Until the smoke settles!

June 2011

Ray Klinginsmith, President, Rotary International

There was a time when gunpowder smoke was so thick on battlefields that it was difficult to determine the victors until the smoke settled. Evaluating the success of this year in Rotary is similar because we won’t learn the final figures until the year has ended. However, there are some achievements that can be reviewed – before the smoke settles!

The major accomplishment has been the creation of a new culture of innovation, which has encouraged both Rotarians and RI staff members to review our policies and procedures at all levels and to determine if they are truly best practices or merely traditional practices. Many changes toward more modern business methods have resulted, and I am encouraged by our progress.

The innovative climate has produced a simplified and streamlined RI Strategic Plan that calls for us to support and strengthen our clubs, focus and increase humanitarian service, and enhance public image and awareness. The first two priorities reaffirm our core values, and the third priority recognizes the need for more public awareness and support in our local communities around the world. The plan has measurable goals, and it provides an excellent road map for Rotary’s future growth and development.

Other improvements have included the new regional Rotary coordinators, whose job is to help our district governors to help our clubs to become Bigger, Better, and Bolder. The new Presidential Citation program has provided a score sheet for all of our clubs to test themselves against the other clubs in their districts, and the results will be very helpful to both the current and incoming governors – and to RI as well!

We also have given additional attention to our New Generations programs, particularly Rotaract and Rotary Youth Exchange, and we have focused more emphasis on the Reach Out to Africa initiative. We also have shaped a new approach for the training of incoming district governors and more meaningful assignments for past district governors.

All in all, we have made some significant improvements. But the most important question is whether we have paved the way for an even better year next year. Have we done the right things to ensure that the best days of Rotary are still ahead? And we won’t know that – until the smoke settles!

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