A couple of weeks ago, I had a conversation with a senior Rotarian. We discussed the impact of the recent pandemic on Rotary at the club level. We quickly agreed that technology came in handy to keep our members engaged in some form and to keep the connect alive. Not surprisingly, we also agreed that such meetings held online can never be a substitute for the real thing, an in-person meeting, and that we should soon be getting back to pre-pandemic style of club meetings.
Though the conversation ended there that day, I was still thinking about it thereafter. It appeared that we were not ready to move away from our comfort zone, regardless of the benefits such a move may offer. Is this mindset of those who are already in, a hindrance to our growth? Are we refusing to see the elephant in the room?
Rotary’s greatest strength is its ability to adapt with the changing times. This quality of ours has ensured our survival and growth over twelve decades. The success of e-clubs, hybrid clubs, passport clubs and various other forms that reflect the changing landscape of Rotary membership is testimony to this. We would be doing ourselves a disservice by turning a blind eye to it. Doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome would be foolhardy. If we want to attract and retain those who are not presently in, the next-gen in particular, we need to embrace change. While maintaining status quo gives us a sense of stability, it may also be our biggest threat. Our willingness to change gives us the ability to go far.
Let us look around. Let us assess what needs to be changed and be brave enough to accept those changes. Ability to adapt is a part of our action plan. Let us not miss this piece of action!