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.==============

Monday, January 1, 2018

Are Rotary's "Leaders" Leading?

In July 2015, Retention Central asked if Rotary’s leaders were leading or managing?  In the history of organizations, the difference is subtle but significant.  Rotary International’s only purpose is to sustain itself.  It does not exist to reach a specific goal.  Leaders reach for growth – individual and organizational - because growth stimulates and helps achieve goals.  Managers reach for goals.

     We are entering 2018, a new calendar year, halfway through RI’s fiscal year.  It appears that RI’s senior and staff leaders, who I affectionately refer to as young lions and lionesses, have breached the managing mentality, a breach initiated by Past RI Presidents Ravindran and Germ.  They discarded the ‘membership goal by an interim cutoff date’ which fostered the ‘my year’ management mentality.  Rotary leaders up and down the Rotary network prioritized ‘my year’ performances, which severely limited any visions of what the future may hold.  Because of the ‘my year’ mentality, minimum resources were dedicated to what kept RI operating – income from dues paying Rotarians and related metrics. 
     Most of RI's present senior and staff leaders now understand that RI is not in the service business, but is in the member business.  They realize that what is accomplished in the name of Rotary – past, present, and future – is the result of Who Rotarians Were, Are, and Will Be.  This is a major revelation that will have a substantial effect on its future, which is shining brighter.  To stay on course, RI must continually develop and analyze critical metrics because they will reflect the results of attitudes and initiatives that affect its most important income source – Rotary clubs and Rotarians.
   The most important metric, of course, is how many Rotarians are renewing their membership – RI’s Retention Rate.  To improve this critical metric, RI must encourage its administrative districts and their clubs to segment their populations and concentrate on the psychometrics of Who They Attract. To help clubs and districts, RI must continually refine and publish its membership metrics.  While metrics can help identify problem areas, only people can analyze, dissect, and solve problems.  For example, lower than normal Retention Rates dilutes the value of being a Rotarian, degrades Rotary’s public image, and destroys it brand.  At RI, naturally defining what is ‘normal’ means, among other things, the necessity to study regional Retention and Attraction Rates to determine what is ‘normal.’  When clubs and districts drop below 'normal' then people at district and club levels can be alerted, investigate, and hopefully solve the problems they identify.
     With eyes on RI’s future, it is rebranding itself as an organization organized by and for People of Action.  This initiative will be successful only when RI and its leaders demonstrate that they are People of Action who prioritize, recognize, and celebrate results.  All Rotary leaders should be encouraged to adopt this basic leadership philosophy from WALKTHETALK.com:

What gets celebrated,
Gets repeated.
What gets recognized,
Gets reinforced.
What gets reinforced,
Gets Repeated.
Considering recent happenings, it appears that RI’s senior Rotary and staff leaders are leading instead of managing; are thinking long-term instead of ‘my year’ or ‘my term.’ To solidify this opinion, improvements in membership development results must be recognized and celebrated as the most important accomplishment of any zone, district, or club.  To accomplish this, RI must serve each entity with simple and understandable meaningful metrics, which should be their Retention and Attraction Rates – their RG Indexes.  

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Preparing a Rotary Strategic Plan

The red text is linked to the Rotatorial that discusses the topic.

To create an effective strategic plan, organizations must know the reasons they exist; their Purpose and Objective.  Does Rotary International?  Does your district?  Does your club?

To survive over the long haul, organizations should have a Differentiating Identity.  Does Rotary International?  Does your district?  Does your club?

Successful organizations have healthy Cultures.  Does Rotary International?  Does your district? Does your club?

Successful organizations project a clear Image.  Does Rotary International?  Does your district? Does your club?

And should strategic plans center on Achieving Outcomes or Feeding the Elephant?

Unless something unusual comes up, this will be the last post on Retention Central until 2018.  Enjoy the holiday season while remembering that

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Rotary's Image

Rotary and Strategic Plans - Part IV of IV Parts

The image (reputation) of Rotary International (RI) is a fundamental instrument in influencing how Rotarians and non-Rotarians view Rotary. RI's image is a valuable component of its differentiating identity. The image cannot be blurry because it is defined by those who view Rotary from outside of the association.  Rotary's image:
·  attracts groups of people who may be interested in becoming association members,
· stimulates the attention of people who may become members of local clubs,
·     influences RI's image in competitive markets and cooperative endeavors,
·     attracts people to become club, district, zone, and international leaders,
·     arouses the interest of people who may wish to be employees of RI,
·     helps retain employees and member clubs, and/or
RI's People of Action campaign could be a major factor in whether or not RI goes up or down in its core business.  Extreme care must be taken in how the campaign is received in the social fabrics of core supporters because the phrase People of Action can imply that Rotarians are:
·  people who act without thinking,
·  people who act without discussing and/or thinking through the pros and cons,
·  people who are willing to try to solve any major issue that comes along, or
·  judgmental and believe that only Rotarians are People of Action.
     RI's strategic plan should consider all of these issues because RI's future depends on (1) RI actually delivering a differentiating identity, (2) when it begins actively promoting the People of Action campaign, and (3) how the campaign is received by its core supporters. RI leaders, communications specialists, and public image coordinators must realize that communication occurs only when those who receive the message understand and believe it.  If RI proves itself capable of delivering a differentiating identity to its member clubs then properly promotes its People of Action campaign, its reputation should soar.  HOWEVER, even if the People of Action campaign projects the desired message throughout the network, but RI fails to deliver its differentiating image to core supporters, its reputation will slide downhill faster than an avalanche.
This is the fourth and final segment of Retention Central's Rotatorials on developing a strategic plan.  Perhaps it has helped readers understand that creating or updating a strategic plan for a legacy international organization like RI is an important, time consuming, and complicated task.  If clubs, districts, or zones are creating or updating strategic plans, the same fundamental principles will apply.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Rotary's Culture

Rotary and Strategic Plans - Part III of IV Parts

Every organization, be it a large multinational, small business, or local social club has a culture which plays an important part in its operations.  Rotary International (RI) headquarters in Evanston has its culture.  Each regional RI office has its culture.  Each of RI's 17 zones and over 530 administrative districts has its culture as does ever one of RI's over 35,000 member clubs.  And every one of these entities have sub-cultures.
     RI is revising its Strategic Plan.  If someone wanted to stall the plan, all they have to do is insist on pinpointing and addressing each ingredient of RI's culture.  Some "experts" say that an organization's culture contributes to its overall health.  Some "experts" say it reflects the organization's health.  More "experts" say that an organization's culture represents the collective values, beliefs and principles of the organization's members.  Still even more say that a corporate culture is a product of the organization's history, leadership, employees, members, and the social fabric in which it operates.  Other "experts" add to the mix that an organization's culture reflects, or is reflected by, its market, strategy, employees, customers, supporters, and management style.  Still others add that an organization's culture includes its vision, values, norms, systems, symbols, language, assumptions, environment, location, beliefs, and habits. 

  Confused?  Join the crowd. After doing much research, it appears that successful organizations, those said to have strong and healthy corporate cultures, have three commonalities: (not necessarily in priority)
·       a corporate purpose,
·       a differentiating identity
    These commonalities might make someone believe that identifying and addressing RI's culture would be simple.  It doesn't, but, let's get serious: Who really cares about trying to define a corporate culture as long as each of its components thrives?  If each component thrives, then the whole thrives. And all components should thrive if they pursue a common corporate purpose, deliver its differentiating identity, and sustain a continuum in leadership that understands and promotes these commonalities.  And this clearly points out why, with its multitude of components, cultures, and sub-cultures, the only true measure of success that is fair to all concerned and supports RI's purpose and objective is the ability of each club, district, and zone to develop Rotarians - regardless of their gender, generation, or ethnicity.  Success in developing Rotarians will breed strong, healthy cultures throughout.  Any measures or goals that any Rotary leader anywhere in the network communicates verbally or non-verbally that is even close to appearing equal in priority to developing Rotarians will be a diversion that could have long-term, negative affects.

We should hope that RI's strategic plan will address the importance of consistently acknowledging and recognizing successes in retaining and attracting People of Action.  To do so, the strategic plan should be clear on RI's purpose and objective, the means of delivering its corporate identity, and fostering leadership consistency through communication, education, and training.  This would make it much easier for RI to project unifying images, which will be addressed in Part IV of this strategic planning series.