Monday, March 17, 2008

TRF & Club Strategic Planning hits The Rotarian!

The March 2008 edition of The Rotarian hit the mailbox with a smiling picture of Dolly Parton and an interesting Q&A with Rotarian Steve Brown, a member of the TRF Future Vision Committee that addresses (among other things) Strategic Planning for clubs!

Q. How do you feel Rotary as an organization, both at the international and local levels, can be successful in long-term planning, and what would success look like?

A. I think Rotary, at all levels, understands the need for strategic planning. The RI Board charged a committee to recommend a strategic plan, and there’s talk now about assisting the clubs and districts in strategic planning. So I think it’s recognized that, given the magnitude of our organization and the success we’re enjoying, we need to continue to build on that success and we can do that best through strategic planning.

There will be different ways to measure success. One way will be the level of contributions to The Rotary Foundation, not only from Rotarians but from third parties as well. Another example we all point to right now is polio. We’re on the verge of eradicating polio. We are recognized by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a major partner in the success of that effort. And I believe that as we have other major programs – and not only corporate programs – we will be recognized as a premier foundation based on the outcomes that we’re able to provide through our new plan.

Q. Have you seen how clubs are addressing the need for long-range planning?

A. I can only speak with respect to my club. We have a member who used to work for IBM in long-range planning. She held several sessions with our club to go through a long-range planning process. But it never ends. You reach objectives and you have to test how you’re doing, you go back, you modify. But we’re definitely doing that, and it’s a new experience.

Q. Do you think there’s been enough focus on strategic planning at the club level?

A. In our club’s case, I’d say yes. I guess the beauty of Rotary is that one size does not fit all. So for one club, it could be a tremendous advantage; other clubs may not be able to put it to good use. But I think every club, regardless of size or location, should try to do some planning – perhaps not the way strategic planning is done in the United States, but some planning that goes beyond the one-year cycle.

Q. How do we work with the clubs to make sure they are aligning their strategic plans with both the Future Vision Plan and the RI Strategic Plan 2007-10?

A. It needs to be done through communication. As these plans are rolled out, there will be an education piece that helps clubs understand how they fit in with the plans that are being set forth.

Credit: The Rotarian, March 2008, Pages 43-45 or link to

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