Record of New Member Rotary Growth

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New memberships, in Edmonton Strathcona Rotary Club progressed with six mindful hacks.

We began moving together from the premise that the brain changes itself when we act on key changes we seek!

Apply that concept to new Rotary memberships in our club and we observed the need for the entire club to actively help us increase membership well suited for new era service. To test this hypothesis in our first new member’s session, we armed all participants with atwo-footed question to discover differences among our members!

Our new question, How are you smart? replaced the traditional question, How smart are you? The new question relied on multiple intelligences and a rebooted idea of IQ as fluid, not fixed, to impact our service initiatives. We recorded interactions in a brief video.

Armed with these new insights, the Edmonton Strathcona Rotary Rotarian in District 5370, known as “The Friendly Club” launched an initiative to increase members and invite more and younger guests. After a brief introductory session to start a buzz for this idea, several Rotarians suggested we invite guests to another interactive session with the brain in mind, which we did.

We scheduled our former and newer participant mix for an interactive,inter-generational session on April 24th.Together we planned to LEAD ROTARY INNOVATION WITH THE BRAIN IN MIND.

With integrated ages in the session, we surveyed our multiple intelligences, tossed in a dose of serotonin, the brain’s wellbeing chemical, and enjoyed a growth mindset outcome together! Over lunch we planned service project ideas that engaged unique multiple intelligences from within each team.

From the outset we expected fun and useful interactions as teams designed service opportunities for a new era, all while discovering how each team member is smart, by rejuvenated brain based definitions of talented,skilled or intelligent. Supported by our club members, and energized by younger guests, we facilitated brain based tactics below to co-lead our club into open spaces for new members to find as well as help develop new meanings with us.

Here’s the skinny: We …

Identified a question that will interest participants of all ages and backgrounds. Questions will differ from club to club, but ours was tested out ahead for interest across ages and backgrounds. What question will connect diverse generations and backgrounds with service they might engage together at your club?

Connected our question to service possibilities by inviting each diverse team of 8 or so members to develop a service project that would use the multiple intelligences their group represented.

Shared service project ideas from each and discussed how these would draw from the unique intelligences of each participant in that team.

Enriched our Rotary club with a list of service projects generated during this session. Rather than topics that would all be rolled out –instead we used the list to guide future service being considered. The list ensures we gather projects more suited to our new era, which is vastly different in nature than the era when Rotary was founded.

With less than an hour and about 65 members + guests to engage, we stopped there. Members left with a practical takeaway after identifying their multiple intelligences and spotting strengths and weaker areas. We also discussed strategies for strengthening each intelligence personally by using that intelligence more on any day. Sample tasks were provided as suggested ways to get started.

New Memberships: Where Edmonton StrathconaClub Progressed with Mindful Hacks

We continued our new member initiative by brainstorming what mental triggers boost our brain’s capacity to nab chances and unleash personal and club potential? And we questioned what hacks would help us here?

We wondered what would happen, for instance, if we collaborated across generations to identify our group strengths and then build on members’ assets as a way to develop our Rotary club into a robust, inter-generational community.

A keen strength we built upon here is interpersonal or social intelligence.

For example, our club members are known for enormous friendships among those in the club already, and warm welcome to newcomers or guests who stop by to check out our club.

Initially, we set out to nab chances for growth by designing innovative hacks that would increase diverse voices. In our goal to build a more robust community we valued our traditions by building upon Rotary roots. We also risked fresh advances from established voices and incoming members.

Our new member goal is far broader than signing up new recruits for the sake of numbers. We hoped to bring younger and senior generations together and to build stellar foundations in a wider vision of progress that bridges generations, and that is shared by the entire club.

To accomplish our goal of a robust membership where current members thrived and new recruits found value, we drew upon a more current concept of human intelligence to bring cultures together.

Our initiatives included six hacks which would characterize several new-member interactive sessions.

Hack 1: Facilitate all members to “Speak up and feel heard about their unique talents and preferences.” Then act on what is learned from this proliferation of voices and capabilities.

To share insights across generations, members and guests completed a multiple intelligence survey, which affirmed the social strengths that characterize our group. The next step was to apply what we learned in ways that benefit all members as we build together.

You could say we crafted neurological shifts to move out of comfort zones that can cause stagnation. To act deliberately from within a fully charged working memory,for instance, we worked in teams to suggest service projects we may do together over time.

Growth is a team effort in our club and insights come from many members. We surveyed the whole group, gathered their preferences in small groups, and then moved to a new location that creates better ambiance.

Next we organized a BBQ social at the home of a volunteer new membership committee member.

We invited new members and their sponsors, along with several prospective members and their partners. Our Rotary club funded the event, which became such a hit we planned these gatherings to take place twice each year to hear more from newcomers.

Using our survey we designed meetings to engage participants’ multiple intelligences as well as to celebrate strengths and grow from weaker areas in the club membership.

Any changes carried out at the club came from ongoing leadership initiatives and consequential member preferences. In this way, and as we continue to listen with our brains,more folks of all generations find opportunities to speak up and feel heard at our weekly meetings.

Hack 2: Optimize members and newcomers’ strengths to take new risks.

We held team discussions to unpack what members think of Rotarian truth, and how they use it to serve others. We offered a $50.00 draw for new prospectives and their sponsors at a new member gathering.

We discussed specific ways that our basal ganglia locks us into habits and routines, while working memory equips us to take risks, play with new ideas and innovate.

We played a “gender circle” game to discover service differences across genders. We tossed two-footed questions into the ring to explore new angles to the 4-way test of things members think say and do. We asked, for example: Is your truth also my truth, and if so, how so? When have you observed something visibly fair to all concerned? In your estimation what adds to or stalls goodwill and better friendships? When did you lead or experience a real situation that was genuinely fair to all concerned?We recognized the brain’s propensity to stick to traditions rather than risk changes for growth. We also saw the need for change that will accommodate diverse members in a new era.

We shared with Rotarians in our club how the brain’s chemical dopamine rises to help us risk further and enjoy the rewards of our risks to grow. How do we increase levels of dopamine so that we enjoy change and help to shape new neuron pathways forward together? It’s simple. Take one risk, such as inviting a new member to Rotary meetings, and dopamine awakens to help you take more risks that will grow a stronger and more robust club.

We hope that as more Rotarians of all backgrounds and ages awaken more working memory, we’ll also enjoy closer friendships and care, that together we will spike increased dopamine (the brain’s reward chemical that fuels our mind to risk ongoing changes). Used for the sake of growth and service to one another and service beyond our club, we launched opportunities to build a curiosity mindset for ongoing growth and improvements beyond our basal ganglia comfort zones. See the video illustrations below to see the brain’s operation we optimized here.

Hack 3: Exchange traditional Rotary talks at times for meaningful interactions across current members and prospective members. The brain changes itself to accommodate new membership growth when we act on new ideas, rather than merely listen to these. Diversity is the key to success here, so we want to engage all participants.

Next we carried service topics submitted by teams, and used these service interests to plan the second session around the notion of barriers to change and meld together new and senior Rotarians. And, while our amygdala store’s the team’s emotions, moods and reactions to collaborative service, our new member committee is not mandated to facilitate service projects raised. We are all leaders at Rotary clubs and service projects get generated by our members and approved by our board. The new member or brain based approaches, simply nudges together new and established members in a brainstorming opportunity to craft service possibilities that will fit Rotary’s role in a new era well.

Our brief videos remind us that change works best when it is facilitated by members and is engaged and impacted by members.

Innovation that it takes to expand a well founded Rotary club requires the brain to operate different equipment, and each innovative action taken changes the chemical and electrical circuitry of the brain.
Our actions determine, for instance whether the brain produces toxic fuels or aha, wellbeing –all because of the actions taken by participants.

Hack 4: Explore the role of our amygdala for maintaining emotional intelligence in the club. For instance the amygdala acts on stored reactions. So each time we act kindly to people around us, we store care as an instinctive reaction in similar settings. The opposite is also true. Arrogant responses to situations will store further arrogance for a future response.

That leads to the new question, How can we snip the amygdala before we snipe back?And it’s likely no surprise that the clubs that tame their amygdala will also be clubs that engage new and diverse members at deeper levels.

Most would agree that our organizational needs have changed so that past practices may not work so well for future progress.

In order to expand an organizational culture it’s time to shift our tutoring approaches to reflect more balanced and reciprocal coaching. Mind-guiding, detailed in Wiley Publisher’s new international handbook on mentoring (due in 2019), offers a form of mutual coaching for new members and new ideas to flourish in ways that benefit all concerned.

This approach is playful in nature, and it differs from traditional mentorship in that mind-guides are not selected on entitlement, age or seniority.

They also avoid any we-they dichotomies. Mind-guiding’s reciprocal learning-leading democratic process highlights new neural pathways to innovative results for all concerned. How so?

Next we carried service topics submitted by teams, and used these service interests to plan the second session around the notion of barriers to change from within our brains! Emphasis remains on fun, service and incredible Rotary brainpower for both of these!

Our brains come equipped with plasticity which fuels and sustains the changes that meld together new and senior Rotarians. And our amygdala stores the club’s emotions, moods and reactions to new membership benefits.

As part of our brain based approach, we discussed how neuro-plasticity rewires the brain to change itself whenever we take new approaches. We also considered examples of our amygdala that stores emotions,moods and reactions.

Imagine an innovative mentorship that includes a new way to lead big ideas, a novel approach to learn from unique talents that include multiple intelligences, in a mutual stage or setting for clever results across new and traditional teams.

Hack 5: Teach one another mutually and across unique strengths and differences.

Both experts and upstarts claim to see unlimited potential in shared wisdom. Yet seasoned mentors advise clever cronies to operate much like themselves, in spite of rapidly changing horizons. Do you see the potential for stagnation here?

In contrast, mind-guiding is based on mutual brainpower potential, and experience from differences, rather than on imparting traditional values in a one-way exchange. In a symbiotic learner-teach role, or “mind-guide to the side, replaces the mentor as “sage-on-a-stage”.

Gender preferences and interests stoke proposals from creative capabilities on both sides of the brain. Technology changes how brains learn and how mind-guides lead. Brainpower increases as multiple intelligences expand in the interactive mind-guide listening process.

A mind-guide mantra is Ask, ask, ask!Participants question with two feet to draw out unique contributions, which become doable big picture solutions applied. We implement what’s learned, and thereby engage unused areas in the prefrontal cortex to organizes and prioritize what we discover.

Hack 6: Learn from one another in a toxic-free setting, by deliberate insertion of serotonin.

Expect differences to emerge and learn from these. Music as well as speech impacts learning for instance, and both can motivate participants within the mind-guiding process.

A possibility tone helps mind-guides step back from heated situations, tame an amygdala(the brain’s warehouse for emotions), to hear controversial issues through the other person’s perspective. Awesome rewards come to organizations that mix different communication approaches.

Mind-guides tend to laugh at themselves easily –yet run from humor that diminishes others, for instance. They focus more than most mentorships do –on spreading serotonin chemicals, which increase the brain’s well being. Serotonin and other neurotransmitters for aha insights support mind-guides’ learning and leading skills. It starts small with an effort to express and learn from opposing and integrated views on topics raised.

Social media offers more integrated views on mind-guiding topics.For that reason, a wider and more holistic approach has altered what people come to crave in the kind of opposing views often presented by radio stations such as NPR or CBC.

Mind-guiding improves the brain’s hard-wiring for organizational expansion. Each time a person interacts with others and with new insights, that strengthens a unique capability to interact with additional new ideas and with different approaches.

You’ve likely noticed that –in each brain-powered tool above, diversity and rawboned talent become mental assets for more than what mentoring views as minions’ benefit. In mind-guiding approaches –both sides learn in all sessions, and both sides also lead at times.

How could typical mentoring practices –morph into mutually beneficial learning opportunities in mind-guiding that refreshes your organization with new ideas that benefit all members? Would a brochure help mind-guides enjoy the process more?

Truth and leadership were still alive and well at our interactive newcomer Rotary meeting on Oct 10th,at the U of A Faculty Club. So was democracy as person after person shared the meaning of truth in their lived experiences. It takes tons of planning and deliberate focus on shared leadership to bring many voices to critical issues, such as TRUTH in an equitable way. We did it together!

Our goal was simple.Have fun, get to know others in new ways, examine truth through: our experiences; a few fun brain facts; gender differences to see if women and men share similar truths, and Rotary service opportunities.

We discussed unique ways to value Rotary’s treasured traditional foundations, while venturing forward at the same time to consider shared strategies that will keep Rotary relevant for ourselves and for others in a new era.

Our guiding video question asked:Do you see your gender in this comedian’s idea of brain facts for men and women?
Tables teamed to help us look at truth in Rotary’s focus of SERVICE ABOVE SELF.

We used talking sticks to ensure all Rotarians and guests found opportunities to speak up and feel heard!

Our topics included: Well-being, STEAM, End of life quality; Literacy skills; and, New membership for Rotary. Rotarians then pitched their service project proposals to the whole group. We closed by reciting our Rotarian 4-way-test with new appreciation, thanks to so many who shared.

Thanks to the talent our club poured action into awesome photos of our event and for our video that will follow! Thanks to members who tracked new participants, and to those who set up terrific spaces that allowed us to move, meet new members, laugh and think together!

Thanks to gifted IT members. We had experts who hung in for us when the technology went south! Thanks all for leading us and filling in gaps! Thanks Rotarians for your grace and service to each of those who came to interact with us and, thanks for greeting folks and helping at the door. Where to from here? Let’s decide service projects,together as we collaboratively build on truths and new membership visions we started here!

We opened with the question: What makes Rotary a unique leadership group to lead TRUTH?

Valued members of our club along with new members invited
The changes we seek to expand our club and grow new ideas will benefit all and be led by all.

What hacks can gain and sustain new members while moving stagnant groups into mindful Rotarian leaders?