Yesterday I led an officer transition coaching session with the new council officers at Nebraska Wesleyan University. One of the new leaders asked how to get information from their predecessor, especially when a former officer is elusive and hard to pin down. This may come up for many new leaders, so here are the four things I shared with them:
At some point in their term, most fraternity/sorority leaders eventually become overwhelmed. Too many projects. Too many commitments. Too little time. No clear next step. And formerly grand visions that seem much more daunting now that it’s time to do the work. The single most important thing you can do in this moment is plan. Dedicate a significant block of time, and sit down to think through every little detail that needs to happen. David Allen would suggest that once you get everything out of your head and down on paper, your stress level immediately drops.
Are you stuck? Do you need an expert on a specific topic? Could you use a dose of inspiration? Wondering where to find outside help? Want to keep up on the latest in fraternity/sorority life?
If you're a chapter or council officer, you need to be ready for anything that comes your way. That means starting out by establishing a connection to all the people with whom you might work during your term. At the very least, get these people into your phone, your emai, your contact list, and your planner:
School is back in session, and it's time to get started! But how can you be sure to end your term on a high note?
There are a few basic steps that new fraternity and sorority officers often overlook when returning for Part 2 of their term. Don't let the simple things spoil your legacy - find out how to hit every goal you have for the semester!
I met Karen in first grade, and she quickly became my best friend. I remember being so excited every time we got the chance to play together, and I remember how much I hated it when one of us had to go home. I wanted Karen to be a part of everything I did: swimming, dancing, playing tag and hide-and-go-seek. At times when we weren’t allowed to play together, it though the world was about to end. It seemed as if I would we never be able to play Barbies again! When I went off to college and joined a sorority, I felt the same way about my new sisters. New member education was new, exciting, and always fun! I attended every single activity and wanted to be on every possible committee. I signed up for everything, and if I was unable to attend, it felt as if my world had ended. Just like my friendship with Karen, I was thrilled about becoming involved with a group of sisters that would be a major part of my life forever.
I like my couch. It's comfortable. It's familiar. If it were possible, I could lay there for weeks at a time. It's in exactly the right spot in my living room, and everything I need is at my fingertips: my Chex-mix, my drink, and the remote control. At some point, though, it will be time to snap into action. There's no question: work needs to be done - I need to move - I'll be happier later for getting up now. But there are a million forces sucking me back down. There are only 15 minutes left in this show. My head hurts. I'll have time to do that later. There's another episode of Jersey Shore on next.
After a 44 year absence, the North Korean soccer team finally returned to the World Cup in 2010, only to lose three games in a row and return home. This is a crushing story for the country, but it is also to be expected for any team’s first appearance in a major tournament. Unfortunately, officials in North Korea didn’t see the same silver lining. According to a story on ESPN today, “The team and coach Kim Jong-Hun were summoned to a July 2, six-hour meeting at the People's Palace of Culture in Pyongyang and subjected to severe criticism.” Team members were confronted in front of 400 onlookers before being forced to reprimand their coach. The coach was also chastised by officials for betraying the country’s leaders.
I read Awesomely Simple by John Spence today. It is an excellent book that contains some of the best lessons that I learned in his "Strategies for Success" workshop, along with a few additional insights that he has discovered over the years. One quote in the chapter about developing a "Vivid Vision" particularly struck me: "If the vision is written down in a hundred places, painted on banners, and carved in a giant rock in front of the building but is not a living part of the culture, then it is the same as not having one."