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

==============Red text has a link to a previous Rotatorial or referenced document.==============

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Rotary International should Influence What Should be Done, not What Can be Done

The most effective leadership tool Rotary International's (RI) arsenal is influence.  High levels of influence concentrate on outcomes.  Low levels of influence concentrate on what can be done, not what should be done.

    Rotary International's purpose is to create and support Rotary clubs as they create and support Rotarians.  The survival of both is dependent on dues-paying members.  In local communities throughout the world, the people Rotary clubs generally like to attract concentrate on local outcomes.  A popular concept used in attracting them is,    "We can do more together than you can do alone." Unfortunately, analyzing historical and current information, including presidential citations, Rotary Club Central (RCC), educational materials for seminars and assemblies (including the International Assembly), RI tends to focus more on lower levels of influence i.e. more on what can be done instead of what should be done.
    Membership is an excellent example. Focus should be on the outcome: creating Rotarians.  Instead past and current focus is generally on low level specific numbers of people, often targeting specific genders, generations, and/or ethnicities.
      In service, present RI focus is on low level influences like registering projects on RCC, keeping track of volunteer hours, and emphasizing dollars contributed. Imagine where polio eradication would be if Rotarians had focused on volunteer hours and dollars contributed instead of the outcome.  Of course, volunteer hours and contributed dollars are tools that can help achieve outcomes, but they are not the focal point; the outcome is! Concentrating on such low level influences is probably what led many RI leaders to consider Rotarians to be ordinary volunteers and sources for contributions instead of people who prefer to expend their time, treasure, and talent achieving outcomes.
   For example, in Florida's Sarasota County, over 50% of its elementary (primary) students are under-privileged. They do not have access to the resources and experiences of the other students. These children are highly susceptible to dropping out of school because, as years pass, they fall farther and farther behind. Rotarians in the Rotary Club of Sarasota have been influential in expending their time, treasure, and talents helping these under-privileged kids achieve grade level expectations.  The club's foundation dedicated seed funds. Rotarians influenced other local organizations to match the funds. They financed school-based food pantries, reading labs, and dental sealant/exam programs, and staffed some of the pantries. The outcome is that student attendance rates are up and grade level math and reading skills have improved in some schools by 58% and 56% respectively.

Like polio eradication, the overall value of the Sarasota initiative cannot be determined, but isn't this type outcome more important and appealing to existing and future Rotarians than popularizing the number of volunteer hours or contributed dollars? RI, an organization that demonstrates high level influence with organizations like the United Nations and the Gates Foundation, should not be encouraging its member clubs to achieve what can be done.  It should concentrate on influencing the entire Rotary network to do what should be done because, as vividly demonstrated by Rotarians in Sarasota,

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Why Engage if Rotary Cannot Retain?

In membership metrics, retention rates rule the data set. 
           
     Without retaining Rotarians everything else is irrelevant, including attracting and engaging new Rotarians.  Engaging is a means to an end, and the only effective measure of engagement's success is how many become and remain Rotarians.
     Retained Rotarians, by word of mouth, usually attract and engage potential Rotarians.  But let's face it:  clubs can have high numbers of Rotarians and friends engaging in activities.  Does that mean that the Rotarians will remain; that friends will want to join a Rotary club?  Maybe.  It all depends on how the benefits of engagement relate to the engager's needs and priorities, including the cost in time, talent, and/or treasure. The same fundamental principle applies when groups consider engaging with Rotary International. Without question, retention rates rule when it comes to measuring clubs, districts, zones, and Rotary International's effectiveness at engaging Rotarians in advancing the Object of Rotary.

All interactions between Rotary International, Rotary clubs, Rotarians, and potential Rotarians should be based on the concept that   





Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Past Rotary International President Kalyan Banerjee Gets and Demonstrates How to Communicate It!

Past RI President Kalyan Banerjee gets and communicates that Rotarians are the spark plugs driving the Rotary engine.  In his February, 2017 letter accompanying Rotary's Annual Report, his opening sentence says, ". . . . I am in awe of the efforts made by Rotarians from around the globe to do good in the world every day."  This verbally and non-verbally speaks volumes to Rotarians and non-Rotarians.  Verbally, it shows respect by emphasizing Rotarians instead of referring to them as 'our members'.  To Rotarians and non-Rotarians, it identifies, appreciates, and gives definition to Who Rotarians Are. Non-verbally, most Rotarians will get a warm emotional buzz because they are being identified and recognized for Who They Are - exceptional people trying to make the world a better place.

With over 35,000 chartered autonomous Rotary clubs around the world united in advancing the Object of Rotary, it is easy to understand why Past RI President Kalyan is awed by how, individually and collectively, over 1.2 million

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Innovation is a Key to Rotary International's Future


Creating Rotarians is the most important expression of the Object of Rotary, yet this detail is seldom discussed.  I wonder why, because if one critically analyzes successful organizations, it is obvious that they understand and deliver desired value to Them - supporters i.e. those who fund operations.  Supporters make it possible for Rotary clubs and Rotary International (RI) to thrive.  Both must continually be innovative.  Both must understand Rotary's value proposition and how it applies to Them in their realities.
     For example, when IBM decided it wanted to change direction, its president said it needed to get back in touch with Them - its supporters (customers).  The top 50 executives had to visit five customers a week and deliver a write-up to the president. This eyeball-to-eyeball action gave IBM insight into its customers' realities which helped IBM find innovative ways to deliver an enhanced value proposition.  Apple broke out of the mature desktop computer industry by listening to people express the desire to take their computers with them.  Apple found innovative ways to deliver this value and ultimately became the world's largest mobile devices company.
     On the other hand, Kodak, the company that invented cameras, including the digital camera, thought its business was producing and developing film because that is what generated most of its income.  What Kodak supporters were actually buying was the ability to preserve memories.  Not understanding why supporters were buying Kodak products resulted in it filing for bankruptcy.  RI, an association that grew in local Rotary clubs and membership because its objective was to help local business, professional, and community people improve their personal, business, and community lives, began thinking that its purpose was to be an association of charitable service organizations.  Membership began declining in mature major markets, a result of RI not understanding why its supporters joined and stayed in local Rotary clubs.  Many Rotary leaders have come to understand this reality, and that RI should be devoting more resources to delivering its original value proposition to clubs and Rotarians.

Advancing the Object of Rotary is the bedrock upon which RI's international network was founded and grew.  Many Rotary leaders have opened their minds to innovative ideas.  They should continue to do so with eyeball-to-eyeball conversations centering on the realities and needs of clubs and their members - Rotarians.  That is the only way RI will innovate new ways to deliver enhanced value propositions. Rotary clubs are not service organizations.  They are by definition civic welfare organizations. Rotary clubs create Rotarians who advance the Object of Rotary, beginning locally and spreading globally.  Charitable services are a result of Rotarians advancing the Object of Rotary. It begins with developing acquaintances - regardless of generations, genders, or ethnicities - and encouraging them become Rotarians.  Rotary's value proposition - The Object of Rotary - encourages Rotarians to better their personal, business, and community lives starting right where they live, work, and play.  And that is why . . .







Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Rotary Cannot Exist Without

Rotarians, pure and simple.  
  This is why membership committees/departments should be the most important and prestigious in Rotary clubs, Rotary districts, Rotary zones, and Rotary International (RI).  But are they? 
     Rotary's approach to membership development should come of age and set the worldwide standard for marketing membership.  Verbiage such as ". . your club's members should talk to business and community leaders, young professionals, recent retirees, and women . . . "[1] reflects a Jurassic-age membership development - public relations mentality, as does having membership and public relations in different silos.  Public relations (only one element of marketing) initiatives directly affect membership retention and attraction and should be an integral part of membership development.
     Past RI President Chris Dochterman's theme, "Real Happiness is Helping Others" is true.  Happiness benefits those who help others.  But the benefit of experiencing real happiness helping others can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere without paying dues to any organization.  Rotary's marketing task is to help Rotarians emotionally feel the benefit of being called, and referred to, as Rotarians. Referring to Rotarians as "our members" doesn't penetrate to the personal or emotional level. Marketing must continually communicate verbally, non-verbally, and subliminally why Rotarians are Rotarians; why Rotarians are members of Rotary clubs.  This would be membership development at its finest.
     Rotary has made significant headway prioritizing membership, and will continue to do so.  It is important that Rotary continues to break down mental and organization silos, including, but not limited to, selecting leaders. Clubs, districts, and zones must select leaders who understand and are committed to retaining, attracting, and developing Rotarians and clubs.  Every Rotary leader must demonstrate in words and deeds that creating Rotarians is their highest priority; that membership is their most important committee. That will take a continuous, monumental, coordinated, and professional internal education initiative.  Is that in RI's strategic plan, or will RI continue to reflect a Jurassic-age membership development and public relations mentality?


WHY am I a Rotarian?  Because, with the ideal of service embedded in our personal, business, and community lives,  we





[1] Rotary Manual 226b, Leading Your Club Membership Committee 2016-2019 Edition, page 5, "Attracting New Members"

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Being a Rotarian Means?

A recent Facebook public announcement, referencing a potential update in an organization's web page, said "We believe these changes will more clearly show that our organization is making the world a better place — and will persuade potential members and donors to support our work by joining a club, volunteering on a project, or donating to a cause."  (The organization's name has been deliberately omitted.) If the changes in the web page follow the philosophical concept of this public announcement, the web site will fail miserably.  This philosophical approach is clearly from the organization's point of view, and readers could receive the message that the organization is desperate for members and donors.  Suppose the announcement was from readers' points of view, and went something like this: "We believe these changes will clearly show potential members and donors how they can help make the world a better place." 
     The subject organization could have been Rotary several years ago. Thankfully many Rotary leaders now realize that Rotarians, using attributes created by Rotarians, are making the world a better place.  This is because being a Rotarian is more than just joining a club; is more than volunteering on projects; is more than donating to a cause.  Almost any human can do any or all of these things.  Being a Rotarian means networking with the few who, by advancing the Object of Rotary, are applying the Ideal of Service in their personal, business and community lives and are making the world better, one community at the time.  They are not just anybody. . . they are Rotarians.