detroit. This campaign got the attention of Facebook and he got to see the lookback video for his son. John Berlin showed us that it is possible to get a company to listen to us and he was able to tap into the feelings of parents and non-parents who would want to be able to do the same thing if we lost a child. 

Some of you will remember that I did a speech about the presentation site SlideShare, there were maybe twentysome people there when I gave it.  I also did a workshop for business English teachers in Frankfurt with twentysome people present. I put both presentations on SlideShare and both presentations have been viewed by more than 1000 people.  I love the idea that I can give a speech or presentation one time, that it can be viewed by people all over the world that weren’t there when I gave it. We all want our speeches to be heard and to make an impact. Since setting up my profile on SlideShare, over 26,000 people have viewed my presentations. With Social Media you can put something online or share something where a lot of people look at it in a short period of time or that people can look at over a long period of time after it was initially posted or shared, the best outcome is of course to have a good combination of both.

What we’ll do during the project
·        Update our website to attract more visitors and keep them coming back
·        Establish profiles on popular social media sites
·        Post regular updates where we have profiles

Each and every one of you is doing amazing things. When I look around and I see the growth that all of you have made from speech to speech, this same possibility for growth can and should be our gift to the world.  We don’t want Word Weavers and Toastmasters to be a secret. Toastmasters is re-engineering their educational program to better meet the needs of members and potential members. They’re working to make sure that Toastmasters stays relevant and we can do this via this project And we can let the world know about some of the great things that are happening. This is not just my HPL, it is really an HPL for the club.

Hillary Clinton once said that it takes a village to raise a child, well, Word Weavers is like our own child, it takes everyone to be a successful club. 

Join me in our HPL, there is room for everyone!
  • You’ll learn how Social Media can help Word Weavers to grow and thrive
  • You’ll have fun
  • You’ll be a part of a great team
  • And,You don’t need to know anything about Social Media to start.
I’ll be talking to all of you about what role you will play. 

Together we can bring Word Weavers out of the Stone Age and into the Digital Age.

The Word Weavers website can be found at:
Our Facebook Page is at:
We have a Flickr group at:

Feel free to follow along as my HPL project unfolds. I will share a lot of my experience and I hope that other clubs can benefit from my experiences.

Note:  I created the graphic above based on using the quote from the HPL Manual.  I believe it is a very powerful statement. 
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