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.

Red Text Note

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

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Rotary and Strategic Plans - Part I of IV Parts - The Basics

Rotary International (RI) is in the process of updating its strategic plan.  For the plan to guide RI toward a successful future, it must center on these business fundamentals:

  • RI's sole purpose is to charter and support Rotary clubs, and
  • RI's sole objective is to advance the Object of Rotary.

   Yes, RI's sole purpose is to charter and support Rotary clubs simply because without member clubs, RI cannot exist.  This is such a simple fact that its importance is often overlooked or forgotten.  Everything accomplished in the name of Rotary by local Rotary clubs as they advance the Object of Rotary is the recognition and reward (income) RI receives from chartering and supporting Rotary clubs.
     RI's sole objective is to advance the Object of Rotary.  Many RI leaders and Rotarians believe that Object of Rotary is outdated.  Their real issue is that, with good intentions, they simply have allowed their thought processes to be diverted from the Object's timeless principles.  This is not an uncommon phenomenon in legacy organizations, particularly those with frequent changes in leadership.  If one understands the Object of Rotary, they will conclude that it was never intended to be specific; it was intended to be, and is, eternally applicable in all social fabrics.
     Strategic planners and leaders must firmly embed these fundamentals in their thought processes as they examine three separate but distinctive elements of a functional strategic plan: RI's identity, culture, and image; all of which will be discussed in more detail in following Rotatorials.
    As an example of the differences in these elements, RI's identity should answer the question "Who are we?" Its identity should be differentiating, central, and enduring.  Its culture encompasses values and behaviors that are unique to its social and psychological environments.  Its image (reputation) is its member clubs, Rotarians, and outsiders' opinions about RI, and is typically the result of social evaluation on set criteria dependent on time and location.  A major portion of the image criteria is how RI recognizes and supports its member clubs. 

Preparing and executing an effective strategic plan is not an easy task, nor is it for amateurs. The next Rotatorial will discuss the differentiating, central, and enduring aspects of RI's identity and how identifying Rotarians as People of Action broadly supports RI's purpose and objective.