An MtM Book Review

An MtM Book Review

Much-Heralded Fast-Start Leader’s Guide
Is Hot Off the STC Florida Chapter Press!

By: Dan Voss, STC Fellow and Education Committee Manager

“This guide isn’t like any leadership publication you’ve ever read. While most publications, such as STC’s informative Community Handbook, focus on the details of running a community, the Fast-Start Leader’s Guide is more philosophical in nature. It addresses ways of thinking, not ways of doing, that have proven to be very successful over a long period of time—the why’s rather than the what’s and the how-to’s.”                            –Mike Murray, STC Fellow and author, Fast-Start Leader’s Guide


Author Mike Murray explains the FSLG house metaphor to Rising Star Bethany Aguad.
Photo by Dan Voss


The long-awaited Fast-Start Leader’s Guide, or FSLG, authored by Mike Murray, has been officially published under the copyright of the STC Florida Chapter.

You will find this remarkable work under the Leadership Development Program on our website. The above link takes you directly to it.

Why is the Guide so remarkable?

Read on.

Several years ago, a veteran STC Florida Chapter leader by the name of Mike Murray served as three-time president of what was then the Orlando Chapter. He led our community to the first three of nine Chapter of Distinction Awards and took on a new challenge as a member of the Society’s elected Board of Directors.

Already well known for his exceptional leadership ability, which represents a unique blend of strategic thinking and practical implementation, as a member of the Board of Directors, Mike undertook the project of developing a “guidebook” to help STC leaders form, build, and sustain their communities.



That was not all Mike did as a Society director, but it was probably his most important assignment.

Unfortunately, Mike was overcome by health problems that forced him to end his tenure on the STC Board prematurely and to shelve the project on the leadership guidebook.

There it remained as Mike battled a series of medical issues, including progressive Parkinson’s disease. These health setbacks were quite draining, and Mike devoted his remaining energy to supporting the Orlando Chapter. The half-finished leadership guide continued to languish on the shelf.

But when Mike learned last summer that the chapter’s Education Committee had been asked by Chapter President Alex Garcia to form a Leadership Development Program (LDP) (see separate article in this edition of MtM), Mike knew it was time to take the unfinished leadership guide “off the shelf,” dust it off, and finish it.

And finished now it is.

With editorial assistance from fellow STC Fellows W.C. Wiese, Karen Lane, and Dan Voss as well as Memo to Members editor Nick Ducharme, Mike has completed a landmark work that will serve STC community leaders for years to come.

It should be required reading not only for STC community leaders, but also leaders of other non-profit organizations that depend primarily on volunteer labor for their very existence. Mike’s ability to assemble and motivate a team of dedicated volunteers is unequaled.

This book tells how he did it—and still does it.

The Fast-Start Leader’s Guide is relatively brief and to the point (36 pages), but it covers a lot of territory. Written in Mike’s expressive but down-to-earth/person-to-person style, this eminently readable work truly is a “page turner”—but don’t let that fool you. The Guide is founded upon sound, proven leadership strategies, and it includes practical tactical implementation plans for those strategies.

The book is framed by the metaphor of building a house. Its three sections are entitled “The Foundation,” “The Walls,” and “The Roof.” The idea is for leaders of new or rebuilding organizations to focus first on the basics and build from there—just as Mike did in leading the Orlando Chapter from a low ebb to a three-time Chapter of Distinction.

Actually, as Mike’s immediate predecessor in the presidency who inherited a faltering organization that had stumbled through lean times after hosting the STC international conference in Y2K, W.C. Wiese had already started rebuilding the community’s Foundation through wise and strategic use of limited volunteer resources. Mike solidified the Foundation and drew in additional volunteer resources to build the Walls and then the Roof.

At the very first chapter meeting Mike hosted, in his sonorous public announcer’s voice, he welcomed a small but enthusiastic audience with the words, “Welcome to the Orlando Chapter—the fastest growing, most dynamic community in the Society.”

At the time, that was far from the truth. But Mike never blinked. That was his standard introduction to every chapter meeting for the next 3 years.

And 3 years later, as the chapter’s accomplishments grew and the community awards accumulated, it was the truth.

Just how did Mike and the people he led achieve this amazing turn-about?

Read about it in the Fast-Start Leader’s Guide.

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