Just One Thing!

Many of us have enjoyed the movie City Slickers, the tale of a group of friends seeking answers on a visit to a Dude Ranch.  One of the key moments in the movie is the “one thing” speech by Curly, aka, Jack Palance.  If you are not familiar with it, or would just like to revisit Curly’s thoughts on life, just visit this link.  “Just One Thing”  Like most good comedy, under the humor is a truth we cannot really deny.  I had a similar experience recently with a number of my peers at the Service Club Leaders Conference.  

This year, 16 service club organizations spent the weekend discussing the issues we all face, with the support and insight from a number of excellent trainers and speakers.  We were challenged to consider what our “one thing” truly is.  What is the most important thing we do?  What is the one thing we do best? 

As I work with the Board to define a plan for our 2nd Century of Service, these have become critical questions.  So I have been thinking a lot about the question of the “one thing.”  It is not an easy question, during 100 years of service Sertoma has grown and expanded in so many ways that defining a single vision or focus is a challenge. 

Toward that end, we have recently been deeply involved in planning the new convention programming for leadership development. But the need for a defined and shared focus for the entire organization has become clear during this process.  That work by the Board has me and staff considering in our role – what would be our “one thing.” At the top of the list was to provide the very best support, training and materials possible for our members.  But how do we provide the best support for all our members if we don’t at some level share a focus? 

I would not expect my jeweler to help me with a car problem, and I really don’t want my mechanic working on my creaky shoulder joint.  If we are truly to provide the best support, we need to focus on what our members need.  But to do that, there needs to be a shared focus among all members, which in turn will provide a reference for the training, materials and programs we develop. 

This is not simple, but our ability to assure a 2nd Century of Service, build a brand, and grow this great organization will be based on what we share, not what makes us different.  Your Sertoma Board is doing extraordinary work that will provide a plan for Sertoma and an example for the leadership of every club.  I am excited to be part of this effort.  Along with the rest of the staff, I invite every club and member to join this effort to launch a 2nd Century of Sertoma Service at our convention in April 2012.   

Yours in Service

Steven Murphy
Executive Director



One thought on “Just One Thing!

  1. Yes, it has been a challenge for your Sertoma Board to get 14 people to agree on a single core value, vision, etc for our diverse organization as we move into our second century of service. Why is that? Just look at our name: SERvice TO MAnkind! What kind of service should we provide? Exactly who is mankind? To make matters worse look at our motto: Make Life Worthwhile. How do we make life worthwhile? Whose life? What is worthwhile?
    I don’t think there are many members who object to the concept that we do need a national focus and that we need to promote that not only to build brand, but to attract others who share that focus into joining our clubs or at least helping us in our fund raising efforts. I do feel that there is a misconception that we are trying to limit what clubs can do and that is not the case. We realize that all of our clubs were built on the concept of Service to Mankind in whatever form that meant. In my idea of a strong organization all Sertoma clubs must do what they can to promote and support our national Hearing Health mission, and at the same time they can continue to support their local needs and concerns. It doesn’t have to be all or none. We can have a national focus and all work and support that while at the same time helping our local communties where they need our help.

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