Club Visioning

The idea of “Service Above Self” has been providing Rotarians with a reason for belonging since Rotary began. Today it permeates throughout the world as Rotary club after Rotary club met on an ongoing basis to serve their communities and each other. However, as any Rotarian can tell you, each club is different. They are unique in how they go about their services, how they are perceived by their communities and the Rotary District of which they belong.

So how does your club interpret “Service Above Self”? Without a conscious awareness of that unique interpretation, clubs have a tendency to lose focus. To a club that has not defined who they are, what they stand for and what they intend to do; anything and everything is an opportunity. All it takes is the strongest personality, the one who will give the most time, or the one who is the most influential for the club to run the risk of following personal agendas, short term gratifications and individual legacies. The premise here is that clubs are made up of many talented personalities all supporting one cause…”Service Above Self”. How can we get back to a team that is all pulling in the same direction (without waiting for crisis management to occur to get the team to start pulling)?

A long-range plan provides the framework. Without such a plan, Rotary’s annual leadership turnover creates inconsistency, as new leaders come aboard with new ideas. When a plan is in place and vision has been defined, present and future club leaders work together to move the organization forward with minimal confusion. The visioning is the start for this new focus. Visioning allows the club members to dream about what their club could become. From this dream comes a new sense of identity and a renewed commitment to make a club better than it is today.

The simple act of writing down goals in a group setting builds camaraderie and fosters agreement on a vision. It begins to establish benchmarks for the club. This renewed focus on objectives naturally pushes clubs and districts toward action. When leaders routinely communicate the documented goals to club members, accountability increases. A club visioning session provides a vision for the future and the beginnings of written plan that promotes consensus, consistency and continuity. This statement of goals and initiatives provides a road map that’s easy for leaders and club members to understand. It serves a foundational piece for any club that wants to grow and become more effective.

The challenge to the visioning process is how to gather so many ideas (and dreams) and opportunities for the future from a group of 15-30 people and condense it down to the most important goals determined by that club (consensus) all within a very limited time frame.

If anyone has ever tried to self-facilitate their organization’s goals and strategies, they probably met with limited success. This is because they and their club may be too close to the issues. Blinders are hard to pull off in order to look at the road ahead and view it as a completely open road. We have found that a neutral team of Rotarians, understanding both the big picture of how Rotary works in the world today as well as how a facilitator should remain neutral, is the best service we can offer to the visioning process.  To find out more information about the visioning process, please click on the link to the left.