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

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Rotary International Directors - Two or Three Year Tenure is Secondary to Fulfilling Their Director Responsibilities.

    All discussion regarding any Board of Directors must start by defining roles and responsibilities.  In summary, the Board of Directors (Board) of Rotary International (RI) is responsible for steering RI toward a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies.  Board members are, or should be, RI's navigators and forecasters; they are supposed to provide foresight, oversight, and insight.  Putting all this together, Board members must assure that RI is being properly financed as it pursues its objective - advancing the Object of Rotary
    Membership's overall stagnation, and decline in major market areas, reflects that many directors in the last two to three decades have not fulfilled their responsibilities.  The primary cause was intellectual inbreeding.  RI Board members are elected internally. They are Rotarians nominated by Zones because of their popularity, not because of the expertise they should take to the Board.  Those who did have the expertise and tried to buck senior Rotary and staff leaders' inbred thought processes had limited influence because of the two-year term limit and the "humor and/or ignore them, they'll go away in two years" attitude it created. 
   The Council on Legislation's Proposed Enactment 16-58 is to increase the director's term of office from two to three years.  Director's terms should definitely be more than two years, but that is secondary to the major director issue.  RI's role, defined in its own Constitution and By-Laws, is to support the clubs in their pursuit of programs and activities that promote the Object of Rotary.

Regardless of the tenure, Rotarians elected to the Board must be fully aware of RI's role and how it is financed, They must also be firmly committed to advancing the Object of Rotary for the foreseeable future.  Otherwise, only their egos will receive any benefit if they become a member of RI's Board of Directors.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Rotary International must have a Standing Membership Committee!

What really caused membership in Rotary International (RI) to stagnate? For membership to decline in major market areas?   Many past Rotary leaders blamed the economy; others the 'Bowling Alone' syndrome.  These were excuses.  Simply put, nobody at RI was watching the store i.e. understood why those who funded RI - Rotarians - joined and stayed in local Rotary clubs.  This would have been the task of a standing membership committee, but RI has never had one!

     RI bylaws Article 16 states: The Board shall establish standing committees on communications, constitution and bylaws, conventions, districting, election review, finance and Rotaract and Interact.  Article 16-020 calls for a membership committee, but it serves at the whim of the RI president who often, year after year, changed the committee's composition, priority and direction.
     The seriousness of RI's membership condition was revealed in 2011.  Since then, young lions and lionesses in senior leadership positions have recognized the importance of establishing a membership committee, a guiding coalition that could help steer RI into the future.  For more discussion on this crucial issue, consider referencing Retention Central's Retain to Gain Series, particularly its first three elements.
     RI Council on Legislation Proposed Enactment 16-90 Provide for a Membership Committee is a necessity.  Without a standing membership committee - a membership guiding coalition - any strategic plan that RI devises will, in the long run, be wasted effort.