A Vision Putting an Idea into Concrete Terms

 

What do we need a vision for?

 

A nonprofit-organisation like C41/OT depends on communication in order to live its inside and outside existence. For a club like C41/OT it is decisive to have its  internal positioning defined and fixed in its members' heads as well as the external positioning in the awareness of non-members. "This positioning settles where and how a serviceclub is to be retrieved in the heads of potential members and the public."[1] This view is supported by Kurt Schmid, a communication's scientist as he says: "If an extraordinary positioning is translated in an extraordinary way, something fabulous happens. Communication strengthens the positioning and the positioning strengthens the communication. A kind of interaction between positioning and communication starts to take place. That's the way brands are made, myths come into being."[2]

 

And this takes us right to the point: to be something extraordinary, something unmistakeable, which in the heads of potential members is recognised undoubtedly and which in the members' heads acts as a  glue and can be lived up to. We do not want to be a marketed brand, but we do want to have a distinctive profile which is compatible with our expectations and ideas for the future. In how far this makes us a myth remains to be seen. Let us, for the moment, stick to our goal of gaining new members in  sufficient number and of  sufficient quality to  enable our club to further develop.

 

But what has up till now kept us from gaining such a profile? Has there been no desire for it, did it not make sense to us or was the club's idea not defined sufficiently? But one thing remains for sure: in all the different countries we encounter similar problems: it is hard to recruit new members and difficult to motivate the stock of existing members and to push ahead an ulterior development.

 

Therefore I would like to make you familiar with two thesis, which might contain an explanation for the present situation within C41/OT and maybe also an approach to a solution for the future. Among other things these two thesis have served as a starting point for the definition of the vision. They were also the basis for developing new thesis for a future positive development of C41/OT which I will present to you further on.

 

About Thesis Number 1:

 

For a better understanding we compare the situation of C41/OT with the role of a son of a young, dynamic and strong father. Step by step the son takes over tasks and goals of  his father. The son can even identify with these tasks and goals and goes into the father's succesful business. However, in terms of age, interests and requirements, the company's target group forms part of the father's world. It can by no means- be classed as belonging to the son's usual environment.

It is easy to gather that in this comparison Round Table embodies the role of the father, while C41/OT has the role of the son, as in fact it has emerged from Round Table. But let us come back to our example:

In the course of time an alienation between father and son starts taking place, the father's part of the company flourishes wheras the son's runs dry. In the areas, which have been taken over by the son even the problem of finding new blood arises, as these parts of the company do the same as the father's, being a copy without any iniciative on its own.

 

We could pursue the example of father and son a little longer, but I do not regard it as necessary, because conclusions can be drawn already which translated to the situation between C41/OT as son and Round Table as father could be expressed in the following way:

 

 Thesis Number 1 therefore runs: "Due to the freely subordinating role of the son C41/OT towards the father Round Table there has been no chance of building up own identities which could lead to the son's independence."

 

Therefore

 

        C41/OT has taken over most of Round Table's goals and tasks

 

                C41/OT could not develop its own objectives

 

                Existing identities have predominantly emerged from taking over Round Table memberships. 95% of C41/OT's members have directly come from Round Table.

 

                Most C41/OT's activities are tuned with Round Table. C41/OT has no topics on its own which can be lived independently. For the most part or even exclusively topics -if existing- are set by Round Table.

 

                An own vision from which own identities could emerge is missing. Existing (seeming) modes descend and have been taken over from Round Table.

 

                Questions of strength, compellingness and attractiveness are not asked, because as soon as activities take place the potential is covered by Round Table. This leads to a deficit in self-confidence and a lack of attractiveness for young subsequent Round Tablers and even external potential members.

 

We are hence dealing with a situation whre the son, e.g. C41/OT has not yet gained his independence and thus cannot build up his personal vial identity. The son lives but in the father's shadow and in essence is not very much socially attractive, being nothing but a bad copy of his father's and has no independent self-aware personality of his own. This kind of comparison makes us understand how sad our situation is.

 

Thesis Number 2:

"Most C41/OTs who still are in the so-called "active age" have not yet overcome the shock of not forming part of Round Table any more."

 

This explains why especially even young C41/OT members tend to be relatively inactive, and even shortly after joining the club many times are not present. Furthermore, it gives us a hint to why there is no C41/OT identity to be deducted. Round Table's identity cannot be overcome so easily, we drag it around with us for some time being an expelled Old Tabler under shock who in the absence of an alternative cannot build up an own new C41/OT identity.

Wether you mean to follow these inferences or not, all this leads inevitably to the claim of clearing the situation, redifining the objectives and shaping the new C41/OT identities.

 

But we are stilll in the phase of analysing the situation. Therefore we should ask ourselves what we want and what our goal is:

 

According to Simone Arnheiter's study this is about positioning C41/OT within society which enables C41/OT to live on and develop itself based on its social relevance and attractiveness and thus in consequence helps solve the problem of new members.

 

The target of the organisation "what are we here for?" and "what are our goals?" is defined as a vision[3] and only vaguely defined; in general it has taken over the important parts from Round Table. " One of the club's targets, among others, is to strengthen the awareness that everyone (each member) has taken on commitments towards the public and has to serve the public through social conduct or through activities which have a positive effect on the common good."[4]

 

Thus we put our reflections as well as the targets set by us into more concrete terms. They should be achieved by C41/OT and are the following:

 

                increase the external attractiveness for new members

 

                increase the internal attractiveness in order to

 

raise the member frequency

cultivate friendships

improve the cohesion

push identity within the club

achieve a better external presentation (facing the public)

 

                deal with urgent topics of our times based on friendship and mutual help, discuss them and act as opinion-formers furthermore assist where it  makes sense; in short this would mean:

"we face the problems of our times"

 

                another target is to give the individual clubs the possibility of defining attractive programmes (speaches, choice of topics, actions) by improving the network and by activating the personnel potential. Among other things, the following could emerge from this:

-         a stock-market for topics. A base for yearly programmes or main focus programmes for individual or several clubs or as a programme package on a national level

-         a stock-market for people and ressources. Is to inlcude contributions on people, speaches and topics on a national and international level. As a follow-up we could achieve an improved crossover thematical discussion on several current topics (like touring presentations, touring exhibitions, etc.,...) in short:

-         "we are strong and comprehensive, because we are aware that we have our own extensive potential in C41/OT."

 

As a sideline we would have created two identities had we already become aware of the above stated and put it into practice in our clubs.  I am positively aware that this is not a short-term project and that we are in need of several more bases. We from the group MIWT have thus given our thoughts on it and packed them into a vision. This vision is for us a prerequisite to make C41/OT more stable on the inside and more attractive on the outside and therefore serves as the basis for the ulterior development.

 

VISION AND THESIS

 

1.                 Club 41 is a club of former Round Table members and their friends.

The motto "adopt, adapt, improve" are binding to us.

 

2.                 We advocate to cultivate friendships within the club as well as on a national and international clublevel.

 

3.                 We are neutral regarding politics and confession

 

4.                 Our activities are crossover activities: local, national, international. We foster and support cultural and social works.

 

5.                 Our core issues are:

-         tolerance

-         mutual understanding

-         openness to the world

 

6.                 We are concerned actively with current topics and problems

 

7.                 The equality of all members is guaranteed, we use the familiar form of address.

 

8.                 Communication and diversity of professional and private interests are important to us.

 

We believe that by drawing up this vision and by its continuous and perpetual implementation and update on a national and international level the following becomes evident:

 

1.                 The concepts of values and bases for decision are summoned up

 

2.                 Common features which caracterise C41/OT have been emphasised

 

3.                 Visions for the future are present

 

4.                 The organisation's targets become more transparent  for the members and for the public.

5.                 The responsibilities of the non-profit organisationn C41/OT in the organisations' environment (competitors like Rotary, Lions, etc.,..)  are stressed.[5]

 

 

A vision creates the following benefits:

 

1.                 a vision enhances a wide range of performance measures.

 

2.                 A vision promotes change.

 

3.                 A vision provides a basis for a strategic plan.

 

4.                 A vision motivates individuals and facilitates the recruitment of talent.

 

5.                 A vision helps keep decision making in context.[6]

 

 

 Nothing remains to be added but the desire to translate all this into our reality

 

Hermann Proyer

Chairman MIWT

March 2000


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[1][1] Arnheiter Simone, diploma University of Innsbruck 6.11.98 Integrated Concept for Communication

[2] Ibd., Schmid Kurt, The Role of Communication in Positioning from an Advertising Agency's Point of View

[3] Arnheiter Simone, ibid. Page 5 and following

[4] Ibid.

[5] Demuth A. Unternehmensleitbild Ein-Stimmig, in the PR-magazine, issue no. 2, 1993, p. 13, diploma Arnheiter Simone, p. 66

[6] Lipton M, Demystifying the Development of an Organizational Vision. In Sloan Management Review, issue no. 4, vol. 37, 1966, p 84 f, in Diploma Arnheiter Simone, p. 66

 

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