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

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Rotary's Culture

Rotary and Strategic Plans - Part III of IV Parts

Every organization, be it a large multinational, small business, or local social club has a culture which plays an important part in its operations.  Rotary International (RI) headquarters in Evanston has its culture.  Each regional RI office has its culture.  Each of RI's 17 zones and over 530 administrative districts has its culture as does ever one of RI's over 35,000 member clubs.  And every one of these entities have sub-cultures.
     RI is revising its Strategic Plan.  If someone wanted to stall the plan, all they have to do is insist on pinpointing and addressing each ingredient of RI's culture.  Some "experts" say that an organization's culture contributes to its overall health.  Some "experts" say it reflects the organization's health.  More "experts" say that an organization's culture represents the collective values, beliefs and principles of the organization's members.  Still even more say that a corporate culture is a product of the organization's history, leadership, employees, members, and the social fabric in which it operates.  Other "experts" add to the mix that an organization's culture reflects, or is reflected by, its market, strategy, employees, customers, supporters, and management style.  Still others add that an organization's culture includes its vision, values, norms, systems, symbols, language, assumptions, environment, location, beliefs, and habits. 

  Confused?  Join the crowd. After doing much research, it appears that successful organizations, those said to have strong and healthy corporate cultures, have three commonalities: (not necessarily in priority)
·       a corporate purpose,
·       a differentiating identity
    These commonalities might make someone believe that identifying and addressing RI's culture would be simple.  It doesn't, but, let's get serious: Who really cares about trying to define a corporate culture as long as each of its components thrives?  If each component thrives, then the whole thrives. And all components should thrive if they pursue a common corporate purpose, deliver its differentiating identity, and sustain a continuum in leadership that understands and promotes these commonalities.  And this clearly points out why, with its multitude of components, cultures, and sub-cultures, the only true measure of success that is fair to all concerned and supports RI's purpose and objective is the ability of each club, district, and zone to develop Rotarians - regardless of their gender, generation, or ethnicity.  Success in developing Rotarians will breed strong, healthy cultures throughout.  Any measures or goals that any Rotary leader anywhere in the network communicates verbally or non-verbally that is even close to appearing equal in priority to developing Rotarians will be a diversion that could have long-term, negative affects.

We should hope that RI's strategic plan will address the importance of consistently acknowledging and recognizing successes in retaining and attracting People of Action.  To do so, the strategic plan should be clear on RI's purpose and objective, the means of delivering its corporate identity, and fostering leadership consistency through communication, education, and training.  This would make it much easier for RI to project unifying images, which will be addressed in Part IV of this strategic planning series.