Turn your horses loose

“Chi Psi wants not parts of men but men of parts.”

I’ve pondered this quote for quite some time. But today, I think I’ve got an explanation for you that will help take your Alpha to new heights.

(This idea is derived from the Program for Excellence concept many of you learned about at Convention. Keep an eye out for the new Program for Excellence manual, which will be up on the ChiPsi.org site within the week!)

Every single Brother in your Alpha has interests and passions of his own outside of Chi Psi. Most Brothers nationwide are involved in at least one organization outside of the Fraternity. Some Brothers are really into sports, other Brothers enjoy music and still others love video games, politics, reading or service.

Your challenge? Channeling your Brothers’ interest and passions into an improved Fraternal experience for all Brothers in your Alpha.

The Pareto principle dictates that 20% of your Brothers will do 80% of the work for your Alpha. I cringe when I think about that because the best possible fraternal experience can only happen when every Brother contributes. Chances are there are many ‘horses’ in your Alpha that are bright, charismatic and caring but their skill sets go untapped because they are not on the Executive Committee or hold a chairman position. How do we fix this? Get every Brother to do ONE thing.

I repeat… get each Brother in your Alpha to do ONE thing that will improve the overall experience for every Brother.

For example, let’s take a look at the kinds of Brothers you will find in most Alphas and the accompanying reasons why they cannot get involved. (DISCLAIMER: This is clearly an over-generalization and is not to be taken literally…but you get the idea)

1) Mr. I’m too busy with schoolwork to get involved

– Spending all of his time cooped up at the library, this Brother routinely makes the Dean’s list. Encourage him to reserve study rooms at the library. Hosting executive committee, pledge education or other meetings at the library sets the tone of ‘we mean business’ and improves productivity. This Brother might also be knowledgeable about the university’s academic resources. He should communicate this knowledge to struggling Brothers, new members and anyone who takes their grades seriously (cough everyone cough)

2) Mr. I check my facebook every five minutes no matter where I am

– Whether it be by smart-phone, laptop, or library computer, this Brother can’t get enough of that beautiful facebook blue. His day is made when a notification pop up appears on the welcome page. Why not put this Brother in charge of the Alpha’s facebook page. Better yet, make him the administrator for the Alpha’s website. Task him with ‘friending’ every alumnus of your Alpha as a starting point of gathering alumni data.

3) Mr. I’m too involved on campus to you even stop and talk to you right now because I’m on my way to a meeting

– This Brother knows everyone there is to know on campus… if only he had time to interact with them on a human level. Challenge this Brother to put his connections to use. If he is in a business or service fraternity, ask him to provide a contact so that you can start the dialogue about a joint service event. If the university’s programming board is bringing an esteemed speaker or performer to campus, see if Chi Psi can partner with the university to help the marketing campaign or help plan an accompanying event.

4) Mr. I live at the gym/ rec center

– The rec center is prime area for making new friends. Get this Brother involved on the recruitment committee and see if he can’t orchestrate groups of Brothers going to the gym/rec center together. There is no easier way to make a new friend than partnering up for a pickup basketball game. If you’ve got a recruit that loves hitting the weights, see if this guy can’t become the recruit’s workout partner.

5) Mr. I go to every Football, Basketball and Baseball game because I’ve got so much school spirit

– This Brother just can’t seem to get enough of the band, the fight song and your schools colors. More often than not, he doesn’t understand why nobody else seems to care about ____ University’s athletic teams. Encourage this Brother to set up a tailgate or coordinate a group of Brothers going to the game together. Maybe they can have a pre-game paint-up party where everyone gets in the spirit. See if he’s got any contacts within the athletic department. Maybe the Alpha is just a phone call away from doing a fundraising event with the girls volleyball team.

6) Mr. Fantasy Football

– This Brother usually goes missing the last few weeks of August while he prepares for his September 1st fantasy draft. When he resurfaces, see if you can get him to set up some football leagues for Brothers, Alumni, Recruits and ‘friends of Chi Psi.’ While people are checking their teams every week, have this Brother post a message about upcoming events. You can never underestimate the little things that people do together that lead them to being lifelong friends… or becoming Brothers.

7 ) Mr. I like to argue with everything you say because clearly my ideas are better

– This Brother usually sits near the back of the meeting room and contends with every idea that comes up. Your response? Charge him with planning a ‘debate night.’ See if one of your Brothers is in a debate or public speaking class and recruit him to give a 10 minute overview of debate fundamentals. Then, have Mr Arguer come up with head-to-head matchups and fun topics to debate. Pepsi or Coke. Biggie or Tupac. Wendys or McDonalds. College football or NFL. Have Brothers vote after the debates and the grand prize winner could get a $50 gift card to the local bookstore or restaurant.

8 ) Mr. I’m hanging out with my girlfriend right now (and always)… so maybe next time

– This Brother uses his girlfriend as an excuse to never get involved. Turn the tables on him by having him plan a date night. Challenge him to use a favorite date of his and his girlfriends and expand it to include every Brother and their date. Maybe they like visiting a certain restaurant and going to a movie afterwards. Make this a group event and give him no excuse for not coming because his girlfriend gets to come too.

9) Mr. I’ve always got the new cool thing

– This Brother always has the latest phone, laptop, clothing or car. For the sake of this example, I’m going to lean on our car-loving Brothers. Encourage this Brother to recruit other ‘coolest cars on campus’ and host a car show in the parking lot of the Lodge (or football overflow parking lots for our Lodge-less Alphas.) Badabing! All the sudden you have lots of cool cars, all of your Brothers around and plenty of guests. My bet is that a number of those guests will also double as potential new members.

Hopefully you get the idea by now…

You might have noticed that there are only 9 listed above. I’m a round-numbers kind of guy, so I challenge you to add a 10th to this list. If you’ve got more, keep ’em coming. There are infinite ways to get Brothers involved. What are your ideas?


3 responses to “Turn your horses loose

  1. How about the guy that always tells ridiculous stories for the 4th or 5th time to you even though you really don’t want to hear it again? (looks at a pledge brother…)

    Also, very well written article. I know of quite a few people that fall into these categories and this is a great way to get them to pitch in.

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