Why BE THE PERSON | 2012 Matters to You

By Matt Mattson

btp-logoWondering what this whole BE THE PERSON | 2012 event is all about?  We’ve called it an “anti-conference,” we’ve said it is about leadership, organizational success, creating a movement within the college community, Social Excellence, and becoming an Every|Day Hero.  That sounds cool, but you’re probably having a hard time picturing what it will really be like… Why does this event matter to you?

Well, first of all thanks to the MANY people who are already registered.  We’ve been blown away by the amount of people who want to share in this unique experience.  If you would like to join them, register at www.BETHEPERSON2012.com.

Meanwhile, allow me to provide a little insight into this event…  Let’s start with four learning outcomes…

After a powerful combination of Social Excellence and Every|Day Hero focused learning is experienced, participants will leave BE THE PERSON | 2012…

  • Emotionally shocked and reacquainted with their true personal purpose and values.
  • With the social awareness, self-confidence, and personal power to intervene in problem situations and be an Every|Day Hero.
  • With a written plan to deeply matter to the world through social engagement, connection and organization.
  • Prepared to lead revolutionary change in their communities.

This event came about through a wonderful friendship and partnership with Mike Dilbeck and the RESPONSE ABILITY Project.  Exactly as our Social Excellence book describes, we shook Mike’s hand, engaged in conversation, built a meaningful relationship based on trust over time, realized we had shared passions, collaborated, and organized to create this exciting event.

We’ve been working closely with Mike to build a truly one-of-a-kind experience.  Here are some things we’re planning for June 3-6 in Chicago.

All participants (professionals and students) will be treated as magnificent, knowledgeable, capable adults who have the potential to lead meaningful change in their community and in the world.

The real learning of the event will take place “in the streets.” Literally.  Our classroom will be the neighborhoods, people, culture, and energy of Chicago.  From Michigan Avenue to the strong nonprofit sector of the “Second City,” we’ll take Phired Up’s lessons of Social Excellence and RESPONSE ABILITY’s Every|Day Hero message and experiment with it in intensive real-life learning situations.

We’ll all be staying on-site, sharing rooms, building community, and deeply caring about one another.  We’ll work to create a concentrated experience of connection, relationships, and shared passions.

Everyone will walk away with the ability to gather others around the messages of Social Excellence and being Every|Day Heroes within the collegiate communities in which they live, learn, and work.

We have capped the attendance to make sure we create an intimate learning experience for people who truly want to dive head first into Social Excellence and becoming an Every|Day Hero.

We deeply believe this event will help prepare people as modern LEADERS for today’s society.  We think it will help people discover a new level of confidence in the way they interact with the world. We think it will allow people time to build a personal plan to make a mark, leave a legacy, and change the world in whatever way they want to.  We think it will help participants with membership recruitment, organizational image, innovation, and community relationships.

When our team at Phired Up and Mike Dilbeck starting talking about this idea, we realized it could fail.  We realized people might not be interested.  We knew that it could embarrass us, or we could easily screw it up.  But then we remembered what we teach others.  Take action, don’t just talk.  Do something important.  The right people will show up, and magic will happen if you do it for the right reasons.  So, if you know people who would like to help us create this experience by being a participant, get them registered a.s.a.p.

By the way, we accidentally scheduled this event at the same time as another awesome event that you might be interested in.  The Gathering from AFLV is an event that members of our staff have attended and rave about.  So, you should know that’s going on too, and we strongly support AFLV’s innovative programs like The Gathering.

Change Your Image (With the Greatest PR Campaign In The World!)

by Matt Mattson

changeHow can you change your organization’s image on your campus, or in your community?  How can you fight the stereotypes that plague your group and keep high quality people from joining?  What can you do about the campus administrators, student newspaper editors, admissions counselors, and professors that talk badly about your organization?

I’ve got great news.  I’ve uncovered the greatest Public Relations campaign in the history of the earth, and it applies to organizations of all sorts — from student clubs, to fraternities and sororities, to community and civic groups, and more.

Before I just come right out and tell you the secret, I’ll tell you where I learned it.  In college I actually studied advertising and public relations for my undergraduate degree.  For four full years I toiled relentlessly to learn to write press releases, buy advertising space, write news copy, and design logos.  I learned about branding, media, marketing, and so much more.  Then, in my final “capstone” class of my college career, the professor said something painfully true toward the end of the semester, “I’m guessing you’re all experts in the tactics of PR by now, but I’ll tell you something that probably none of your other professors have mentioned – public relations is just lunch.”

Lunch?  I was confused.  Then it sank in.  The best (and really the only) way to change people’s minds about your group is through trust.  The best way to earn trust is through relationships.  One of the best way to build relationships is through… lunch.

How to do the greatest PR campaign in the world (for college student organizations):

  1. Make a list of the top 25 most influential, non-affiliated (with your organization), undergraduate student leaders on your campus.
  2. Make another list of the top 10 faculty/staff members who are best positioned to help your cause but don’t yet do so.
  3. Take those 35 people out to coffee, lunch, breakfast, dinner, or just for a one-on-one meeting with you.
  4. Next, just ask questions.  Listen.  Ask more questions.  Listen carefully.  Say thank you.

That is all.  Here are some of my favorite questions to ask during these campaign:

“I’m trying to learn from the most influential people on campus.  I want to make my group better, and I deeply respect you.  I want to learn from you. The more honest your answers the better I’ll be able to improve my group.  I really trust your opinion.  Can I ask you some questions?”

  • What do you really think of our organization – deep down?
  • If our organization didn’t exist, how much would that matter to you? to this campus?
  • If you were in charge of our organization, what would you do differently?
  • How did you first learn of our organization?
  • Why have you never joined our organization?
  • What could we have done differently to have attracted someone like you to our group?
  • If you were part of a group with a mission that read “[insert your mission],” how would you lead it?
  • What type of people should we be seeking out that we aren’t already?  How do we find them?
  • What are the groups on campus that you respect the most?  What makes them great in your mind?
  • Would you be willing to meet with some of my fellow leaders to share this point of view?
  • If I wanted to find other people who think like you, who are 5 other people you’d recommend I call?

We teach Dynamic Recruitment.  Doing this will help with membership recruitment (a lot if you do it right).
We teach Social Excellence.  Doing this is Socially Excellent.

If you have an image that needs changing or improving, just by doing this with everyone on your list it is likely that your image will quickly start to shift from whatever it was to “the group who is trying to get better and who seeks advice from top tier leaders.”  That’s not a bad image to have.  Plus you’ll probably end up with about 35 really influential people on campus who now know you on a first name basis, associate your organization with a pleasant conversation, and are willing to help.

So, go have lunch.

Fraternal Partnerships for the Greater Good

by Matt Mattson

2-people-shaking-hands-globe201223827Today several members of our Phired Up staff will head to St. Louis for a huge conference hosted by the Association of Fraternal Leadership and Values.  While there, we’ll connect with a lot of new friends, but I wanted to take a moment to celebrate some old friends we’ll see there who have built wonderful partnerships with our company.


Social Excellence involves “collaboration” around shared passions.  Our relationships, collaborators, and partners multiply our capacity to change the world.

First of all, let’s give a shout out to some true innovators.  Mark Koepsell, Tricia Fechter, Leo Glass, Lea Hanson, Mike McCree, Beverly Williams, Shelley Sutherland, Jill Lancaster and the whole crew at AFLV who are pushing our fraternal industry faster than anyone else.  We’re all trying to keep up with the pace at which their driving positive change.  This conference (the largest interfraternal gathering to ever take place) is a pretty good example (but only one) of AFLV’s forward thinking work.  If you’re involved in fraternity/sorority life, I strongly (STRONGLY) encourage you to check this stuff from AFLV out too.

Many of our readers have heard about the Be The Person 2012 event happening this summer. This came about through a wonderful friendship and partnership with Mike Dilbeck and the Response Ability Project.  Exactly as our Social Excellence book describes, we shook Mike’s hand, engaged in conversation, built a meaningful relationship based on trust over time, realized we had shared passions, collaborated, and organized to create this exciting event.

We’ll be co-delivering several educational sessions at the conference in St. Louis this weekend.  Jessica Pettitt, a wonderful friend of Phired Up, is working with us to engage participants in a discussion about the intersection of social justice and membership selection.  Sam Centellas, a truly dedicated interfraternal leader, is also working with us to teach growth strategies for culturally-based fraternal organizations.  Jess and Sam are both excellent examples of working with others for a simple reason — the greater good.  We don’t make money off these partnerships, we don’t get famous.  But we have a greater opportunity to make a dent in the world because of our connection with these outstanding professionals.

I think what inspired me to write this was the great service I’ve been getting from another partner of Phired Up — GIN (they do our website).  These guys (Chad Corbitt in particular) have been going above and beyond to help us with some enhancements to our site that you’ll see in the near future.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, of course.  I’d love to go on and on about the NIC, NPC, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, our headquarters and campus partners, our new and VERY EXCITING partnership with UNILOA, and so many others.  But you get the point.

So, who can your organization partner with to multiply its impact on the world?

Recruitment Done Right

by Vince Fabra

Where can we see recruitment done right?  Let’s look at a few examples.

NCAA Athletics
The Military
Innovative Companies

From these examples we can learn powerful recruitment lessons. Recruit with… INTENTIONALITY, FERVOR, VALUES, TRANSPARENCY, and focus on TOP TALENT.

nicksabanal410pw_010512fNCAA Athletics – Let’s use an example of recruitment from a major sport and the reigning champion team from said sport.

How do you think Coach Nick Saban recruits a quarterback for the Alabama Crimson Tide? Do you think that he walks around campus with a football and says, “Hey son, if you can hit me with a tight spiral then we’ve got a spot for you?” Or do you think that he has a list compiled of every player at each position that he is interested in by the time they are a sophomore or junior in high school? He sends these players letters in the mail, visits them in there homes and invites them to campus for a VIP tour of the facilities. He and his staff are persistent and make a recruit feel wanted and important.

The two key elements of recruitment that are most present in college athletics are INTENTIONALITY and FERVOR.

Intentionality – Players don’t choose schools and schools don’t choose players on accident. There is a reason that they call the commitment letter a high school player signs “The Letter of INTENT”. Teams seek out, identify, and court top talent with an unrelenting FERVOR.

armyFERVOR – Why does Nick Saban, his staff and every college football staff recruit with such a passionate fervor? Answer: Because they want their team to be the best. Nick Saban works hard at recruiting because he wants his team to be the best.

Recruit with INTENTIONALITY because you believe that recruitment does not happen by accident.

Recruit with FERVOR because you recognize that the members in your chapter are directly related to the quality of your chapter.

Next level – The Military

Now, I don’t know too much about the specifics of any of the branches of the military. I do not have a military background nor does anyone in my family. However, I recognize that the military does an amazing job recruiting with their VALUES. They are TRANSPARENT about the sacrifice and expectations of an airmen/soldiers/marines/sailors, and joiners are aware of those sacrifices and expectations.

Recruit with your VALUES because you are proud of what your organization stands for and you want potential joiners to feel that pride as well.

Recruit with TRANSPARENCY because you know that it is pointless to recruit 30 people and initiate 9.

Next example - Innovative Companies

classified-adAmong the innovative companies of the day, Apple and the products they produce are on the cutting edge of innovation. It is safe to say that some of the most creative minds around are tinkering with and building the Apple products that most of us use each and every day. Let’s speculate about how these “creative minds” come to work for this leading company. Do you think that Apple posts ads on Craig’s List – “WANTED: A really smart person that can design the new iPhone 5”? Or do you think that Apple IDENTIFIES TOP TALENT in the field and actively pursues them. “You think different, and so do we. Come join our team.”

Recruit by IDENTIFYING TOP TALENT because you want people in your chapter that ‘think different” when it comes to fraternity or sorority.

Survey Newest Members

by Branden Stewart

survey_resultsStep 7 in The Eight Steps to Limitless Possibility (from Good Guys & I Heart Recruitment) is “Grow Wiser.”  How often do we intentionally make the time to do this?  Ring of Phire member Clark Buckner recently had an idea that he felt would help his fraternity grow wiser.  His idea was to create a resource that his fraternity could use each semester to help them grow wiser about what worked, what did not work, and how things could improve during their recruitment process.

Clark created a post-recruitment survey that asked critical questions of his new members to determine what areas his fraternity could grow wiser in.

As Clark explained it:

Do you feel like your organization goes through the same challenges every year with recruitment? Do you feel like you don’t really make any innovative changes to your recruitment effort?

I’ve noticed that much time is spent developing a recruitment plan and executing it, but as soon as recruitment is over, everyone just forgets about it and moves on. If your recruitment effort is static chances are you haven’t been asking the right questions to make decisions to improve your current position. This resource is about creating an opportunity to monitor and learn how recruitment went for your chapter so you can improve your recruitment efforts.

The first step in finding a solution to this problem is creating a post assessment tool for recruitment. You can create a free online survey (I prefer Google Forms) for all of your newest recruits to complete. View a sample here.  The questions cover just about everything while staying short enough to fill out in a few minutes. Google Forms even lets you view easy to read graphs to actually see the results showing you what your survey participants said revealing what the chapter did well and the things you have opportunities to improve in.

This is not an exclusive tool to fraternities and sororities.  Any membership organization that is committed to finding the highest quality members could benefit and learn from the results of this type of assessment.

Could your chapter benefit from a tool like this?  What do you need to know as an organization looking to grow wiser?