CityVP Manjit

5 years ago · 3 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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Accountability as an Education

Daniel our Club President asked me my views on accountability.  At Toastmasters when we give a speech, all speeches are the opinion of the speaker.  When we give feedback all evaluations are the opinion of the evaluator.  Objectives are provided for speakers and if they adhere to them they are helping their own education but Toastmasters is not a pass/fail system. 

One can collect recognition and rewards at Toastmasters but they are incidental to education, the purpose of these recognition and rewards is esteem based, and this recognition of serving as well as protecting the esteem of a member is a core part of Toastmasters values a.k.a.

Respect, Integrity, Service and Excellence - many Toastmasters write it this way for R.I.S.E. 

When we study the accountability framework of roles, we need to remember accountability as an educational purpose, that starts with creating a safe learning space, that is a learning laboratory for its members - this membership is not a public membership, all Toastmasters clubs are chartered under an educational mandate.  Toastmasters is not a community service organization such as Lions or Rotrary and it does not engage in fundraisers.

Taking the role of Club President - Toastmasters International have not made accountability a minefield at the level of club executive roles : Achieving Success as a President

When we look at the "Achieving Success" document there is a very simple accountability statement for a club president and that simplicity makes the role more clear.  When it comes to governance of clubs, Toastmasters uses Roberts Rules of Order.  This is further embedded in a club constitution and governance documents provided to each club when they have chartered.

For now it would be appropriate to stick to accountability as an education because the subject of accountability is very extensive.  Thoughts about accountability also do evolve based on advances and developments in the world of work.   While clubs are organized within Districts that have a hierarchical structure, if we examine the educational nature of how roles and learning objectives operate,  we actually discover that Toastmasters founder Ralph Smedley established peer-to-peer learning relationships and some of this is covered in the opening paragraph. 

Before we consider the hierarchical structure of the Districts, it is very profound to know that well before P2P fostered cutting edge talk about the collaborative economy. A peer-to-peer collaborative system is what made all Toastmasters club the educational experience they are today between members.  Community clubs and nearly all non-technology based corporate clubs are not particularly interested in the parallels of today's collaborative economy and the actual power of collaboration that Ralph Smedley designed at the club level.

In order to fully understand accountability as an education, one needs to know that there is a difference between accountability and personal responsibilities, and that science based accountability is different from traditional accountability - the difference being that bias is removed such as viewing accountability as a top-down relationship and understanding the dyadic nature of accountability as a fact based relationship, which is too detailed to go into and also touches on proprietary information that is the intellectual property of my own business partners and as such I cannot discuss those here nor do they fit a part of my learning journey.

There is plenty to chew on now simply at the level of accountability as an education, without venturing into how accountability differs in a traditional hierarchical system or a how it differs in newer forms of organizational design such as Holocracy.  Indeed the pace of these developments and innovations are a part of an accelerated change that colleges bound by curriculum find most difficult to keep up with and hence the rise of massive online open courses (or MOOC's).  It suffice to say that the modern student might list her/his membership education with a Toastmasters club on his resume or her/his completion of a MOOC. 

So my advice to Daniel when it comes to accountability is not to get caught up in traditional conceptions of command and control but begin looking at accountability as an education.  This way, the discussions with club members and the executive will be to the benefit of our club members, for under our twin charter of Toastmasters and also Student Club Charter - this is will drive the educational experience up several notches - indeed I have yet to talk about the best kept secret of the Toastmasters leadership program - and I will discuss that a future time.

As for now, the spirit that should be singing in our fellow members heart is the one that Sam Cook sang and which fits neatly with all that relates to accountability as an education :


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CityVP Manjit

5 years ago #2

In response to Franci's comment c#1 - every Toastmasters club is unique in its culture and make up. If your co-workers raved about it, it probably means that the club they were a part of had a great executive team and bright members. It is all dependent on contribution i.e. what we put in is what we get out. Where Toastmasters does excel across the board is for people whose learning goals are to develop confidence - and most clubs who respect the principle of creating a safe space do end up helping members growth. Newly formed clubs might struggle at first but if they are provided a good club mentor, these values are maintained.

CityVP Manjit

5 years ago #1

In response to Franci'#1

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