More Thoughts On the Retention Crisis

I point my finger at leadership on the Board and at the Secretariat over two decades when I say they are not people of action. Just because they do things, it doesn’t count unless it is the right things given their responsibilities. Yes, great matters are accomplished by Rotary every day, and I admit that leadership has a role in that. But their FIRST priority should be coming up with answers for Clubs in the US and elsewhere to turn around this retention problem.

[Let me preface this post by explaining the origin. On PDG Jim Henry’s great blog, Retention Central, on March 1, he posted  a piece with the title “What Happened to 2,200,000 Rotarians?” which started with the fact that this number of people were recruited and lost over a 15-year period. It still astounds me! I commented on his blog in part to the effect that many Rotarians are indeed people of action, but clearly the “people at the top” are not. I received a reply to that from Director John Smarge, who asked me to whom I was referring? I started to reply, only to get what is probably too long-winded for a response on PDG Jim’s site. So I brought it here, with a forwarding note on Retention Central. I have tremendous respect for Director John, and I wanted to express myself as fully as possible. I also made a post on the LinkedIn Rotary forum about PDG Jim’s article.] Continue reading “More Thoughts On the Retention Crisis”

A Meditation on RIPE Rassin’s Vision Statement

With all respect for Mr. Hewko, his leadership experience may not be what we need now from the Secretariat. I would look to someone from the business world of international franchises, with experience in franchisee support. The talents we need to revitalize the dynamic between RI and Clubs have less to do with delivering foreign assistance, more with managing and supporting a herd of cats

“I believe now is the time to understand who and what we are and where we should be going. Rotary International is a formidable and complex organization that is at a crossroads and needs to broadly consult the Rotary world for guidance and rebuild relationships with the clubs.

The current three Presidents will positively adjust our culture and I would like to continue that process. I feel strongly that we must focus on strengthening clubs, including with efficient digital tools, as there is a disconnect between Rotary International and Rotary Clubs.” — Vision Statement, Barry Rassin, RI President-Elect 2018-2019, 1 Sept 2017 Continue reading “A Meditation on RIPE Rassin’s Vision Statement”

The Soul of Rotary

The point is that service work, and the benefits that flowed from it, were secondary to the goal of uplifting the Member to one who lived life with this servant’s attitude fully developed. I think the transformation of people with a better approach to living is the soul of Rotary.

A few years ago, I wrote a short piece, A Rotarian’s Examination of Conscience, for inclusion in My Club’s “New Member’s ABCs” (which are intended to provide new Members with a reference for some of what they will see and hear within our Club and the larger Rotary World). I was making the point that being a Member of a Rotary Club is not the same as being a committed Rotarian. As with many other institutions based upon ideals, ethics, and high standards, it is incumbent upon all Rotarians to periodically examine one’s conscience to determine if they are properly fulfilling their duties to Rotary.  As one answered the questions I posed, I hoped the Member would realize that there are many different and deeper aspects to Rotary. I mention it here to provide a jumping off point to answer the question implicit in this post’s title: What is the soul of Rotary? Continue reading “The Soul of Rotary”

Yet Another Example of How Members Don’t Matter To RI

As much as my standards for Customer Service are the basics for me in the retail world, they are bare minimums that should be greatly exceeded in the Membership world of Rotary.

You may have noticed on My Rotary’s New and Features section a headline “Rotary customer service earns certification” dated May, 9. Sounds good, no? If you read the short story, you’ll learn that the “Center of Excellence” certification is from BenchmarkPortal, whose “mission is to provide contact center managers with the tools and information that will help them optimize their efficiency and effectiveness in their customer communications.” This is Customer Service speak for such metrics as hold times, call and email turnaround, and contact satisfaction with these transaction characteristics. None of this indicates whether the Customer (i.e. Member) was satisfied with the results sought by the reason for contact. This does not mean that the Service Center actually HELPED anyone with the problem in a way that pleased them. Continue reading “Yet Another Example of How Members Don’t Matter To RI”

The Rotarian and RI

As a Rotarian, must everyone just accept the direction the Board has set? Where can this discussion be held? Is the COL really an effective body? How can Club Level Rotarians get more representation in setting the course for the future? If some of Rotary wants to go one way, and some do not, why can that not be accommodated under the Rotary umbrella? What should the place be for any individual Member of Rotary within the Rotary World?

One of the reasons I spend as much time as I do posting and commenting on various Rotary matters online is to learn from other Rotarians. One of the great things about publishing in the 21st century is that you don’t need to be an expert to get an audience, just be reasonably proficient in writing and capable of expressing an idea that will attract some interest on the right venue. And, sometimes you get a comment back that makes you realize that there are some things that you have been missing, or that one’s assumption aren’t as valid as thought. Continue reading “The Rotarian and RI”

The 4-Way Test in the Weapons Debate

And because TRUTH is on their side, all the rest of the 4-Way falls neatly into place for them, again without much thought. The underlying dynamic is “I’m right, you’re wrong, and the rest really doesn’t matter because I’m right.”

In the debate currently taking place on the imposition of the B-16 Code Amendments to Rotary’s Policies on Club events that include weapons, many supporters of the RI Board have cited the 4-Way Test as validation for their position. I find this assumption to be simplistic at best, arrogant at worst. It is clear to me that many such people have not really thought through the 4-Way, and really understand that it is a process used to attempt to find reconciliation in a dispute. Each step requires differing opinions to be expressed, evaluated, and weighed. There is no guarantee that the process will result in accord. Continue reading “The 4-Way Test in the Weapons Debate”