General Information

Red Text bears a link to reference Rotatorials.

Retention Central is monitored occasionally by its creator, Jim Henry, who may be contacted by email at

Monday, August 26, 2013

Rotary International's Web Site - Product of Open Innovation?

     Peter Markos and his team no doubt used Open Innovation techniques to develop and implement Rotary International's (R.I.) new web site.  The new site evolved over several years through incremental innovative steps involving many people.  Managing Open Innovation, as Peter did, takes special skills because innovation encourages creativity and involves human ideas; the gathering and filtering of applicable information; and leaders with the skills to weave everything together and implement changes that benefit the organization and its customers.  Open Innovation is a continuing process involving many talented people.  It requires leadership and management expertise usually foreign to those accustomed to top-down management.  Way to go, Peter, and your entire team.

R.I. and its member clubs are member-centric.  R.I., to grow membership, must continue Open Innovation in all departments, centering on innovations that inspire and encourage clubs to grow membership and donors.  Rotarians, because of  Why Rotarians Are Rotarians, will take care of impacting their communities and the world as they advance the Object of Rotary.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

President Ron Opening Leadership

It took courage for Rotary International (R.I.) President Ron Burton to utilize Open Leadership to express his thoughts on membership.  Rotarians, leaders within their own social fabrics, will agree or disagree with various parts of the thoughts he expressed.  I suspect President Ron knew that would happen,  I also suspect that he would welcome Rotarians getting excited enough to express their compliments and criticisms to him directly.
My previous Rotatorial commenting on President Ron's video drew compliments and complaints. Some said it was spot on; others were upset because I said one part was boring and that it lacked information.  Three district governors, members of President Ron's Faithful Team, asked that I remove their names from my distribution list.  To me, these actions reflect progress. Rotary leaders are reading, listening, voicing opinions, and taking action on membership.  Action of this nature is to be expected when Leadership is Opened.
    But let's discuss the all-you-Rotarians-out-there-need-to-do-is-ask-and-R.I.'s-membership-problem-will-be-solved silly conundrum. Examine this proposition:  You own, or are employed by, a business that loses over 14% of its customers every year; almost half of its customers in seven years (R.I.'s condition as of 2011.)  Do you put a priority on -1- Reminding existing customers to bring you customers to replace those lost or -2- Determining and addressing why your business is losing customers?
     Through Open Leadership, I am confident that 1.2 million Rotarians, if they are recognized and treated like the professionals they are, know the issues, are given accurate information, and receive professional support, will actively promote and support Rotary's Circle of Life because The Only True Measure of an Effective Rotary Club is its Ability to Retain and Attract members.

President Ron's Membership Talk - Open, Boring, Compelling, Lacking

BORING--The middle section of the talk is the same ineffective message that has been emanating from senior Rotary leaders since membership began leveling off years ago.  Data proves that many Rotarians are already asking.  Most Rotary clubs, data shows, do not have problems attracting members.  Their problem is keeping them because they are not delivering value; engaging them.  Repeating a useless all-you-Rotarians-out-there-need-to-do-is ask dissertation diverted listeners valuable attention and time from critical issues and was a major missed opportunity to exhibit transformational leadership. 

COMPELLING--President Ron's personal experiences vividly demonstrate that clubs and R.I. are not in the community service business; their business is changing Rotarians' lives. That unknown president-elect of the Rotary Club of Norman, Oklahoma, USA, found a way to make Rotary relevant to a member; to keep a future R.I. president from dropping out.  This relevancy delivered what that young attorney valued - engagement; the opportunity to make a greater impact.  Just imagine how that Rotarian utilized R.I.'s attributes to impact the lives of many others in his family, community, and the world, while changing his own life in his journey to Rotary's top position.  His story personifies Who Rotarians Are; the business clubs are in; and what clubs should be doing to retain and attract members. That, President Ron, is sincere, relatable, and compelling and is the prime substance of your presentation. Thank you.

LACKING--Other than talk about increasing membership, setting numerical goals, and hounding Rotarians to ask, what is our Association of Rotary Clubs actually doing to help clubs grow membership?  Someone will say Rotary Club Central, but I have yet to hear anyone address and sell clubs on how it will help clubs retain and attract members.  R.I.'s Strategic Planning process and twenty-two Regional plans are nice on paper, but if they do not address clubs' needs, they're useless.  R.I.'s continued failure to use a member-centered approach to decision making and recommending club actions results in loss of focus.  Rolling out yet another appeal for a simple act , 'the ask', is ineffective (See 2001-2002 membership spike) if the root causes of Rotary's excessive membership losses and R.I. failures in identifying and recognizing Who Rotarians Are, what they value and the relationships and experiences Rotarian's seek are not systemically and consistently addressed.