Thursday, 29 August 2013

Further thoughts on the Need for Change

Over recent weeks I have been regularly talking to Rotarians about the need for change as we explore Engage Rotary - Change Lives and the alternative phrase Engage Change -  Rotary Lives.

Change is one of the constants in our lives, it's a natural part of the cycle of life.  It was Longfellow that said " All things must change to something new, to something strange".  It's this strangeness, the uncertainty, the unknown, that sometimes means we need to give change a hand.

We can very easily get in a rut, become to comfortable, complacent and think that nothing could be better than what we have now.  But so often as Kathleen Norris suggests disconnecting  from change and trying to hark back to the past does not work, "It loses the future".   What might be, what could be, the development process that takes us into the strangeness.

Some may ask why we need to consider change?  Take a look around, do we really want to carry on damaging each other, our planet and perhaps our futures?   Do we want the number of Rotary members to continue to dwindle away as our communities demands increase? As Prof Irwin Carey says " If we don't change direction soon, we'll end up where we're going ..."  

The world around us is changing, technology, communications, peoples increased expectations are all part of the change processes going on. 

So how do we give change a hand?
We can take a look at where we are now and ask where we want to be in the future and then do something about it.
We could wait for natural evolution to take its course, but do we have the time? Some form of active revolution may be required.
We need to listen to those with a vision of how a future might be and grasp their ideas.  Some may work, others not but to do nothing is not an option.

Andy Warhol said that "They always say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself."

So perhaps Apple was right and the quote below, shown in the video, needs to be taken even more seriously now than ever.

"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them. Disagree with them. Glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world Are the ones who do. "   

Rotarians are changing the world; ending polio, providing clean water and sanitation, educating young women, and much much more .....  We have to be able to continue this work for many years to come. 

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Travels in our District - Part 1

Motorways are now seen as the arteries of the country.  In Cumbria & Lancashire we are lucky have the relatively quiet section of the M6 together with its links to the Fylde and the Ribble valley.

Talking to a number of  Past Rotary District Governors it would seem that before the motorways travelling through our district before was a great adventure or perhaps, occasionally,  a nightmare.   Whilst traffic was less the times taken to travel North to South would be that much longer.

Reflecting on the road network in the district I recalled some of the changes I have been involved in over the years.  Making sure that the A590 went to the M6 rather than being hidden away at the end of the Levens diversion.  Being told off for taking an A6**  road across the wrong side of the naming divide.

In this time of sat navs many of you may not know the rule of thumb of road numbering.  If you’re between the A6 and the A5 numbers will be A5**, if between the A1 and A6 we have the A6**.  So allowing the Carlisle Northern Development Route to be called the A689 is probably a no-no for the purist.   If you want to find out more about this rather unusual topic take a look at

Here’s a thought;  could the map be the basis of a redistricting exercise for Rotary with roads as the defining boundary feature rather than political or geographical boundaries.   Adding in some of the key east-west and north-south routes might result in some interesting areas…… 

Sunday, 4 August 2013

The Nature of Change

Reflecting on the first month as DG I am excited that clubs seem to be up for the challenges we face as an organisation membership retention and growth and the development of the use of our Rotary Foundation

These challenges will require strong leadership to manage the changes that are needed.

We already have many of the tools we need at our disposal and more are on the way.  We just need the will to succeed, the trust to take action and to overcome the fear of change.

Our successful membership seminar held on the 9th July has already acted as a catalyst for some clubs to start the process of taking a look at how and what they do.  Others are telling us that they are determined to get closer to their own communities.  The process of Engaging Rotary has started.

The leadership seminar being planned for October needs to provide yet another boost to those individual Rotarians who realise that if we Engage Change Rotary Lives.

All of this activity led me to think about Johari’s Window – that tool for self disclosure and personal development that can often be used in an organisational context

It works by encouraging us to ask others about what might be holding us back and telling colleagues what we feel about the need for change

 So in the Rotary context, for self replace Club Rotarians for others why not try the new or prospective Rotarian. The area of shared discovery can be scary but ultimately fulfilling.   It is where the future of Rotary lies – in the unknown.