My fraternity is in trouble, we have a brotherhood of just over 30 guys and despite the best efforts of a small but highly motivated core group we seem to be unable to find success in securing either social standing or recruitment success at our university.
My question is what can be done to try and turn this around? We have the motivation but our chapter has been small and very weak since before we arrived. We have basically been starting from scratch with everything. Any advice greatly appreciated.
The problem your chapter has is the same problem a lot of people have in life. A lot of people who are below-average will try every possible gimmick to get better. They will try 100 different things that will ultimately result into nothing. People who are average become complacent. They are ok with where they are in life, so they don’t strive to improve. As such, they get stuck in a rut and slowly drift back to being below average.
Neither group knows how to improve their situation. This is exactly what plagues many chapters.
Improvement, or growth, is what separates winners from losers.
Your chapter is in a rut. Unfortunately your chapter is in the loser category right now. For someone motivated, this is the best situation possible. Let me explain with another analogy:
In my professional career, I have to change jobs from time to time. When I do, I don’t look to go to a job where everything is running smoothly. It is hard to improve those situations. It is harder for me to show my value and make a difference.
Because of that, I look for shit-shows. I want the job to be a mess, and I want to be the hero who rides in on a white horse to clean it up. There are obvious and not-so-obvious benefits here…
The obvious is it is not hard to show a dramatic improvement when turning around a disaster. It is easy to make your mark this way. The not-so-obvious is this experience will lead to personal growth. I will challenge myself in a less-than-ideal situation, which will make me a better leader in the long-run.
Bringing it back to fraternity – you have a great opportunity. You are going into a situation where the potential is great and the ceiling for achievement is low. If you are motivated, it isn’t hard to find great success and personal growth. You are in a great spot.
So how do you get better?
Above all else, become really good at one thing. Whatever you guys are about – do it better than every other group on your campus. This is what you will become known for. If you don’t really have one special interest, pick something and dedicate yourself to it.
My advice is to pick something that matters. Be the guys known for leadership by trying to take over the leadership positions of as many groups on campus. Or be the guys known for athletics by excelling at intramurals and by recruiting varsity athletes. Or be the guys who are known for academics because you have the best GPA on campus. Or be known as the guys who excel at philanthropy by coming up with the next ice-bucket challenge.
Whatever you pick, make it your thing. Focus on it. Live it. Love it. Breathe it. Be consumed by it.
And if you do that, you will excel at this one thing. You will get better and better at it because this will be the focus of your entire organization. You will get known on campus for this thing, and you will start to be able to recruit guys who have the same interest.
By getting better and better, you will be growing as a chapter. The brothers will be happy because they will be winning. They will become more engaged because everyone likes to be part of a winner. They will also become happier because the chapter will stop putting such importance on BS that no one likes because the majority of your focus will be on this one thing.
And before long, you will become experts at this one thing. When that happens, growth becomes more challenging. You will need to add to your chapter’s priorities and become experts at two things. Then you keep repeating the cycle and keep growing.
This needs to be the plan. Your Chapter President needs to make sure the chapter stays on task and remains committed and focused to this goal. It won’t always be easy, but if you stay committed there will be great results. This is how you improve your chapter, and eventually make your fraternity the best on campus.