MESSAGE From DG Michael Yee
Rotary International has since October 2014 recognized membership as our organization’s top internal priority. The eradication of polio remains Rotary’s top external priority. Thus membership growth is the goal of every Rotarian and club. As the incoming club president and club officers, collectively you are leaders charged with making your club attractive to prospective Rotarians. This is your great opportunity to rise to the demands and challenges of leadership and to leave a lasting legacy of developing more club leaders, strong membership growth, and a vibrant club.
A good leader has a leadership mindset, is charged up with leadership motivation, and demonstrates leadership behavior. The leadership mindset has several characteristics: the need for achievement, a preference for challenge, and an acceptance of personal responsibility for outcomes. Leadership motivation is initiated, energized, and maintained by goal-directed behavior. Leadership mindset and motivation can only translate into action if leadership behaviors exist, some of these being confidence, risk, interpersonal skills, and social capital.
Social capital is incredibly valuable to leaders. The rise of the sharing economy—think of Facebook, LinkedIn, Airbnb, eBay, Uber—and collaborative consumption have energized the idea of social networks.
Rotary is the world’s first service organization and also probably its first social network. We want to enlarge our membership and bring the benefits of Rotary’s social capital to more people to help us realize Rotary Serving Humanity.
Rotary can serve humanity only if we have more Rotarians, not less. The Object of Rotary isn’t mentioned a lot nowadays but it’s in realizing that it describes who we are that enables us to realize our mission: “to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise.” We are asked to expand our social network for “the development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service.”
Therefore, all clubs must embrace this movement toward the goal of membership. We move toward this goal at our own pace and rhythm. Leaders cannot assume everyone is on the same pace. Membership development is not a “one size fits all” process. There must be a movement toward one another. We were not meant to walk our Rotary journey alone but with the Rotary community. There must be a movement toward mission. We have enjoyed the benefits of Rotary membership and now it is time to give it away and share it with more people. Such things take time.
Membership development is a hard and lengthy process. It takes a lot of time and deliberate effort from us leaders to invest in building relationships and increasing our social capital.
Think about the following questions:
- What is your current membership development strategy?
- How are you measuring membership growth in your club?
- What opportunities are you offering members to live out what they are learning?
- What is your current strategy for bringing new people into your club? Is it effective?
Many of the changes that clubs need to start experiencing growth are small and incremental. They donot require tons of capital or excessive energy. They often require just a change of perspective. You need to see people as your most important resource. You need to choose who you are trying to reach. You need a plan for how you will reach them. And you need to always be looking for opportunities.
You are the All Star Team of new club leaders. Your club is now under new management. You are the new front door. Break the old rules. Implement new ways to get the best out of yourself and your club. Make leadership your calling. The power of calling—or vocation—can beneficially shape individuals, organizations, and society as a whole. It can shape your club and members. It will shape Rotary Serving Humanity in our Rotary Foundation Centennial and beyond, “doing good in the world.”
I wish you a successful and meaningful year of service to your members and your community.
Michael Yee Yik Fah
District Governor 2016-17