“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”- Steve Jobs
It was incredibly disappointing to learn of Mr. Jobs’ death yesterday. I consider myself somewhat of an Apple junky/ Apple marketer’s dream! More than just making cool products, Steve Jobs created something radically different, and in doing so- inspired a generation. I think we could all really learn something from Jobs. Even in our Greek communities, his message can be utilized.
I have discussed my Greek journey many times throughout this blog, but in case you missed it here’s a quick recap- My chapter was comprised of the founding members of the the only nationally affiliated sorority on our campus. While it may not seem like a big deal to outsiders, especially non-Greeks, to us it was everything; and on our campus, it was radical. At our university, things were pretty set in stone- you didn’t mess with the status quo…until we did. Yes, it was difficult and yes we failed many times, but eventually we succeeded, and I truly believe that the school is better for it. Now, the university is expanding at rapid speed, almost too quickly to keep up. Am I saying that a new sorority on campus caused that chain reaction? Not necessarily…but maybe it sparked something, and maybe it got the ball rolling.
Mr. Job’s was 100% correct in his quote. You don’t have to think inside the box anymore. Having a problem with your Greek Life system? Don’t be afraid to make a change. Don’t be afraid to be the one person or the one chapter who takes a stand. Not every chapter is the same, even if they are on the same campus. You don’t have to do what others do, find ways to be unique. Who knows what you could spark! Innovation isn’t just for engineers, its for anyone who wants to take something and make it better. There are always ways you can improve your chapter or university, so be creative and courageous. Don’t just settle for the norm.
Retention of members is something that every organization will struggle with at some point. In Greek life, it is especially important because there are standards that must be met in order to be accredited. When retention becomes an issue, it can be incredibly frustrating for officers or other dedicated members. A heavy workload may fall on fewer members because there are not enough people to properly distribute the work. Here are 5 ways you can improve your retention:
1. Find the root of the problem.
The most important step is to find out why members are not attending meetings or events. Maybe there is a simple fix to the problem. Sometimes there are issues between members who don’t feel comfortable around each other. If that is the case, mediate a conversation and help bridge the divide. Perhaps there was a misunderstanding that went unnoticed. There are endless reasons that could be the cause, but one thing is for sure- you can’t fix a problem that you don’t know exists! Talk to your members and listen to what they are telling you.
2. Empower your members.
Sometimes you will run into a situation where there is one person or a small group of people who try to take on everything themselves. This can be frustrating to other members because they feel that they are not being heard. They also may feel that they do not need to put in the work because someone else will just do it for them. You NEVER want this situation to occur. It is not beneficial to anyone, or the chapter as a whole. A Chapter is a team and teamwork skills should be utilized. Empower your members to take charge and accomplish their goals. In my chapter we always talked about “doing what you say you do.” Show others how rewarding it is to accomplish a task and trust them enough to handle situations on their own. This will build their self-confidence and benefit the chapter 🙂
This is very important! Don’t wait until full panic mode sets in to change things. If you notice that a couple of people have been missing even 2 weeks in a row, talk to them! Find out what is going on right away before the problem worsens. Also, take note of verbal and non-verbal ques during meetings and events. If you sense tension- take care of it immediately. Not only will this avoid future problems, it will also show members that others DO notice if they are unhappy and care to fix it.
4. Communication is key.
Without a doubt, communication has to be one of the most common problems in any relationship. I have seen first hand how communication issues can tear apart a group. Make sure that members are communicating with each other in healthy ways. You always want to ensure a respectful and open atmosphere!
5. Mix in some fun!
Last, but certainly not least, have fun! So many times we get bogged down with work that we forget to have fun. Meetings are meant to accomplish tasks, but don’t let “business” spill over into socials and every outside conversation. If you feel that things are getting too stiff, plan more socials or even a chapter retreat! You want to have a good balance between work and fun, too much of either will lead you down the wrong path!
Remember that these things happen to every organization and they are fixable! Follow these tips and enjoy your successful retention!