One of President Mark’s last roles this year has been to start the process to refresh the longer-term strategy for Rotary Club of Wellington. Peter Cornish our strategy leader, drew a group around and got us started and invited me to facilitate. Here are my observations and learnings. We’ve had three half-day workshops with members and committee chairs to dream and flesh out our club’s future – with leadership and hospitality provided by President Mark.
Planning is about Change
We never plan for the status quo. Whether the planning is for clubs, committees, communities or countries. We are always planning for the far future. Few entities get to start with a blank sheet. We stand on the shoulders of those great women and men who’ve gone before us in the club; those who took risks, were entrepreneurial, courageous and challenged the norms. They left a legacy in our club that we are ever grateful for. Sometimes we need reminding to say ‘thank you’ to the elders in our club for their legacy and invite them to share some of the lessons they’ve learned along the way.
The Journey of Our Club’s Strategic Thinking
Our club has some fantastic futures thinkers and dreamers. Some introverts and others extroverts, some A & B type personalities … all with wonderfully diverse views about how to make our club sustainable for the long term good of those we serve. Some big picture thinkers; some who want change yesterday, while others needed the detail before buying into the future. We realised early on that our club is a microcosm of the society we serve and we have to take people with us if we are to change the world. This means repetition – of rationale, messages and the reason for our journey.
The team started dreaming about the world in 2021 and our club’s role in it. We conducted a survey on the appetite for change within the club and did our environmental scanning. The speed of change was a consistent theme. The digital revolution is as disruptive as the industrial revolution.
The Digital Divide
The greatest gap for the future won’t be a generational one – Boomers (1946–64), Generations X (1965–77), Y (1978–94) and Z who were born after 1994. The great divide will be a digital one – between those who embrace the revolution and those who do not. We’re in a transition and we all have choices. In the last few years I’ve hardly kept up with my tech-savvy grandkids, so I now do an annual social-media course through my local high school – which has connected me into a variety of generations.
Our club has embraced technology as it impacts where, how and what we do in our lives – it’s an enabler and a tool for service (ask Richard about the volunteers who came to create the Forest in Wellington through Facebook). For some people, technology doesn’t give us the personal satisfaction of sharing a lunch, or a hug, or a smile, but it does give us a speedier means of networking, involving a national and international audience for our work and leveraging our role as leaders of positive social change.
Standing on the Shoulders of our Predecessors
Our strategic thinking ranged widely, informed by members and chairs as Mark Wheeler passes the baton to Peter Lawson. We heard the District view, the research on the future of work, the gig economy and cities; about how other membership organisations had increased membership and funding and our club’s million dollar dream. We continued the theme of social change and built on the foundations first articulated in past president Colleen’s year and which has been built on ever since by past presidents James, Hewitt, Lee, Tony, Kerry and Mark.
A big thank you to everyone who gave up their weekends to join the debate, the thinking and planning for our club’s future – I take my hat off to your leadership – thought, people, change and project leadership – which informed our thinking.
Results. We started. We landed the vision of:
RCW as Leaders of Positive Social Change
and we created some strategies – which incoming president Peter Lawson will walk us through on 17 July as our work changing society continues.