What are your values?


What do you value most? Is it Integrity, Teamwork, or Best Evaluator Ribbons? The question really speaks to what drives the decisions you make.

When it comes to Club Leadership, the Distinguished Club Program guide has a section within the Club Success Plan (page 15) where the executive team is asked to identify their values. What are those things that drive the decision your team makes?

Specifically, it says this (emphasis is mine), “Toastmasters International’s values are integrity, respect, service, and excellence (sometimes referred to as RISE).  “These values should be incorporated as anchor points in every decision made at all levels within the organization. Toastmasters’ values provide a means of guiding and evaluating the organization’s operations, planning, and envisioned future. What are the club executive committee’s values?”

There is an opportunity here (read: shortcut) to just put in the four core values of Toastmasters and call it good! After all, those values encompass a great many positive attributes and behaviors we all want to see in our leaders and ourselves. We should all just write those four in, and move on, right?

I say no. In fact, here is why you should you resist the urge to copy and paste RISE into that block:

1. You miss the opportunity to discover what your team values most. For example, you may have a team with members that sometimes take on too many tasks. You know, “sure…I can do that” and then things fall through because some team members took on too much. Your team may want to value honestly saying “no” to too much work. Does that technically fall under Integrity? Of course. But if I asked your team to define integrity, how many of them would include honestly saying “no”? Not all of them, I bet.

I’m in one club where many of the officers value Panera Bread. If we scheduled an officer meeting there, it was usually well attended. You could call that value networking, breaking bread or whatever works for you. This could fall under Respect, as in respect for other’s time but again, who in your club would define respect in that specific way?

2. You miss the opportunity to communicate what you value most. Like the examples above, I was in a club with an officer who valued her family time so much so that she didn’t want to do anything outside of the normal daytime work hours. We normally met via phone at lunch time, But if we needed to hold any officer meetings after work, we knew she would not be there.

I value freebies. If you want me to help, I will. If you offer me a T-shirt to help, I’ll show up early and stay late.

3. If it’s that easy (copy and paste) then it probably isn’t leadership. Point blank, if you’re just copy and pasting the RISE values, you probably aren’t discussing and discovering what is important to you and/or your team.

When you have those discussions as a team, you will learn that you value more than just RISE. Things like communication, teamwork and fun (to name a few). Will your values fit somewhere in RISE? I’m sure they will. But if there wasn’t any value in the discussion, there wouldn’t be a block on the Plan, right?


About Rob Christeson

Talk to the Human
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