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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Monday, January 1, 2018

Are Rotary's "Leaders" Leading?



In July 2015, Retention Central asked if Rotary’s leaders were leading or managing?  In the history of organizations, the difference is subtle but significant.  Rotary International’s only purpose is to sustain itself.  It does not exist to reach a specific goal.  Leaders reach for growth – individual and organizational - because growth stimulates and helps achieve goals.  Managers reach for goals.

     We are entering 2018, a new calendar year, halfway through RI’s fiscal year.  It appears that RI’s senior and staff leaders, who I affectionately refer to as young lions and lionesses, have breached the managing mentality, a breach initiated by Past RI Presidents Ravindran and Germ.  They discarded the ‘membership goal by an interim cutoff date’ which fostered the ‘my year’ management mentality.  Rotary leaders up and down the Rotary network prioritized ‘my year’ performances, which severely limited any visions of what the future may hold.  Because of the ‘my year’ mentality, minimum resources were dedicated to what kept RI operating – income from dues paying Rotarians and related metrics. 
     Most of RI's present senior and staff leaders now understand that RI is not in the service business, but is in the member business.  They realize that what is accomplished in the name of Rotary – past, present, and future – is the result of Who Rotarians Were, Are, and Will Be.  This is a major revelation that will have a substantial effect on its future, which is shining brighter.  To stay on course, RI must continually develop and analyze critical metrics because they will reflect the results of attitudes and initiatives that affect its most important income source – Rotary clubs and Rotarians.
   The most important metric, of course, is how many Rotarians are renewing their membership – RI’s Retention Rate.  To improve this critical metric, RI must encourage its administrative districts and their clubs to segment their populations and concentrate on the psychometrics of Who They Attract. To help clubs and districts, RI must continually refine and publish its membership metrics.  While metrics can help identify problem areas, only people can analyze, dissect, and solve problems.  For example, lower than normal Retention Rates dilutes the value of being a Rotarian, degrades Rotary’s public image, and destroys it brand.  At RI, naturally defining what is ‘normal’ means, among other things, the necessity to study regional Retention and Attraction Rates to determine what is ‘normal.’  When clubs and districts drop below 'normal' then people at district and club levels can be alerted, investigate, and hopefully solve the problems they identify.
     With eyes on RI’s future, it is rebranding itself as an organization organized by and for People of Action.  This initiative will be successful only when RI and its leaders demonstrate that they are People of Action who prioritize, recognize, and celebrate results.  All Rotary leaders should be encouraged to adopt this basic leadership philosophy from WALKTHETALK.com:

What gets celebrated,
Gets repeated.
What gets recognized,
Gets reinforced.
What gets reinforced,
Gets Repeated.
 
Considering recent happenings, it appears that RI’s senior Rotary and staff leaders are leading instead of managing; are thinking long-term instead of ‘my year’ or ‘my term.’ To solidify this opinion, improvements in membership development results must be recognized and celebrated as the most important accomplishment of any zone, district, or club.  To accomplish this, RI must serve each entity with simple and understandable meaningful metrics, which should be their Retention and Attraction Rates – their RG Indexes.