Look Up

by Matt Mattson

Look up. Yes, you.  Just do me a favor and look up from your phone, your computer, or your tablet for a moment.  Look at the people around you. Look at the bustling world of real human beings surrounding you (if you’re alone right now, just pause for a moment next time you’re at a coffee shop or the grocery store and… look up.)

Look up — not just so that you might be able to meet your new friend or soul mate.  Look up — not just so that you can find the next person to recruit to your organization or who might buy your product. Look up — not for any other reason than to be engaged with the world and to care about the people around you.  Sometimes we forget those are real people.  There is proof that we forget it. It is called Bystander Behavior.

According to our friend, and Bystander expert, Mike Dilbeck, “Bystander behavior is the social phenomenon where we see something happening that we know is wrong and we are compelled to do something, to say something. We actually want to make a difference in that moment. Yet, we don’t. We do nothing and we say nothing. We are bystanders and this is bystander behavior.”  Notable examples can be found here, but it happens every day in small ways.  There are moments far too many of us (me included) can easily recall when something bad was happening, we could have helped, but we didn’t — we just ignored it, we passed it by.

Social Excellence is a philosophy, a lifestyle, a way to approach the world that challenges each of us to engage with the people around us.  Smile at that stranger.  Say hello to that lady.  Thank that bus driver. Ask a question out of pure curiosity to that veteran.  Compliment that person’s tattoo.  Communicate. Be social.  Social Excellence is about shaking hands, having conversations, building relationships, and connecting with others to make the world a better place.  Perhaps, Social Excellence is an excellent prevention strategy for Bystander Behavior.

Dilbeck teaches his audiences and readers to be Every|Day Heroes (take the pledge here).  He inspires people to take action in moments when they can make a difference in the lives of others.  Being an Every|Day Hero — not being a bystander — is about making the right small momentary choices to engage socially in the lives of others.  It is about choosing to Be The Person who intervenes, who connects, who cares.

Phired Up’s work teaching Social Excellence, and Mike’s work teaching people to be Every|Day Heroes is about the same thing. Our messages are about connecting, caring, and acting.  Social Excellence teaches people to be the best version of themselves.  The best version of yourself includes generously acting to help others any chance you get.

So, if this stuff is new to you, start here:  Look up.  Look up at the people around you.  Look up Bystander Behavior.  Look up Social Excellence.  Look up at the people around you just waiting to be impacted by your presence in their lives.

Be The Person who looks up.  Be an Every|Day Hero.

*Read about what it means to #BeThePerson by following that hashtag on twitter or checking out Phired Up’s new book Social Excellence: We Dare You.  Also, check out the exciting collaboration between Phired Up and Response Ability — Be The Person 2012.

Formal Rush Works

by Matt Mattson

For fraternities & sororities, formal rush works.  It does exactly what it is designed to do.  For people already interested in joining your organization, it provides a really easy way to join.

It’s like opening the big Greek door on campus.  Most people get in. It is perfectly designed for people who show up to college  looking for the traditional fraternity/sorority experience.

But there is one thing I should mention.  If you want the highest quality people on campus, they probably won’t show up. There are lots of reasons why, but the important thing is that most of the highest quality, highest performing, measurably best men and women on campus probably won’t participate in formal rush. It’s not designed for them.

So, if you want people… do rush.  If you want to make sure you always get really high quality people… do more than rush.

Recruitment Productivity

by Josh Orendi

Ever notice that when you need something really important to get done, you usually ask the busiest person to help (not the person with tons of free time)?  Isn’t it amazing how some people are paralyzed by trying to accomplish 2-3 projects on their plate, all the while others manage to get dozens of things done while balancing relationships, work, school, and more.  Ever notice how recruitment immediately separates the “doers” in the chapter from the “talkers” in the chapter?

We all know highly productive people.  We all know highly unproductive people.  At times we have all been both types of people.  So what is the secret to maximizing productivity — especially during recruitment seasons when there seems to be so much to do?  Here’s a great article by Ilya Pozin called “7 Things Highly Productive People Do” featured in Inc Magazine.  Seriously, click the link and read the suggestions.  These are simple, practical, and effective.

It turns out there’s some science behind the pleasure attached to distractions.  Yes, our dopamine levels actually spike and our I.Q. literally drops.  Crazy right!?  Though multitasking seems to be a celebrated strategy, there’s a more effective way to actually get things done.  Focus.

Most days it feels like technology is designed to make us LESS effective.  So many options.  Too much noise.  Too little is actually getting done.  If you’re having a New Year’s resolution sort of day, start with these 7 techniques from Pozin:

  1. Work backwards from goals to milestones to tasks
  2. Stop multi-tasking
  3. Be militant about eliminating distractions
  4. Schedule your email
  5. Use the phone
  6. Work on your own agenda
  7. Work in 60 to 90 minute intervals

Phired Up’s team of recruitment experts has a mantra we live by when recruiting.  There’s 100+ hours of work to be done every day.  Since that’s not possible, let’s choose to focus on “results producing activity.” We choose to be laser focused on only the most important things that get results and we do them in the exact order of their importance.  In full disclose it takes a lot of practice, will power, and willingness to say no.  I’m still working on it too.

I hope you enjoy the article.  I hope you have a productive day.  Now stop reading blogs and go recruit.

Why Social Excellence Matters for Greeks

by Matt Mattson

We talk often with fraternity/sorority leaders about the importance of adopting Social Excellence as a shared Greek mission.  We have suggested that the key to fraternities and sororities to remain relevant to today’s campus communities is to, in fact, be more social.

Here’s an article that describes why.

If you’re a member of a fraternity/sorority, take a minute to read this article about the isolationism practiced by Greek chapters.  Whether you agree with the author or not, understand that there is a strong perception in the minds of non-Greek students that so-called “SOCIAL” fraternities and sororities often display something closer to “ANTI-SOCIAL” behaviors.

Now, consider the solution:  Handshakes.

To change the way non-Greek members think about you, demonstrate positive social behavior.  Shake hands.  Have conversations. Build relationships outside the Greek bubble.  Connect with people.  Learn from those who don’t wear fraternity/sorority badges.  Shake their hands.

The more hands you shake…. The more conversations you have…  Real relationships are the right way to earn respect, recognition, and a reputation you can be proud of.

Negative Nancy or Positive Paul?

by Branden Stewart

I saw a tweet recently from @kevannoord that read, “Be the type of person that you want to meet. #BeThePerson #SocialExcellence.”  That’s such a simple, poignant message about what the Social Excellence lifestyle really is.

At Phired Up, we often speak about one of our core values: the power of one.  However, we rarely write about another important power that each of us has the potential to exercise.  That power is the power of positivity.  Think about it: what are some of the conversations and feelings you’ve had about your life and goals so far this year?  Have you been excited, enthusiastic, and dedicated to achieving them… or are you worried, overwhelmed, and pessimistic about the barriers and roadblocks that stand between you and your success?  If you’ve developed a pessimistic attitude do not fret!  There is still plenty of time to exercise your power to be positive.

Start by smiling.  Smiling puts out a sense of positivity and happiness to those around you, and in turn could help to make the environment you’re a part of more positive.  Continue your positivity by being friendly to others, engaging strangers in conversation, learning about new things, and discovering the ways that you can go about achieving your goals.  In fact, by making a conscious effort to be more positive you may be able to spark a sense of positivity in others.  With each additional person that you’ve helped develop their own positive attitude, you’re going to multiply the power of positivity you possess.  Clearly, the power of positivity is just one important tool in your Social Excellence arsenal.

Be conscious of the attitude, actions, and words that you are displaying to others.  Instead of telling the world that you’re dreading an upcoming meeting, you don’t want to finish an assignment, or you’re stressed out about your financial situation… you could let others know that you’re looking forward to potentially learning something new at that upcoming meeting, that you’re almost done with that assignment, and that you’re looking into creative solutions to solve your financial problems.  By changing your attitude and vocabulary, you’re also changing the way you present yourself to others.  The power of positivity is important.  Here’s why…

Who would you rather talk to: Negative Nancy or Positive Paul?  Every moment you’re choosing one of these characters.  Be The Person who chooses Positive Paul.  Let’s be clear, I’m not talking about Preposterously Positive Pollyanna, just Positive Paul.

Instead of letting 2012 be the year that we focus on the negatives, why can’t dedicated and passionate individuals make a difference?  Who is to stop us from saying that we could solve world hunger, cure cancer, end genocide, and reduce the effects of global warming by the end of the year?  The power of positivity is limitless; think about how your choice to be positive can impact the world.

There was another tweet recently that reinforced this message, particularly for people my age.  @_KeithCollier_ said, “If #Detroit is going to return to greatness, it’s going to take us 20 something’s to invest our time, willpower, and our optimistic mindset.”  As someone from Michigan myself, I can look at the challenged city of Detroit in two ways… a) It is a mess, b) like @_KeithCollier_ suggests.  Keith is a Positive Paul.  I’d like to hang out with him.

Provide Fraternity/Sorority Recruits with Great Customer Service

The Ring of Phire is a team of undergraduate fraternity and sororitymembers dedicated to delivering the messages of Phired Up Productions to their peers around the country.

by Kate Peer (Undergraduate Ring of Phire Member)

I am stickler for good customer service. If I have a poor customer service experience that should be addressed, I ensure that the appropriate person knows.  Fortunately, many companies want me to let them know by providing options like phoning the store manager, submitting a feedback form on the website, or e-mailing the customer relations department. To be fair, I also make it known when I have great customer service. For example, I recently wrote to an airline I flew because I was more than satisfied with my trip. Upon arrival, I made sure to tell all my friends (including my sorority sisters) of the amazing service they provided while I was travelling this past holiday season. People tell stories about good customer service

That got me thinking – does my sorority provide good customer service?

Naturally, through practicing social excellence, I began to see how customer service plays into fraternity and sorority recruitment efforts. Good customer service recruits good clients and with good clients your organization or business can expand. Same goes for fraternities & sororities.

Admittedly, we as fraternity and sorority members sometimes fail to give great customer service to the communities in which we reside and represent. If you heard from a friend that a company is horrible, yells at their customers, is constantly disorganized, and their employees look and act sloppy… would you want to use their services?  The same is true for fraternities and sororities. If your organization is known for hazing your members, never showing up on time, and has a reputation for poor behavior… why would anyone want to join? If that is the case it is not too late.  You must become that change and re-brand your chapter immediately!

I share this blog to offer a different way of looking at recruitment. Consider the experiences of a) encountering members of your organization on campus, b) visiting your house as a non-member, c) participating in recruitment activities, and d) being a new member – are you providing great customer service in all of these areas?

Maybe it is as simple as just providing exceptional service – above and beyond – to all the “customers” of your organization.

The potential of providing great customer service could help to grow both your chapter and your fraternity and sorority community.

…Unless You Want to Be Different.

by Josh Orendi

I stumbled into a thought during my drive back to Indianapolis from Columbus, Ohio earlier this week.  I think it was inspired by a colony I’ve worked with that will be doing its first winter recruitment in the upcoming weeks.  They’re great men that are already feeling the pressure and temptations of doing recruitment like the other fraternities on campus.  I found myself thinking:

“The best way to be like other chapters is to recruit like they do … unless of course you’re trying to be something different.”

Consider that the founding members who are celebrated by your organization were not recruited in the traditional way other chapters on campus did it (it’s not possible since there was no chapter to recruit them, right?).  And, those original founders didn’t use “rush” techniques to find the members that followed them.  They had a unique message that sorority/fraternity could be done in a new way.

The founders of your chapter — of every chapter — wanted your fraternity/sorority to be different — very different — or they would have simply joined another group.

This is the time of year when most chapters are focused on:

  • Event calendars, parties, and information tables
  • Uniform Rush policies, rules, and rotations
  • Skits, song, chants, and “bumping”
  • Fliers, banners, chalking, marketing blasts

In fact, if you step back, most chapters are doing almost the same events during the same part of the year for the same group of potential new members – albeit in different color rush shirts.  Remember, if you recruit like them, then the best case scenario is that you’ll become like them.  That’s neither good nor bad.  It’s logical and predictable.  The only down side is that you may be compromising the unique identity that your founders fought so hard to establish.

An Example of The Social Excellence Lifestyle

by Matt Mattson

Occasionally we get to interact with people who truly choose to live a lifestyle of Social Excellence.  Earlier this week we got an Email from someone making that lifestyle choice.  Check out the E-mail, and even better, check out the work that he’s doing to change the world (see below the Email).

From: Max Lyons
Sent: Monday, January 02, 2012 12:38 PM
To: Josh@PhiredUp.com; Matt@PhiredUp.com; Woody@PhiredUp.com
Subject: Thank You RE: Keith Ferrazzi- Guatemala

Hi Josh/Matt/Woody,

Not sure if you guys remember me, but I used to be head of recruitment at the University of Washington two years ago. During one of your workshops, you mentioned Keith Ferrazzi’s book “Never Eat Alone.” This lead to me joining his RMA program and forming a relationship with Keith himself. I just returned from Guatemala with Keith and a group of friends where we worked with children in poverty. I told Keith that I discovered his materials through Phired Up, and he had nothing but amazing things to say about you guys.

Also wanted to give you feedback that your Phired Up workshops & materials have helped me in my career at Accenture Management Consulting MUCH MORE than any of the classes I took or organizations I was involved with in college. So much of the success I’ve had is directly attributable to you and your work, so I wanted to say THANK YOU.

Let me know if you guys are ever in NYC.


Max Lyons
Web- ExploringGenerosity.com
Twitter- @maxmlyons

After receiving that message, we responded appreciatively, and we were struck by the multiple layers of Social Excellence being displayed in this message.

maxlyons1. What a kind message to send.  A simple thank you (years after the fact).  Max didn’t ask us for anything.  He wasn’t trying to manipulate us into anything.  He was just being… generous.

2. Max’s message was about human connection.  Fascinatingly, it was about his (and our) connection to a man known as “The World’s Most Connected Man.”  Keith Ferrazzi, best selling author of Never Eat Alone and Who’s Got Your Back has been an inspiration for us at Phired Up, and we’re lucky to not only have met him, but we also received a glowing review from him about our new book.

3. The coolest layer of Max Lyons’ Socially Excellent Lifestyle, however, is the way he’s changing the world.  Check out this blog he wrote regarding The Transformational Impact of Service.  Because of Max’s handshake with Keith some time ago, he’s changing the world.  This is what Social Excellence is all about — connecting to people and improving society.

4.  But wait, there is one more really cool example of Max’s Social Excellence lifestyle — check out his signature line and click on “Exploring Generosity” to read about the ways he’s gathering people together around his cause.  His website starts off with this statement: “‘How can I become more generous with my life?’ is a question I’ve asked many times. You’ve probably asked yourself this very same thing. It is impossible to make it through a day without seeing people in need. The problem is that most of us, myself included, rarely do anything to help.”

Thanks for the inspiration Max (and Keith)!


What is “Values-Based Recruitment”?

by Matt Mattson

For decades the leaders of the fraternity/sorority community have implored chapters to engage in something called “Values-Based Recruitment.” But what is it?  How do you know if your chapter is doing it?

Good questions.  Let’s first say this.  Dynamic Recruitment (Phired Up’s philosophy) IS Values-Based Recruitment.  You can’t do Dynamic Recruitment without Values-Based Recruitment.  However, Dynamic Recruitment is more than just Values-Based Recruitment.  So there, that’s clear (If you want to learn about Dynamic Recruitment, check out our website, services, products and free resources at www.PhiredUp.com).

*One other note: Some fraternal organizations have actually named their internal training and educational programs “Values-Based Recruitment” (see Sigma Nu.  Also, Sigma Kappa has a good resource similarly named).  This blog is more general, however — for all fraternities & sororities.

Now, how do you know if your chapter is doing Values-Based Recruitment.  We would suggest that your chapter must do all of the following in order to be a Values-Based Recruiting chapter.  If you have more ideas, share them with us via Facebook or Twitter.

1. Use a Values-Based Selection Criteria. This might be the most important requirement.  If you’re not using objective, values-based criteria for membership selection, then you’re choosing members for your chapter based on something other than values. Plain and simple.  Start here. Here’s a sample for fraternities and sororities.

2. Choose recruitment activities and behaviors that reflect the core values of your organization. If your ritual asks you to raise your right hand and promise to be honorable, charitable, truthful, noble, friendly, pure, scholarly, etc. — recruit in ways that directly reflect those characteristics.  If your recruitment strategy can’t be described by any of the words in your organization’s ritual or mission, then you’re not doing Values-Based Recruitment.

3. Engage in conversations with potential members that include topics related to your core values.
If, in order for someone to meet the standards of your Values-Based Selection Criteria, you need to know if they’re honorable — engage in conversation topics that unearth that information.  If your conversations are surface-level, shallow, boring, or without intention, there is a good chance you’re not doing Values-Based Recruitment.

4. Prior to bid acceptance, ask potential members for full commitment to the chapter’s values, mission, code of conduct, and requirements. Something like “The Two Handshakes” might do the trick.  Or perhaps a written “contract” of sorts so that there is no confusion.  Something we’ve learned while interviewing former members of fraternities and sororities is that they often quit because the actual experience of membership is different than what they thought it would be while they were being recruited.

Of course, all of this requires a) you to know your organization’s core values, b) your chapter members to know your organization’s core values, c) your chapter to consistently behave in accordance with your organization’s core values, and d) you to know how to TALK ABOUT your organization’s core values.

In Good Guys and I Heart Recruitment, we wrote about “ACE”ing your values — this is very closely related to “Values-Based Recruitment,” so you might want to check that out too. Values-Based Recruitment starts with you choosing to personally achieve, communicate and expect your organization’s values to be exemplified by yourself and your members at all times.  That’s a great place for you to get started.