Why Organization's Fail

Organization failure begins at the top. Rotary did not stop growing because people were not interested in joining local Rotary clubs. The number of people joining Rotary clubs proves that. It stopped growing because its leaders assumed it was in the business of supplying humanitarian services rather than in the business of creating Rotarians; they were product oriented instead of member oriented.

Red Text Note

==============Red text has a link to a previous Rotatorial or referenced document.==============

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Rotary's Membership Development Plan Made Easy

WHY DO PEOPLE JOIN LOCAL ROTARY CLUBS?  Members are clubs' customers!  They believe membership will satisfy a needed utility that usually involves developing relationships for personal and/or business reasons.  
WHY DO ROTARIANS REMAIN IN LOCAL ROTARY CLUBS?  Rotarians are clubs' customers! Membership continues to satisfy personal and/or business utilities, which usually change over time.
WHY DO ROTARIANS NOT RENEW THEIR MEMBERSHIPS IN LOCAL ROTARY CLUBS? (other than health or relocating.)  Rotarians are clubs' customers!  Those who do not renew choose this action because membership no longer satisfies one or more of their personal and/or business utilities.
WHAT IS THE MOST ACCURATE METHOD OF MEASURING THE ROTARY NETWORK'S EFFECTIVENESS AT SATISFYING ROTARIANS' UTILITIES?  Like any business, first is the percentage of Rotarians that renew their membership, i.e. their Retention Rate.  Next is the number of new people that join clubs during the time period, expressed as a percentage, i.e. their Growth Rate.  When combined, these rates become their Retention Growth Index (RGI).  The RGI measure of success not only applies to clubs, it also applies to districts, zones, regions, and Rotary International itself.
     Once everyone understands that RGIs are the only accurate measures of how effective Rotary International (RI) and its member clubs are at advancing the Object of Rotary, then, like any successful business, leaders from clubs to the RI president, including RI's professional staff, should be continually searching for answers to these simple questions:
                        How can we improve our Retention Rate?
                        How can we improve our Growth Rate? 
            RI and its administrative divisions
                        Where should we be chartering new clubs?            
                        How can we help clubs improve their Retention Rates?
                        How can we help clubs improve their Growth Rates?

ROTARIANS ARE INTELLIGENT PEOPLE.  If asked these simple questions, they will pursue answers because they believe that 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Only One (1) of Rotary's Twelve Zones in North America Increased Membership!

In 2015-16, Zone 34, for the second year in a row, increased membership, the only North American zone to do so.  For more information, contact Zone 34 Coordinator Art MacQueen by clicking on this link.

Unfortunately, North America was down by 4,273 members. Reasons abound, but without doubt, one is inconsistent messaging - verbal and non-verbal - from Rotary International (RI) and its subsidiary, The Rotary Foundation (TRF).  Inconsistent messaging penetrates and affects the entire Rotary network and is the prime reason the communication element of Rotary's Membership Development Report Card continues to earn the lowest score.    
     Thankfully, RI and TRF leaders have addressed the root cause of its inconsistent messaging - lack of consensual priority. RI has re-established membership development as its operational priority and created a standing membership development committee.  Equally important is that RI and TRF have agreed that both must concentrate on enhancing Rotarians' experiences. The Rotary network, naturally constructed by Rotarians advancing the Object of Rotary, could easily be used to accomplish this if more Rotarians, leaders and followers, exercised effective networking skills.  In Million Dollar Networking, Rotarian Andrea Nierenberg explains that to successfully network, one should first give something of value.  For all Rotarians that would be sincere personal interest and time.   
      For example, RI maintains and continually improves membership information on clubs, districts, and zones; information that is available on Rotary Club Central.  This is super, but it does not enhance the Rotary experience; only Rotarians can do that.  Patrick Lencioni, in The Advantage,Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else, clearly points out that, in any organization, people are often in the dark even though newsletters, magazines and broad-brush emails flood in, they have access to interactive web sites and attend overly produced meetings with impressive PowerPoints, talking heads, and reams of paper (whew)!  What people need but do not get is consistent, authentic, relevant, and prioritized person-to-person, eyeball-to-eyeball, word-of-mouth communication from their leaders. Imagine the perception, reward, recognition and shared real-time information if Rotary's leaders lead the way and at least twice a year:
  • RI presidents downloaded RI's Zone membership data and reviewed it eyeball-to-eyeball with each Director and Coordinator.
  • Directors and Coordinators downloaded RI's district membership data and reviewed it eyeball-to-eyeball with each District Governor and Membership chair.
  • District Governors and Membership chairs downloaded RI's club membership data and reviewed it eyeball-to-eyeball with each club. At the same time they could help clubs enhance members' Rotary experience by suggesting that: 
    • sponsors make a point to meet several times socially with the members they have sponsored, particularly during their first two years of membership, and 
    • they be more attentive to members' desires, particularly marginal members, which would minimize semi-annual report purging and improve existing member retention rates.

Does this type of leadership take personal interest and time?  Of course, but it also takes full advantage of the Rotary network while putting an exclamation point on the importance of membership while delivering Rotary's value proposition and enhancing the membership experience.  After all, the power of the Rotary network lies in having strong local clubs because

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


"You volunteered helping some people in your community.  Good for you, but who were you helping by posting what you did on your Facebook page?"  Recent Facebook post.

    Many service organizations (libraries, hospitals, museums, food banks, churches, etc.) keep track of volunteer hours.  In most cases the information is used to place a value on the volunteers' service.  This value in turn can be beneficial when it comes to applying for grants and exhibiting the volunteer-hour value to organizations' Boards of Directors and potential donors.  If properly handled, it can be used to amplify how volunteers help organizations impact communities.  For Rotary clubs, volunteer hours should be considered when determining the value of projects and activities.  But Rotary International (RI) and its member clubs can get themselves mired in the Volunteer Hour Quagmire if the information is improperly used in public information and relations.  
    Think about it.  The Rotary network is a member-driven organization; not a service-driven organization.  The sole purpose of RI and its member clubs is to create Rotarians who will continue to advance the Object of Rotary.  With this in clear view, care must be taken when publicizing the number of volunteer hours clubs or RI expend because it may not communicate Rotary's value proposition to its prime markets - existing and potential Rotarians.  Consider that, for decades, Rotary leaders worshiped the mantra, "When polio is eradicated, people will line up to join Rotary clubs."  Polio has been gone in all but four countries for many years, and now only remains in two countries.  But those line-ups never occurred!  Why?  Because Rotary is not what Rotary does, it is Who Rotarians Are; people of all genders, generations, and ethnicities who have adopted the ideal of service in their personal, business, and community lives.

    Rotary will continue to make the world better, providing it wisely pursues its purpose and objective.  In doing so, it must strive to deliver an enhanced value proposition to clubs and Rotarians, not just in August, but all year long, forever and a day, because

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Rotary's Membership Winds

In May 2003, the Rotary International (RI) Board of Directors made Decision 324 that became RI's Code of Policies Section 26.120, "Membership Statistics:  The development and continuation of activities and programs addressing membership must remain the association's highest priority.  The association and its clubs must remain focused on all aspects of membership."  Unfortunately this decision didn't stir enough wind to get the Good Ship Rotary out of the membership doldrums where it had been stalled for over a decade.  Then, in 2011 Director John Smarge created a sudden tropical storm with his International Assembly address.  Unfortunately corporate inbreeding, lack of common business sense, and a 2012 RI non-verbal action that telegraphed RI's priority throughout the Rotary network quelled the membership winds and the Good Ship remained in the doldrums.  But Director Smarge's tropical storm did stimulate some critical thinking by all aboard.
            Finally, in 2015 favorable membership winds began to blow.  The Good Ship's sails ballooned, filling the crew and its leaders with energy and enthusiasm.  President Ravi established RI's first membership retention goal, and the Good Ship's officers established membership development as RI's operational priority.  In 2016, membership trade winds grew, and the Good Ship trimmed for smooth sailing.  President Germ eliminated interim membership deadlines, and the Council on Legislation, acting on the officers' recommendation, created a standing membership admiralty and charged them with keeping the Good Ship out of the doldrums.  All excellent signs, but the Good Ship can only navigate through the gauntlet of personal and corporate projects, programs, attributes and personal mindsets if RI continually communicates - in words and deeds - the importance of staying on course.  Otherwise, the Good Ship could find itself back in the doldrums.

 Okay.  So much for the amateurish imagery.  In reality, it will take more than words on paper or in media for RI to continually create Rotarians. The lack of effective communication following the Board's 2003 decision vividly proves this, proof supported by RI's 2012 non-verbal this-is-our-priority action.  Rotary has designated August as Membership Month.  Nice archaic gesture, but it can be problematic.  Communicating RI's purpose and objective must be professionally, gently, and consistently communicated all year long, forever and a day.  Otherwise, RI and its member clubs will again find themselves struggling for members - and the dues they pay.
     RI's only purpose is to create Rotarians and support them as they create and utilize RI attributes to advance the Object of Rotary.  RI's strategic plan must reflect this reality by establishing attainable visions regarding chartering and supporting clubs in their endeavors to create Rotarians simply because