Monday, December 22, 2014

CC Project #4 - How to say it - Make it theirs

“If an egg is broken by a force outside, life ends. If an egg is broken by the force inside, a new life begins”. During my Division Governorship in Toastmasters, I learned a number of leadership lessons. One of them was “to motivate members”. I thought I had mastered the art of motivation and I can motivate anybody to do anything. My self-confidence became overconfidence, when I thought I can even motivate an unhatched egg and make it fly.

Also read: CC4 - Good to Great (How to Say it)

Good morning Toastmasters and Guests,

Let me take you back to the year 2012… almost 6 months since Chennai Communicators Club sprouted in Velachery. It was a beautiful Sunday evening and the meeting was supposed to start at 3 pm. However, the time was already 3.15 pm and only a few members had come to the meeting. I was nervous and was walking back and forth on the corridor, like a hungry dog. None of the role players were present and 3 guests were already in the meeting hall. I am a man of punctuality and I always wanted to start the meeting at 3 pm … no matter what. But, we had only 3 or 4 members and it is absolutely impossible to run the show with those new members. This was the scene in Chennai Communicators club for nearly 6 months in a row.

I had tried all of my “usual techniques” in the first 6 months… I tried talking about the benefits of starting the meeting on time… I tried to write lengthy inspirational emails about punctuality… I tried commenting about late start time, whenever I played the role of a GE … I tried, I tried, I tried… until I became really tired.

One day, I lost my patience. I called the perpetual late attendees outside of the meeting hall and gave them a real bash. I said “Each week you give a fancy excuse for coming late. I’m coming all the way from Choolaimedu to Velachery for the last 6 months and I’ve never come late even once. If you are signing up for a role, you should be here 15 mins before the meeting. If you can’t come on time, don’t sign-up for a role. Do you think I don’t have any other work to do and I’m coming to CCC meetings just for time pass? With members like you… the quality of the meetings are getting affected. Either come on time or leave the club”. If somebody other than me had done this, I’m sure the club members would’ve deserted the club and left. However, I realized that the members had lot of respect for me. The average age of the Club was just 23 … literally college kids. I believe they might’ve seen me as a passionate professor in the college who wanted his students to learn & grow.
After this incident, I stopped attending CCC meetings a few weeks in a row. I told the club officers that I want to distance myself from the club. I unsubscribed from the club officers’ mailing list. I asked them to approach me only when there is a REAL NEED. I let them conduct the club officers’ executive committee meetings without my presence. I stayed away from the club for nearly a month.

One fine day, I gave a surprise visit to the club. I was at the venue by 2.45 pm. While I thought, I will give them a surprise, I was pleasantly surprised. All the members were at the venue ahead of time… the role players were preparing for their roles. When the clock struck 3, the meeting started … yes, on time. Because the role players were well prepared, the quality of the meeting was also very high. I learned from the club officers that they are starting the meetings regularly for the last 3 weeks in a row.
That is when I learned another technique to motivate members “Making it theirs”. When you make it theirs…they’ll take it to great heights. All along, I have been indirectly passing-on the message to everyone that “CCC is my baby”… so, members & officers didn’t get a sense of ownership.

Whenever I try to motivate & persuade them, they thought “If I don’t do it… Saro will find someone else to do it”. By distancing myself from the day-to-day affairs, I passed on the message that it is YOUR CLUB and YOU DECIDE ITS FATE. That technique worked… Our youngsters have REMARKABLE capability to achieve success. If you can bring the sense of ownership to them, they can even move mountains and walk over the seas. When you MAKE IT THEIRS, THEY’LL TAKE IT TO GREAT HEIGHTS.

Also read: CC4 - Rhetorical Devices (Ideas & Examples)

Fellow Toastmasters, this technique is not only for youngsters. It works well for others too… the next time your kid doesn’t do her homework, the next time your spouse  doesn’t keep the house clean, the next time your team mate doesn’t take work seriously… when you MAKE IT THEIRS, THEY’LL TAKE IT TO GREAT HEIGHTS.

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