Why Organization's Fail

Rotary didn't stop developing membership because people were not interested in joining local Rotary clubs. Recent membership metrics have proven that. It stopped growing because Rotary and its member clubs became product oriented instead of member oriented. They marketed the results of the Object of Rotary instead of its value to its member clubs and Rotarians - its customers - those who fund its operations.

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Is Rip Van Rotary Really Waking Up?

Rotary International (RI) General Secretary Hewko recently announced that RI is on track to close out 2015-16 with the second highest membership ever.  This is super good news and should be the signal for RI to increase Marketing and Innovating momentum. President Ravi led the way by identifying RI for what it is - a business unlike any other.  This, and the changes made by the 2016 Council on Legislation, have laid the foundation for RI to have a bright future.  However, if anyone thinks such a future will automatically transpire, they are badly mistaken.  Changes, or strategic plans, written on paper do little good if they are not prioritized and successfully Internally Marketed.  (Example: Code of Policies 26.120. Passed and written in 2003, but never internally marketed.)  Marketing should aim for optimum, not maximum, membership. This requires extensive internal and little external (general public, worldwide) Marketing simply because retained Rotarians are RI's greatest asset, and its most effective sales force.
   Innovation is where RI could differentiate itself from competitive organizations and make operational what its business should be.  It should take advantage of its momentum and be Innovative in Service, Social, and Managerial categories.  In Service Innovation, RI should set objectives that differentiate Rotary clubs and Rotarians from all other organizations.  Rotarians, existing or new, pay dues to develop and sustain relationships - primarily local but spreading global.  They do not pay dues to perform community service, be called volunteers, or support The Rotary Foundation (every person in the world can do all three without paying dues!)  In Social Innovations, RI should be Innovative in creating ways to better relate to its member clubs, and help clubs Innovate ways to relate to Rotarians.  In Managerial, RI should be Innovative in skills and activities needed to create and deliver services to clubs and Rotarians, including director, coordinator, and governor education and support.    
            RI does seem to be waking up.  Leaders are actually being Innovative and leading.

In Service Innovation, little has reached clubs and Rotarians, but

In Social Innovation:
  •  Initiating the Rotary Global Rewards program offers a benefit to Rotarians.
  • On the questionable side lies Rotary Club Central - Do the benefits it offers clubs or Rotarians, if any, exceed the effort required to keep information current?  
In Managerial Innovation:
  • RI changed its Semi-Annual Reporting process, a benefit that simplified managerial tasks for clubs and RI while facilitating cash flow.  
  • President Ravi recognized the importance of retaining Rotarians.
  • President-elect Germ established the practice of recognizing official membership levels based on Semi-Annual Reports, which authenticates membership numbers and simplifies statistical analysis. 
Innovation objectives have a problem in measuring their short- and long-term impact.  To do that, RI must look at itself from the outside - from the view of clubs and the social fabrics in which they exist.  This is where the universally applicable RG Index could play a vital role.

Exciting times lie ahead for RI providing transitional leadership remains in place, Innovation is encouraged, and both are adequately recognized and rewarded.  RI must better prepare and support its tiers of leaders so they can be more effective in strengthening weak clubs, starting new clubs, and helping all clubs advance the Object of Rotary in their local social fabrics because