This weekend the courageous President-Elects of District 7620 met to experience the wonders of their second training to prepare them for their Presidential year. Under the direction of Training Chairs Mary Nagle and Sean McAlister, the training was, in the words of one participant, “riveting.” For my part, I got to sit back and admire the Rotarians who step up to give their time in order to lead their Rotary clubs for a year. Being a leader is challenging in any organization, but it is a special challenge in Rotary because we change our leaders every year. We have an outstanding group of Club Presidents waiting in the wings to run our Rotary clubs in 2015-2016.
The first part of the training on Saturday was a panel discussion where PR Chair, Dawn Wittfelt, Foundation Chair, Pat Kasuda, and Membership Chair, Darrell Nevin, expounded on what PEs should be doing to prepare for next year. Our panelists did a great job and I’m pleased to report all three of them survived the experience.
We had a secret weapon for our PEs at the training on Saturday. New member of the Training Committee, Jeff Neufeld, happens to teach leadership classes at this small, backwater institution of higher learning called The U.S. Naval Academy. Are you kidding? How could you possibly have a better trainer on the subject of leadership than someone who does it for a living – teaching our Midshipmen how to be the best of the best. I can speak for everyone who attended in saying that Jeff didn’t disappoint. He took our Six Step club leadership program and made it come alive for our PEs. It was a treat for everyone who attended.
Before letting you in on some of the best ideas from the training, I thought I would bring up a staggeringly important, if seemingly unrelated question. Why is it that Kevin Costner is the star of two of the best sports movies ever made, Bull Durham and Tin Cup? (Some would include Field of Dreams on this list but I say get a grip.) I just can’t figure it out.
In honor of Rotary trainers everywhere, here is one of my absolute favorite clips concerning experiential learning, a technique that Jeff says he heartily endorses. It’s from the movie, Bull Durham, and it stars Kevin Costner as the experienced minor league catcher, Crash Davis, and Tim Robbins as the rookie, totally inexperienced, Nuke Laloosh. Here Nuke is about to learn not to shake off the catcher’s signs. I think you’ll agree its a pretty effective lesson.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Lately I’ve been bemoaning the fact that smart phones have totally ruined the fun of getting into arguments at bars over just about anything. Bar bets are settled instantly by Google and you just can’t have a long satisfying discussion about any kind of trivia because the cell phones come out and Google has its say. One discussion that Google can’t resolve is the category of “best” movie. I hereby submit that Bull Durham is the best baseball movie ever made. In fact, I submit that its the best sports movie ever made. And PLEASE don’t bring up Caddie Shack to me. REALLY? And why is it that most every other Kevin Costner movie stinks accept for his sports movies? If you can understand why then you probably understand the SHARE program, too.
But I digress. Let’s get back to our PETS training. Here is the secret sauce of preparing our President-Elects to be effective leaders. Teach Rotary knowledge. Teach leadership techniques. Prepare them for the many interpersonal conflicts that are sure to come up during their year that can potentially derail their plans. Give them structure for effecting positive change in their club. In our case we teach a six step program that includes 1) gathering your Go To Team, 2) coming up with a plan of action, 3) putting your plan in writing, 4) recruiting motivated and effective committee chairs, 5) asking them to have all club members engage Rotary by joining a committee, and 6) holding everyone accountable. And of course, we send them off to a well-planned, comprehensive, RI required training held as a joint effort with three other Rotary Districts. We call that extravaganza, Chesapeake PETS.
In addition to the herculean efforts of our training team, another important ingredient for success is to have motivated and educated Area Governors who are willing to work closely with their President Elects to help them be as prepared as possible before they take office, and then work closely with them as a coach during their year as Club President. Last Saturday our AGs made a strong statement about just how committed they are to their PEs by having 100% attendance for the training. They did a lot more than just show up on a Saturday. They each facilitated breakout sessions with their area PEs about goal setting for the 2015-2016 year. In short….they were amazing!
I can’t finish this post without including one of my favorite Kevin Costner clips. This one is from the movie, Tin Cup. If you don’t know the movie, Roy McAvoy (Costner) is a driving range pro with a chance to win the US Open. This is what happens on the 18th hole as his caddie, Romeo, played by Cheech Marin, is trying to save Roy from himself. Roy has just splashed every ball in his bag except one in an attempt to reach a Par 5 in two, when he could have dropped the ball closer to the green. Experiential learning? Not so much. There isn’t a golfer alive who doesn’t relate to this scene. If you are President Elect, I hope you learn a little faster than McAvoy does, but I hope you have an equally inspiring end to your year. (Warning- there is an R-Rated word in this clip.)
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