High Performance Leadership Part II: Choosing Your Objective

Part two of my series describing my progress through the High Performance Leadership Program

In this part of the program, I need to devise a vision for project, craft a mission statement and identify the core values that will drive the project.  I then need to plan and present a speech describing the project and enlist my audience to support my vision and assist in making it a reality.

As a reminder, my project is to improve meeting attendance and participation

To devise a vision, the instructions are to close my eyes and picture the outcome I would wish for in the project.

The mission statement is a brief, simplified version of the vision which encapsulates the purpose and foundation of the project and further describes the benefits the project will provide.

The core values of the project are a list of beliefs the should determine what types of actions and behaviors will bring about the vision of the project.

The vision of the project is:

Our club meetings will be filled to capacity with members eagerly performing roles and giving speeches that they’ve scheduled ahead of time to move themselves closer to their educational achievements while other members enthusiastically congratulate them for their hard work.

My mission statement is:

My mission is to have members working together to encourage participation, attendance and educational goal-setting so the club and its meetings can become more engaging and vibrant and all members can work towards and achieve educational improvement at a challenging pace.

The core values of the project are:

  • Active members will encourage less active members
  • Every member will have an educational goal
  • All members will recognize the importance of regular attendance and participation

I have made the following plan for my speech:

I will open the speech with an expression of appreciation to the members in attendance.  Then I will describe my vision by phrasing it with “Don’t you wish…” or “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if…”

Next I will read and expand upon my mission statement.

Then I will list and talk about the core values of the project.

Finally, I will conclude by reiterating the vision then say: “I will need dedicated club members to help our club turn this vision into a reality”

I will close by mentioning that I will be reaching out for volunteers and asking that anyone who wants to help can volunteer now or contact me later.

My speech is scheduled in August.

This is where I currently am in the program.  At this point, I’d like to invite all of you, my readers, to join my Guidance Committee and share your advice as I progress through the  program.


Word of the Week Wednesday: adorkable

This Wednesday’s Word of the Week is: adorkable

Adorkable is a portmanteau of the words dork, meaning a nerdy or socially awkward person and adorable.

While this term is usually applied to men, there are rare examples where a woman is also considered adorkable.

A primary female example is any character portrayed by Summer Glau but it’s also been applied to Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Amy Acker as Fred in Angel.  (Maybe it’s a Joss Whedon thing.)

While the word is very much a neologism, I’m quite fond of it.   It conveys quite a bit of information and has a sound to it that fits with its meaning; it’s awkward and cute at the same time.

A short list of men who have been considered adorkable:



David Tennant


Joseph Gordon-Levitt




Justin Bartha

Table Topics Thursday: Topic 16

The topic for this Table Topics Thursday is: What do you want to be remembered for?

I would like to be remembered less for anything I’ve done and more for the type of person I am.

Keeping in mind what I’ve previously mentioned about what I believe to be the limits of self-knowledge, I would hope to be remembered for being smart and funny but more so for being a genuinely kind and helpful person.

Above all, I hope people I love will find happiness remembering me.

I think the very touching Cure song, “Treasure” says it best:

She whispers
“please remember me
When I am gone from here”
She whispers
“please remember me
But not with tears…
Remember I was always true
Remember that I always tried
Remember I loved only you
Remember me and smile…
For it’s better to forget
Than to remember me
And cry”

“remember I was always true
Remember that I always tried
Remember I loved only you
Remember me and smile…
For it’s better to forget
Than to remember me
And cry… “

Of course, I wouldn’t mind being known as the world’s greatest public speaker and a legendary Toastmaster.

Word of the Week Wednesday: widdershins

This Wednesday’s Word of the Week is: widdershins

Widdershins means counter-clockwise or opposite the apparent path of the sun.

In superstition, it is considered an unlucky direction in which to move.

I remember first encountering the word in a book called The Encyclopedia of Superstitions by Richard Webster.

It struck me at the time as quaintly old-fashioned and quasi-mystical (maybe it was the reading material).

More recently, I’ve been reminded of the word when reading Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels.  On the Discworld, which is obviously flat and disc-shaped, direction is related not in North, South, East and West but in Hubwise, Rimwise, Turnwise and Widdershins.

High Performance Leadership Part I: Learning About Leadership

As part of the requirements to achieve my Advanced Leader Silver, I am working through the High Performance Leadership program.

The program is broken out into five parts where I will develop my leadership skills by working to complete a project.  To do this, I have had to recruit a Guidance Committee to help me work through the project.  I meet with this committee at the end of each part.

I’ll describe my progress through the program one post at a time.

Part I of the program is Learning About Leadership.

In this part, I learned the six dimensions of servant leadership, performed a self-assessment of my current leadership skills, came up with a set of potential projects to work on and recruited my Guidance Committee.

After doing all that, I met with my committee to discuss my progress through part one and to solicit their feedback on which project to work on.

The project I chose was to improve meeting attendance and participation.

I chose this project because attendance at our club meetings has been low for quite some time.

I’ve seen this as a big problem in our club that I’ve been trying to improve for a while.  My hope is that, through this project, we’ll be able to reinvigorate our flagging attendance and help our members and club improve.

Word of the Week Wednesday: chagrin

This Wednesday’s Word of the Week is: chagrin.

Chagrin is not a very rarely used word, but I’ve always found it just uncommon enough to be interesting.  As both a noun and a verb, I also find it quite usefully.

As a noun, it refers to a feeling of humiliation or disappointment.  As a verb, it means to cause such feelings.

Used in a sentence for each part of speech:

Noun: “Much to my chagrin, they were completely sold out of Twinkies.”

Verb: “He was chagrined to discover that the appointment he had rushed to was scheduled for the previous day.”

Table Topics Thursday: Topic 15

This Thursday’s Table Topic is: List three countries you’d like to visit, and why you want to go.

Picking three could be a challenge.  But let’s start with the easy one.

My first choice would have to be Ireland.  This is where my mother’s people came from and I’ve always heard great things about it.  I’ve heard that it’s an absolutely beautiful country and I’ve always been proud of my Irish heritage.  I’d love to go there and connect to it.  I might even do some genealogical research during my visit.  I’ve also always loved the sound of a brogue and wouldn’t mind visiting a Toastmasters club there and listen to them speak.

Since the other half of my matrilineal heritage is from England, I wouldn’t mind visiting there since I’d be in the area any way.  I’d do all the touristy things and visit all the historical landmarks.

Not to be too Eurocentric, but for my third visit, I’d probably choose Germany.  While I do have a small bit of German heritage, this trip would be less for genealogy, and more just for sight-seeing.

Now, for full disclosure, I must admit that I’m not much for traveling; I’ve never left the country and the farthest from the East Coast I’ve gone is to St. Louis, so these trips aren’t likely.

But if I did travel, these would probably be the places I’d like to go.

So now it’s your turn: List three countries you’d like to visit, and why you want to go.


Word of the Week Wednesday: gaslight

This Wednesday’s Word of the Week is: gaslight.

Besides referring to a street lamp burning gas as fuel for producing light, it also means to drive someone insane subtly by causing them to question their own sanity.

This meaning comes from the 1944 film noir movie of the same name where Charles Boyer‘s character attempts to do this to Ingrid Bergman‘s character and the previous 1950 film and 1938 stage play.

While undeniably a nasty and vicious thing to try to do to someone else, I find the term for it quaintly Victorian.

I was first exposed to the word in this sense while running a role-playing game using the Ravenloft campaign setting (of Dungeons and Dragons), which is a dark, quasi-Victorian horror setting where they actually provided rules for characters doing this.


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