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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Monday, October 12, 2015

Rotarians should be telling Rotary how to advance the Object of Rotary

            It doesn't make sense for Rotary to attract smart members with enterprising minds then tell them how to pursue its objective.  They should be telling Rotary how.

Many will say that Rotary has never tried to tell members how to pursue its objective.  Maybe not in so many words, but a decade long study of past verbal and non-verbal communications indicates otherwise.

Perhaps it started when "the little California club that could" told Rotary that to advance the Object of Rotary in their community, it needed local leaders who happened to be female.  Rotary told them that was not the way to pursue its objective.  The little club pressed, and we all know what happened.  During the same time period, Rotary began the pursuit of eradicating polio from the world.  As time passed, eradicating polio became not only Rotary's objective, but its obsession.  Few can effectively argue that Rotary communicated, particularly in North America, that contributing, through The Rotary Foundation, was the way members could pursue its objective; that Every Rotarian Every Year (EREY) was the way all Rotarians could pursue Rotary's objective.  Accolades and choice positions were given to Rotarians who excelled in helping Rotary pursue these objectives.  And Rotary created the above graphic that communicated to Rotary clubs, especially at Presidents-Elect Training Seminars (PETS), the way to effectively pursue Rotary's objective.
            Something happened to Rotary on the way to helping rid the world of polio:  Rotary leaders forgot that Rotary's objective was to advance the Object of Rotary, which transcends social action.  They became centered on this obsession and lost the concept that pursuing the elimination of polio was a result of Rotarians advancing the Object of Rotary and that TRF was, and still is, a Rotary attribute that helps them do so.
            I recently communicated with a friend who had just facilitated at a Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI).  My friend said, "Last weekend I facilitated Part One Class One at RLI - The Object of Rotary. What an eye opener it is for most Rotarians new or old."
            "Why is it an eye opener?" I asked.
            "Both long term and new Rotarians had virtually the same amount of knowledge of the Object of Rotary. That is none."

Rotary may be going through the painful process of redirecting organizational silos toward its primary purpose - creating Rotarians who can tell it how to advance the Object of Rotary.  But the non-verbal part of the above conversation communicates that we have a long way to go.