If I had to name one aspect of leadership in Rotary that is the most interesting to me, it would be to find out what it is that becomes the catalyst for action in a Rotary club. Rotary club’s are notorious for clinging to the status quo…until something….or someone….comes along to change the equation. In this clip from Animal House (which is not the full clip – which is too bad because the best lines come earlier but you have to wade through some R- Rated language to get to them) you can see that this organization has reached that point where desire gets turned into action. If you saw the whole clip you would know that the catalyst was not Bluto’s (John Belushi) eloquence in front of his audience. He beseeches them to “remember when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.” Not exactly accurate, but as one of the characters says, “he is on a roll.” Bluto’s final scream of “Let’s Do It” has become the rallying cry of many organizations, and it’s worked out OK for NIKE…don’t you think? It probably wouldn’t be too awful for a lot of Rotary clubs I know.
If you want some clear examples of Rotary clubs that have decided to “Just Do It,” Membership Chair, Darrell Nevin, recently sent along this list of clubs that have gone into incredible new member mode. Check out these clubs:
D7620 Clubs to Acknowledge with a “Significant Growth” Award for 2013-2014
Woodlawn Westview 6 to 14
BWI Rotary 10 to 16
Olney 16 to 23
Gaithersburg 18 to 27
Metro Bethesda 29 to 36
Towsontowne 40 to 51
Bel Air 43 to 48
Bethesda Chevy Chase 68 to 74
Lexington Park 98 to 105
Annapolis 152 to 162
As Darrell said in his email, these clubs alone are responsible for adding 70+ net new members to the District. What do you think the energy level is like in these clubs right now? Electric. For these clubs the issue is now how to KEEP these new members, how to integrate them into the club, how to educate them about Rotary, and how to get them into leadership positions. What a great problem to have. (By the way…high on the list should be to get them to a District Conference….hint….hint.)
But for me, I’m mostly interested in what, if anything, happened to set off this membership explosion in these clubs? Was it random? Did it happen by accident? Or did someone in the club decide that it was time “for a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part?” If so, don’t you wonder who it was and how they did it?
I, myself, your intrepid Rotary reporter and District Governor Nominee, will be researching this question with each of these clubs and will get back to you with some answers. Perhaps the data is inaccurate? I hope not, because I love “futile and stupid gestures” in Rotary. For our organization, at least half the time they turn into something that others call progress! Remember, Ready, Fire, Aim. Stay tuned…..
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