It goes without saying that the pandemic of 2020 has taught us a new way to be Rotarians. It is very possible that I will be the first all-virtual (zoom) president in Niles Rotary history, never having the opportunity to stand before the entire club as president! (I certainly hope not!) Therefore, I don’t have to remind you that if there ever was a year where change ruled our lives, this year is that year! But I have to ask….Is our club ready for more change? Assessing our members’ readiness for change is a very important step in managing that change. To manage it well, your club leadership needs to address the personal and emotional changes that members experience when they need to adapt to new ways of thinking or acting. The desire to make changes must be shared by more than just myself or club leadership. Progress happens only when our club members at all levels agree that they want change and are ready to change how we do things. This in part explains our recent club survey.
In assessing our readiness…we need to ask each of ourselves these questions:
- “Am I wary of new initiatives and generally prefer that things stay the same?”
- “I might hesitate, but when I understand how I will benefit, I’m likely to support the change. I won’t be the first to adapt, but I will eventually.”
- “I am an early adopter and find the prospect of change to be energizing. I can often inspire others to embrace new ideas.”
What results are we hoping for after we’ve made changes? What makes change successful? Some may raise objections or make negative comments about change, even threaten to leave the club. Why?
- Some may feel that things are working fine as they are.
- If change happens too fast, members will not have the time to get used to change.
- Members may not fully understand what is being asked of them.
- If members are uncertain about new processes or requirement, they may reject the entire vision.
- Some may resist because they didn’t feel included in the process.
- Change can temporarily increase work for people who already feel overwhelmed.
Most importantly, we need to focus on member involvement! As we look forward to someday meeting in person once again, the lasting effects of the new technologies we’ve embraced, as well as the convenience of zooming, are here to stay. We as a club need to also realize the effects this has had on being members and attracting new members. As we’ve seen some of our Rotary family leave the area, we need to not lose sight of the fact that they are family…and we need to have a membership that allows them to remain part of the Niles Rotary family. Therefore, as I wrote in last month’s Pinion, your club leadership will consider the new memberships and associated dues in the coming month….a remote membership as well as a digital membership. A committee has been meeting with Don Cole to assess the financial impact these new memberships will have on club finances. The zoom poll we’ve taken (more than once!) has further allowed us to gauge how YOU feel about live meetings, once or when we can resume, as well as livestream meetings. As we craft what these new memberships will look like and assess the needed dues to run our club, I want to touch on what these potential new member categories will look like. A Niles Rotary remote membership is one that considers those who have moved away or cannot physically attend a meeting due to one’s physical circumstances. It will encourage involvement in meetings when the eligible Rotarian is in town as well as encourage participation in the Elimination Raffle and community service projects if and when able. We would also like the club to consider a Niles Rotary digital membership. This membership would allow members to watch our meetings once live meetings resume, via livestream. Different than that of an eClub, this membership could include a requirement to attend a live meeting once a month, a social event as well as the elimination raffle, and the opportunity to attend our demotions as well as travel with Niles Rotarians attending the international convention.
While we consider such new memberships, we are also very aware of the need to socialize face to face. After all, which one of us does not miss seeing our fellow Rotarians at a lunch meeting or social / community services event. As we embrace the flexibility that Rotary International President Holger Knaack encourages, we continue to value the face-to-face fellowship that binds us and keeps us “Niles Strong.”
As we continue to zoom, please continue to Bloom!