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Lessons From the Top

What Made the Difference in Achieving
Your Critical Success Factors?
President's Distinguished Districts 1998-99

District 51, Adeline Leong, DTM, #1 in the World
President's Extension Award #2 in the World
Excellence in Leadership Award, 3 or more Consecutive Years as a Distinguished District

   In D51, we set a vision for our District to attain the No. 1 position.
We set high but achievable goals. For number of new clubs, our goal was 60 and we reached 45 new clubs. As for CTMs, our goal was 500 and we achieved 508 CTMs. For ATMs the goal was 200 and we reached 198 ATMs. The District Officers and Club Presidents worked hard as a consolidated team. I had a theme song which had the same tune as the famous World Cup song and it goes like this: Go! Go! Go! We will be No. 1! (Instead of Go! Go! Go! Ale! Ale! Ale!). That was very inspiring and we continue to sing it after reaching the TOP position. The email worked in our favor as we are a District covering 5 countries. I sent a motivational and encouraging message once a month and a circular every month reminding every Toastmaster of our goals, keeping track of our progress and what to do next. Every single email is replied to with appreciation.

My theme was C.A.R.E. to make a difference! The C stands for Convince, A for Ability, R for Reach Out, E for Enthusiasm. Put together it means, Convince yourself of your Ability and Reach out with Enthusiasm! If every member pulls in a new member, he/she would have cared to make a difference to that new member. If every member makes a speech, he/she would not only have made difference to himself/herself but to his/her club as well. If every club sponsors a new club, that club would have made a difference to the Area, Division and District!

District 75, Christine Temblique, DTM, #2 in the World
President's Extension Award #1 in the World
Excellence in Leadership Award, 3 or more Consecutive Years as a Distinguished District

   The only factors I can definitely claim that made a difference in my term are constant follow-up, sincerity in dealing with the members and leadership by example for District Officers. In our Asian culture, the personal touch is very important for everyone especially for members. Another is the right choice of people to lead any group.

District 48, Paul Puckett, DTM, #3 in the World
   Act on the paperwork! The paperwork is overwhelming if you don't keep it organized. I created 90 folders of categories. We had 35 Chairs, ranging from Nominations and Youth Leadership to Club Quality, Membership, Club Building, New DCP, Leadership, and Education. My father is a Past District Governor. When he was Governor, he always felt it was a mistake to forget about the PDGs. Many of my Chairs were PDGs. They didn't interfere, it was never a problem. We had a lot of fun. One PDG was good at calculating points and provided that information for us. Use reports to tell Area and Divisions Governors where they are. The Lt. Governor of Marketing was super and enthusiastic. Get the clubs in early.

District 46, Pam Keyzer, DTM, #4 in the World
President's Extension Award #3 in the World

   You have to care. Don't ask your team to do something that you wouldn't do yourself. World Headquarters' messages hit home: "Stay Focused, Complain Up, Stick to the Work, Don't Get Distracted." Your year as Governor goes so fast, don't waste a single moment on nonsense! Respect your volunteer leaders. Schedule time for creative thinking about Toastmasters. Make time for this, it's the fun stuff and it will recharge you! You can't do it alone, you'll get exhausted if you try. Don't be afraid to ask for help. International Director Fran Gedra, DTM, IPDG Jim Samuel, DTM, SDD and World Headquarters listened and gave great advice. Our Lt. Governor of Marketing, Rose Martino-Gerhard, DTM did an incredible job in club building and retention. Her team approach was creative and fun. I am so proud of our District. Be open to new ideas and continue great ideas that work. Go to the District track workshops at the International Convention.

Keep your eyes on the numbers. If you're near the bottom, take action to turn it around. Don't let the projections discourage you. The reports never showed District 46 making our CTM goal. We were at the bottom at the start of 98-99. You have to trust your team and believe in your team.

District 15, Emma Lois Smith, DTM, #5 in the World
   Follow the book. Read the District Leadership Handbook. Don't deviate too far. Don't try to bend the rules. The Handbook tells you what you have to do to be Distinguished,
Select Distinguished, and President's Distinguished.
Keep Your Word and Say Thank You. Know what you have promised. Make sure you follow-up. Say thank you constantly. Say thank you for your CTM. Say thank you for your ATM. Say thank you for your effort. Being District Governor is like being on a Merry Go Round or Roller Coaster. You'll experience the highest high and the lowest low. Cling to it and hold on for dear life! If you don't shoot for the moon and the stars, you'll end up shooting at the barn door. Set your goals so high that everyone will say ahhhh!!!! President's Distinguished District is not mere chance. I was the Cheerleader of the District. The feeling was the Governor says we can, so let's do it!

District 68, Ann Campbell, DTM, #6 in the World
   It was fun! Stay focused no matter what. Delegate the job and make sure you don't take it back. Get a progress report. President's Distinguished doesn't happen by accident. We were blessed with CTMs and ATMs. We set the goal for February, and made it by March. One idea was to offer speaking opportunities every other Sunday night from 6-9 pm. We started this in September and October. We asked clubs to tell their members and followed up with calls to clubs. We kept track of our CTM and ATM speakers with a computerized list. We made sure every club was paid. It's dedication personified. Don't put your problems on the street. The District always saw a highly successful, enthusiastic, fun, achieving, moving forward group that they wanted to be part of.

I did not miss Area Contests. When I walked in, I said to DTMs and old time members, "You didn't turn in a CTM in this year or last year and you're giving speeches." I had blank CTM applications with me. I asked for commitments for CTMs and ATMs and a fellow Toastmaster wrote the names down. Recognize every CTM, ATM, CL, AL. Bring them up front. It's an opportunity. They buy in because they like you. My goal at contests was also to get a commitment for dues payment. I asked, "Who's here?" (from the unpaid clubs). We had two District banners: "District 68 A President's Distinguished District is Realizing Our Dreams" and "Let's Blow Chicago Away."

Prepare in advance for the DG year. I called the PDGs for a private meeting and they said what they could do to help. The PDGs were there for me and went to bat by organizing a club or two. We also had an Area Governor contest. If you held 1 demo in your Area, you received a free fall conference registration. Two demos earned a free Spring conference registration. For 3, there was special recognition. If you held 4, you got a steak dinner cooked by the Top 3! What we do in Toastmasters changes lives.
It's Dedication, Dedication, Dedication...Focus, Focus, Focus...and Fun, Fun, Fun.

Select Distinguished Districts 1998-99

District 45, Jim Kokocki, DTM, #7 in the World
   Focus on what's important: the 4 Critical Success Factors.
We focused on them early in the year. Establishing a routine discipline and focus kept us pointed in the right direction. For example, the Top 3 held conference calls once a month after the results came out. The results were number 1 on the agenda. Bang, the starting point was where we stand. We got people to start clubs and it's continuing. The District team spring boarded the effort by starting some advanced clubs. Show the way. Show that this is neat and fun. Lead by example.

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Lessons from the Top Compiled by Pam Keyzer, DTM
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