The Managing Director said "you are joining Rotary" …"huh" I said that's for old blokes! Well now I'm an old bloke and I've been in Rotary for over 30 years... So what you may ask…!
I am now a member of my eighth Rotary Club and I have also been a member of clubs in five countries. So what has Rotary taught me and how might it help developing in your managers.
There are obvious advantages that come with being a Rotarian and they're not just about the old "its just for business networking". Sure that is an obvious outcome however I have seen plenty of inept members almost destroy the positive side of the opportunity by their behaviour in their Rotary club. If you join a club with the view of just selling your products and services to other members you may well be very disappointed. I have however over the years sold are large proportion of my services both as a financier and corporate trainer through my Rotary connections. What I have said is not contradictory.... its more a matter of how you go about things. People like to deal with individuals they can trust and in Rotary you gain trust and respect from the efforts you put in on behalf of your club and of course the projects they are involved in.
Firstly through involvement in the club projects you are exposed to how "true" and effective teams work. Because all members are volunteers there are no individuals with legitimate authority they can rely on. This also teaches you sound human relations skills as you need to work well with others who are likely to be fairly self sufficient and competent in their own right. You will also learn how to sell as you will need to sell you ideas on how to do things and also to sell your particular point of view on what should be accepted as a legitimate use of your time and what is not.
A Rotary club is run somewhat along similar lines to any company or organisation and if you accept positions in your club you will gain experience in financial control, secretarial duties, directorships and of course as president, a CEO. Even the position of Club sergeant teaches you crowd control and most of all... public speaking. If you think about it all activities involved in Rotary have parallels in your career however Rotarians will usually be a little kinder about helping you overcome your shortcomings than your company or boss will. If you are always late for meetings you may cop a small fine from your club sergeant however if you constantly do that at work and you may well get fired. Which way would you rather learn timeliness.
In Rotary you will be exposed to all kinds of leaders from autocrats to democrats. Learning how deal with a range of individuals in a work type scenario will always be valuable.
Where ever people gather there will be politics so you should (or will) learn and develop a great deal of political savvy as well. All clubs have disputes over issues as simple as where to meet, to as complicated as which types of charity or projects they should support or not. There are always more in need than there are resources available to help. Here you learn how to make hard decisions that really can impact on the lives of others.
Rotary is great training for managers!