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

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Is Rotary International's Future in Jeopardy?

Rotary International (R.I.), the association, has two customers: the ultimate customer - Rotarians - and its member clubs.  It does not do any good for a local business, professional, or community leader to see value in becoming a Rotarian if there is not a functioning club to join, and it is useless to form a club if local business, professional, or community leaders do not perceive any value in becoming Rotarians.

    This is quite similar to many businesses.  Lexus and BMW, for example, manufacture machines people use for transportation.  Their ultimate customer, however, does not buy machines for transportation; they buy "status", so everything Lexus and BMW do delivers "status."  Local dealers sell the machines, but Lexus and BMW train the dealers to deliver commensurate "status."  All public Lexus and BMW  communications deliver what the ultimate customer values: "status."
    North American membership records are telegraphing that Rotarians, R.I.'s ultimate customer, are not receiving the value they desire. R.I. has been selling what it does: service to the public.  In North America serving the public is to local business, professional, and community leaders like machines for transportation are to the general population.  The business fundamental R.I. leaders have overlooked, did not know, or do not accept is that R.I. does not define the business it is in, the ultimate customer, the Rotarian, does.  So R.I. must ask itself these fundamental questions:

  • What differentiating "value" does becoming a Rotarian deliver to a person described in Article 5 of the Constitution of Rotary International?
  • What services can R.I. perform for its member clubs that would help them deliver that differentiating "value"?
There are no easy answers to these questions, but until R.I.realizes the business it is actually in and addresses these questions effectively, R.I.'s long-term future is in jeopardy.