On June 30, 2009, I will complete 3 years as District 5950 Membership chair. It has been a privilege to serve the clubs in this district and beyond.
During the past three years, I have met some incredibly talented and giving people. I have learned about projects with exceptional impact. I have also experienced a great deal of challenge and fun. So what have I learned?
One of the most important things I have learned is that clubs that grow are led by people who choose to grow. More specifically, growing clubs have one or more leaders who decide that growing their club matters and choose to do something to make it happen. They take actions that are unique to their particular club and that leverage their talents. Some reach out for help, some survey their members and take action on what they discover. Many launch a campaign of some kind or they organize their stories so that new and prospective members can understand what they are about. The really good ones make it fun and easy to join Rotary and make it easy and rewarding to create meaningful impact.
Clubs that grow set high standards for the kind of member they seek. That does not mean that they exclude people. I think that it goes to the core of what Rotary is about - ask successful professional people to represent their professions with high ethical standards. Ask those same professional people to apply their time, talents, influence and resources to make a difference locally and globally. So setting high standards is about finding people who are a bit more successful than most because these are people who can have more impact than most. What that means to each club is a function of its community and its purpose.
Clubs that grow create peak experiences for their members. One of my favorite exercises with clubs and at district training events was to ask members to recall their peak experiences in Rotary and to share words that describe those experiences. Across many groups, you consistently hear words like effort, teamwork, passion, excitement, gratitude, courage, hope, learning, connection, impact, focus, quality and yes, fun. These are not words that describe most people's average day, are they? The growing clubs create meaningful experiences that keep people coming back for more. It's a kind of positive addiction to impact!
Growing clubs create enough trust to get through the tough stuff. Every club faces challenges from time to time. Whether it be a few old guard members that refuse to consider change, projects that are no longer relevant, programs that are no longer compelling enough to get people to show up for breakfast or a feeling of entitlement that slows innovation and collaboration. The successful clubs get past these obstacles because they have an important purpose and enough trust developed over time to get through the momentary obstacles.
There are too many people to thank to name them all here. If you have helped me along the way or given me an opportunity to serve you in some way, please consider yourself on the list! I am most grateful to you.
One of the wonderful results of my work as Membership Chair has been this weblog. I started writing Innovate Rotary! as a way to reach out to district members on a range of Rotary topics. I quickly learned that this medium is instantly global. And I am happy that the messages and conversations here have had an impact well beyond District 5950.
As I pass my membership responsibility to others, I will be refocusing my efforts on soccer coaching, as my two daughters learn to play the sport that I love, second only to golf.
As for future posts, let's see what inspires me from here!
Serve, smile, set high standards, make an impact, express gratitude and have fun!