One year is all you have, go forth and work with passion. You have such powerful leadership in your zones. You have Kalyan Banerjee, Raja Saboo and K R Ravindran, and the directors, past, present and future. What Basker has done in membership is truly impressive. You are No 1 in the world for membership growth. Inspire your members in such a way that this organisation will be proud of you.”
With these words RI President Barry Rassin presented the graduation certificates to the 40 DGEs of Zones 4, 5 and 6A at the end of a three-day GETS held prior to the Rotary Zone Institute in Chennai during the first week of October. He was the chief guest at the Institute and he enthused the governors-elect with references drawn from the book The Radical LEAP authored by Steve Farber. Elaborating on the elements of LEAP — cultivate Love; generate Energy; inspire Audacity and provide Proof, Rassin called upon the incoming leaders to “do what you love in the service of people. Without love, you will have no reason to go the extra mile.” Leaders must find the energy to work through obstacles and energise people around them. “You must have audacious goals. Mine is to double the number of Rotaractors. Inspire your club presidents to start a Rotaract club. Ultimately show proof of progress. At the end of the day, productivity and profitability tell the whole story,” he said. The LEAP framework will “help you get the best out of yourself and others.”
Earlier, Institute Convener and RI Director C Basker set the tone of the workshop saying, “With great power comes greater responsibility, and the RI board goes by your recommendations. Develop a maturity to carry everyone along with you, including the presidents who did not vote for you. Everybody is your friend in your challenging journey.”
The Institute was held two months in advance this year, Basker said, so that it would give more time for the DGEs to plan and select their teams. “You will be better informed when you go for the International Assembly in Jan 2019.”
Laying great stress on building an ‘effective’ team, he said, “Choose your team not based on friendship, or to return a favour; it should be on merit. Remember that your success depends on the people you choose to be in your team. They must be effective and conversant to assist you and take your district to great heights.”
He reiterated to the incoming DGs that the District Training Assembly (DTA) is exclusively for the club officers and has to be for a minimum nine hours. “I have been stressing on this all through my tenure but I still find districts conducting it as speaker meetings.” All training programmes are to be held within the district, he said. “When you conduct such programmes abroad, many club officials cannot afford the travel cost and hence miss the training. The PETS, SETS, DTA, AGTS and DISHA are all training events and are meant to make your districts exemplary. They are not fun activities,” said the Director.
Hold review meetings periodically; use the GML to highlight the work done by clubs and not as a platform to exhibit photos of the governors, were few other important points he highlighted.
Billiards and Rotary
A leader should be like a billiards player, said RIDE and GETS Chair Bharat Pandya. Just like how he goes around the table, polishes the cue and focuses on the right angle before pocketing the ball with the right force, “training sessions show you the right focus and direction to enable you to pocket your district’s success.”
Referring to a quote of writer Carlos Castenada, Pandya said: “All of us have a cubic centimetre of chance that pops out in front of our eyes from time to time. You are all warriors and this programme is designed to sharpen your leadership skills and train you to be alert enough to pick up your cubic centimetre of chance.”
Earlier, Institute Chair ISAK Nazar, remarking on the uniqueness of the training modules, said that “GETS gives you an opportunity to learn. But you have to imbibe the lessons and be ready to transform.”
Of pencils and water bottles
RIDE Kamal Sanghvi inspired the incoming leaders citing a pencil parable. “Like a pencil, you can do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in someone else’s hand. Sharpening is painful, but it is critical to bring out the lead inside. The eraser helps you to correct most mistakes you make. When you fail and are like a broken pencil, be thankful for the opportunity, for, a broken pencil has two sides with which you can write. Rise like a phoenix and learn from your failures. Rough or smooth, whatever surface you are used on, make sure you leave a mark,” he said.
Sanghvi awed his audience with a bottle experiment he demonstrated to drive home the message not to be shaken by external forces. “When people try to shake you, don’t fizz up like a Coke bottle; instead stay calm like a water bottle,” he said.
TRF Trustee Mike Webb drew the DGEs’ attention to the huge amount of DDF lying unused in the districts’ accounts. A total of $7.5 million — an unspent rollover of $3 million accumulated over the years, plus $4.5 million of earned DDF — is available for the DGEs of the three zones under DDF. “Please use the DDF allotted by TRF for your districts to do good. It is not meant to stagnate in some bank account,” was a forceful message he repeated in all his sessions. “It is not a matter of pride to say that you ended your year with more DDF balance than what you found at the beginning.” The rollover money can also be used for global grants, he added.
Webb also pointed out that “30 per cent of the clubs in the three zones have not contributed to TRF.
I challenge each governor to ensure that all clubs contribute to the Foundation. Even $100 a club is better than zero contribution.”
RI Director Eun-soo Moon from Korea inspired the incoming leaders on enhancing membership and retention. He gave tips on attracting young members and Peace Fellow alumni to Rotary. Talking about Exceeding expectations, PRIP Rajendra K Saboo recalled a comment made by a Rotarian when he was serving as RI President. “When he told me ‘Mr President you are not the president of RI, you are the president of the people’ that was the best ever compliment I received,” he said. Listing out eight ingredients for effective leadership, he urged the future governors to think big and act big, shed ego and perform with integrity.
Facilitated discussions in strategic planning, membership growth, Foundation giving, district grants and building public image further strengthened the workshop.