Do you have a favourite coffee shop or restaurant, a place where they remember your name, and that your usual order is a hazelnut macchiato, or that you will always order the Malbec – whatever you are eating!
You keep coming back because they have created a friendly inviting atmosphere where you feel valued, respected and appreciated. It’s all about customer service that builds brand loyalty. It tells us that they put the customer at the heart of all they do, and that is those seemingly little things that make us feel as if we belong there.
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That’s what we want to happen in every Rotary club. That same feeling of belonging, of being part of something, being appreciated and remembered.
If we create that friendly, respectful, inclusive environment folk will enjoy their visit, be it to a club meeting or out on a service project and come again, and once they have joined they will stay!
That friendliness, feelings of respect and inclusivity stem from our core values of fellowship, diversity, leadership, integrity and service.
Our clubs, of whatever variety, are the shop window of those values, the place where they should be lived and experienced.
But too often they are not and Rotarians and future Rotarians feel excluded – you can’t sit there it’s Fred’s chair; their ideas are not appreciated – we can’t do that, it will never work; and their contributions and skills not valued – just sit on that committee and wait your turn to get involved with projects and leadership.
We have the opportunity as we grow Rotary to make sure that all new clubs have at their heart these core values, so that everyone can feel included, heard and valued. It is the basis on which clubs are formed and it is the way we retain members. No one will stay if they are belittled, ignored or not welcomed.
All too often when visiting clubs, I find aspects of disrespect and thoughtless words used. As well as ensuring all new clubs provide a lived experience of our values, we have to challenge those individuals and clubs who don’t.
To help us understand the actions that match those values there is a Values and Behaviours postcard to purchase from the online shop.
Making our values explicit in our behaviour and calling out those who don’t is all part of growing Rotary – individuals will only join and then stay if they have found ‘their’ place, and are valued in that place.
Our core values are integral to who we are – after all it is what Rotary is founded on!