- What business is Rotary International (RI) in?
- Who is its customer?
- What do its customers value?
- What results does it want?
Only when RI (or any other organization) answers these questions will it be in a position to embark on creating an effective plan to achieve its desired results.
RI's planning group, The Guiding Coalition, must be a powerful force! No one individual has the capabilities to develop the right vision, communicate it to large numbers of people, eliminate all the key obstacles, generate short-term successes, lead and manage dozens of high energy-type people, and anchor new approaches, particularly in an established organization's culture. The Guiding Coalition must have high credibility, and its first action should be to ban RI's organizational structure from its thought processes. Leading change takes transformational leadership. Teamwork is essential. Unfortunately, most senior level Rotary leaders today, sadly mostly male, developed when teamwork was a metaphor; when 'teamwork' was accomplished by the 'team' - Boss and his direct yes-sir subordinates.
This type leadership is no longer effective because innovators, the very people who should be attracted to local Rotary clubs and RI staff, do not fit in organization chart squares because it boxes them in and minimizes the use of their brain power. RI should lead the way by creating an organization where the goals of all staff members and Rotary leaders, while applying specialized talents, overlap so all are striving to attain one single result - grow at a steady rate by delivering to Rotary clubs, Rotarians and TRF donors what they value.
RI is an association with a worldwide customer base - over 35,000 member clubs, each to whom RI should be delivering what the clubs value. Each club's customers - Rotarians - have enterprising minds and want to connect with like-minded people to make greater impacts in their communities and the world - each to whom clubs should be delivering what their members value. RI and its member clubs, to sustain a steady growth rate, must transform themselves from their perceived positions of 'service' organizations to 'member' organizations that deliver value. Nothing should be off limits to change: what doesn't help attain the desired result must be abandoned; what does help must be strengthened; and the quicker the better.
Transformational leaders, knowing what business they are in, who their customers are and what they value, lead from the front. They are results oriented, employ the power of language, disperse leadership, and create accurate measures of performance. Does this type innovative leadership exist in RI's hierarchy?