By Woody Woodcock, Head Coach of Phired Up Productions
[Woody coaches HQ staff members and chapter leaders to become great members and great recruiters.]
Many of the high performing people and teams I coach have gotten this question in October: As the season changes, what needs to change in us?
When I ask this question I usually get some silence that follows. Many people were not expecting this frank question, nor have they taken the time to think about what they want to change.
Right now I believe many people have gotten too busy to think, too overwhelmed by schedule, they are not caught up yet from September recruitment being over, or even more sadly they are just numb to change.
Each of us knows that change is needed in a new season, but few have stopped to think about it. I believe that when I coach and help someone that each person knows his/her own heart best. Each person knows the different response that is needed to change in this new season. If you are still wondering what that might be for you let me offer a few good places to start.
For some it is changing their schedule to get more proactive.
For some it is being a better communicator to their teammates.
For some it is finding enjoyment and the small WINS that keep them going
For some it is reconnecting with friendships inside and outside of the fraternity/sorority world.
For some it is a matter of letting their heart and mind be brave enough to admit that a change is needed, and not letting their pride or reputation get in the way.
I mention the heart because I think it is the internal place we start the desire of change. Eventually it becomes external but it must first begin in the heart.
So, let me ask you again as the season changes what needs to change in us?
Is it part of your day?
Is it part of how you see food as fuel for your nutrition?
Is is your attitude about fraternity or sorority?
Is it your attitude about working with certain people?
Do you need to reclaim the vision you once had for yourself in this role?
Do you need to pay attention to the details better?
Is it about becoming more proactive in leading your day?
Do you want to become more of a vocal leader on your staff?
Creative Coaching exercises I want to give you:
Give yourself permission to write down your current reality.
What in my schedule is working?
What is not working?
What are my frustrations?
What are some things that I have procrastinated on?
What are things I am happy with?
What indicators of performance do I find myself looking at most?
Where did we get it right?
Where are we off?
Let me close by saying this. I love the feeling I get when I walk across a college campus during fall semester. There is something different about it, a cleanness in the air, and a difference in the way light touches the ground. The feelings of fall bring to life a nostalgic college spirit for me. It is a reminder of the past, a call to be present in the moment and a signaling of the future hope I have for the rest of the year.
The signals of beginning a new season are here for all of us. For a season to change some things have to change. Right now the temperature in the air is shifting, the color of the leaves are shifting, and they are falling to the ground. As we pass through October and enter November I want to help you get that clean fall air feeling into your life. Don’t get buried by the falling of leaves in your life — your schedule, your distractions, and all the noise. Those leaves could cover you, suffocate you, and make you itchy.
Keep this key phrase in mind to unlock your power and influence this season: “I have decided that I’m not going to let anything that will ultimately mean nothing keep me from experiencing what means everything.”
by Josh Orendi
This fall, Alex Taylor and Sigma Nu fraternity recruited one of the largest new member classes of any fraternity in recent years. The number alone should catch people’s attention. After 45 minutes on the phone with Alex, I became even more impressed with the way they did it – new technology, creative staffing, unique messaging.
In full disclosure, Alex and I have also been working together on new recruitment technology from TechniPhi called ChapterBuilder that was piloted by Sigma Nu for the first time at TCU. Here are excerpts from our conversation.
Josh: 112 new members! Is that correct?
Alex: Yeah. (I could hear the smile in his voice)
Josh: What was the recruitment goal for this TCU expansion project?
Alex: 85 was the goal by September 12th. Average fraternity membership in the spring was 106 members. We felt good about managing a group the size of the campus average. We capped our recruitment and began holding additional guys over to the spring 2016 semester.
Josh: “Capped” … “Hold over” … you mean you stopped and have a wait list!?
Alex: We never stop recruiting. We are consistently recruiting, but that doesn’t mean we have to bid or invite them right that moment. We’re okay telling a guy we are interested in him and having him wait until the next semester to join. Often the guys who are waiting until the next semester become some of our best recruiters because they are motivated to help build their future new member class.
Josh: How long did it take to recruit 112 guys? How many Sigma Nu brothers were doing the recruitment?
Alex: We were physically on campus for about 3 weeks, but the whole month of July was spent calling people. We had 10 brothers making phone calls specifically for the TCU project. By August 10th we shifted to only the TCU ground team which ranged between 1 – 5 brothers.
Josh: How does that compare to recent Sigma Nu expansions?
Alex: Sigma Nu had some amazing successes in the last 5 years, but this is the largest group that Sigma Nu has recruited in recent history.
Josh: What did Sigma Nu do different this time?
Alex: A lot of our success should be credited to TCU being ready for and supporting our efforts. Aligning ourselves with formal recruitment helped. Several visits to campus and interviews with key leaders at TCU helped us communicate Sigma Nu in a way that filled needs in the TCU campus community. Also, there is a desire amongst today’s college students to want to leave a lasting legacy and impression. Every fraternity, when operating within their values and vision, has an experience that people will want to own as well. Sigma Nu headquarters sponsoring 5 staff members to be on campus was critical. The other big thing that was different was using new recruitment technology.
Josh: New technology…
Alex: ChapterBuilder was a game changer! Prior to this fall, Sigma Nu had a VERY elaborate spreadsheet system that we used for keeping track of PNM names. It was developed internally, and we were very proud of it. However, this summer we decided that times are changing and ChapterBuilder looked like the future of fraternity recruitment. So we piloted it at TCU. 112 men can speak to what a great decision that was. ChapterBuilder worked better than we could have ever expected!
Josh: Tell me more about how you used ChapterBuilder.
Alex: We had 670 interested PNMs in our ChapterBuilder system. Multiple team members communicating and managing relationships with hundreds of PNMs called for professional recruitment technology. It made our team more intentional, more directed, more efficient than we’ve ever been.
Josh: I’m a numbers guy. Help me understand.
Alex: The technology allowed me to track everything we did. We have data on this project all the way down to the number of phone calls and average call time to generate a first meeting. We track our lead sources, interactions, PNM values, down time between interactions, text vs. call vs. email efficiency… We track everything. Every data point makes our process and our team members better for the next campus where we build a Sigma Nu chapter.
Josh: Was ChapterBuilder worth it?
Alex: Yes! 100% yes. The return on investment is off the charts. We estimate that our staff saved upwards of 100 man-hours with ChapterBuilder. That’s like having an additional human being on the ground with us for the full project.
Josh: Favorite features?
Alex: I’ll name a few:
Josh: Did you say you were doing another expansion project at the same time!?
Alex: Yes. We set a goal of 25 to 30 new members at High Point University. We walked away with 43 founding members. I was fortunate because we had our senior Leadership Consultants assisting our Expansion Consultant. The High Point recruitment effort was proportionally more successful than TCU!
Josh: You are full of surprises. Tell me something about the TCU project that might surprise people.
Alex: We didn’t put up a single flier or banner at TCU or High Point. I’ve never met anyone who joined from a marketing brochure. People join people. So, we chose personal phone calls and meetings where we could have real conversations with high performing students. Also, people might be surprised that we only held 2 “events”. Event based recruiting limits your pool to a subcategory within a subcategory: People who are interested in fraternities, and those people who are interested that will attend an event. That doesn’t mean we didn’t do fun things like playing sports, hanging out, and doing what interests PNMs, it just mean that those two events were more fun because we knew exactly who was coming.
Josh: You recruited 100+ guys. People will say you gave everyone a bid, that you sacrificed quality for quantity, or that 112 is too many guys….
Alex: Sigma Nu is very deliberate about recruiting only high caliber men who meet our values, standards, and requirements for membership. I’m proud of every one of the 112 men who joined. Here’s some additional data that might help people understand:
Josh: What is your philosophy on quality vs quantity?
Alex: Sigma Nu never sacrifices quality. From my experience, quantity drives quality. If you get the quantity number right, the quality seems to take care of itself. We demand quality. That’s a no brainer. High volume makes quality possible and even a little easier. The technology allowed us to have a lot PNM leads … a lot more personal relationships … the ability to be more selective than ever before.
Josh: Alex, you and Sigma Nu did something incredible. You changed 112 men’s lives with the gift of fraternity. Those 112 men have a legacy to leave at TCU and a way to make a deep, meaningful impact on their campus, community, and world. How proud are you?
Alex: Sigma Nu men everywhere believe in Love, Honor, and Truth. We have 112 new men of character who are lifelong committed to Sigma Nu. I’m proud, yes. But, more than that, I’m excited to see what these men do together with this new opportunity.
Interview Date: September 17, 2015
Interviewer: Josh Orendi, Josh@PhiredUp.com / Josh@TechniPhi.com
Interviewing: Alex Taylor, Alex.Taylor@SigmaNu.org, Sigma Nu Fraternity
Do you have a great story about growing your sorority or fraternity? Contact us at Info@PhiredUp.com.
Other Dynamic Recruitment Spotlight Articles:
by Matt Mattson
I’ll be honest. Size used to impress me. Not so much any more.
Fraternity chapters that were huge used to make me giddy. I used to get so excited about a 75, 90, 120 man chapter. After all, I own three companies focused on growing fraternities and sororities. And I came from a college experience where 60 dudes in a chapter seemed like a massive horde.
But I’m so bored by it now.
Don’t get me wrong. If you have 75 amazing, talented, driven, focused, hard-working men, I will take notice. But it’s the “amazing, talented, driven, focused, hard-working” part that I get excited about anymore. If you have EVIDENCE (not just claims) that your members are exceptional, that’s exciting.
The last decade or so has seen AMAZING fraternal growth. Almost all inter/national organizations are seeing dramatic growth right now. Despite the negative media. Despite the rising costs of college. Despite all the other options available to college students. Our organizations are huge right now. Many (me included) would argue that much of that growth is due to the surge of college students our universities have seen during the same time period. While fraternity membership is higher overall, the percentage of collegiate men who are Greek seems to be staying about the same. Which means that when the population bubble pops (as it is will soon), our shiny chapter houses might have a bunch of empty beds and angry alumni.
But still, I care far more about quality than quantity. I know that’s a cliche line, but it’s true. For me now more than ever. Our fraternal movement must focus more on the quality of men we’re attracting and selecting. We don’t all need MORE people. But we do all need BETTER people.
There are a few key ways to impact quality.
1. Have a lot of people to choose from. The more prospects you know, the more choosy you can be. Build your organization with quality parts, don’t toss together whoever shows up and expect it to be excellent. Quantity Drives Quality.
2. If you do marketing, don’t shout at everyone, whisper to the right people. I’ve been doing a lot of work in our marketing company (www.InnovaGreek.com), and the vast majority of what we’re focused on is helping fraternities and sororities talk to the RIGHT people in the RIGHT way.
3. The process you use to select new members is the most important variable for any chapter. If you use the “Good Guy” approach, you’re doomed. If you use a Values-Based Selection Criteria and can offer objective measures of quality that each man must meet upon selection and maintain throughout membership — well, that’s exciting. We’re working to make that easier in tools like ChapterBuilder (by TechniPhi), and by increasing the focus of our education on member selection and values-based recruitment.
Being big is good. Don’t get me wrong. In fact, I think I’m bored by “size” lately because it seems like every chapter should be at least 50-60 guys at this point. The education, tools, and resources are all available. And most importantly, the arithmetic tells us that the men are just waiting for you to recruit them. There’s really no reason for small chapters in today’s fraternal world. And bigger chapters have more potential to impact the world in positive ways — I’m a fan of big. But does your chapter have top notch quality control measures in place? If not, you’re behind the curve.
*Photo credit goes to whatever Pi Kappa Phi chapter popped up on Google Image search when I put “Big Fraternity Chapter” into the search bar. They looked sharp. I turned them red.
by Vince Fabra
Recently, I led an activity where we created a physical spectrum in the room. One wall was “Super Confident. Socially Excellent.” The other wall was “Super Uncomfortable. Awko Taco”. The fabulous Tina VanSteenbergen and I read different social scenarios, and the participants were encouraged to find the space on the spectrum that they felt best suited their social skills in that specific situation.
Ex. “First day of class. You walk in and realize you don’t know anyone.”
“You are engaging with a potential new member at a recruitment activity or event.”
“You run into someone in real-life that you’ve never met, but you’re friends with on social media.”
We read about 5-7 of these. Most participants found a new spot on the spectrum, as they had different confidence levels with each varying situation. A few pockets of participants, however, were firmly planted near the “Social Excellence” wall and others didn’t move from the “Awko Taco” wall. (BTW, the “Social Excellence” wall dwellers talked a big game. The level of Social Excellence they chose to display throughout the rest of the session was underwhelming at best. Being “too cool” is not the same thing as Social Excellence. In fact it is closer to “Super Uncomfortable and Awko Taco”, but that’s another blog entirely).
I interviewed an “Awko Taco” participant (only because her friends raised her hand for her). I asked, “When is a situation when you actually feel confident or Socially Excellent.” She replied, “When I have one or two friends with me I feel more confident.”
My expert advice was, “Life Hack: Make More Friends.” If you have more people you know, are connected to, or have some relationship with, you’ll have more life situations where you feel confident. Friends create confidence.
Think about this. At one point in time, your best friend was just another stranger. There was a time when your roll-dogs, your ride-or-dies, your besties were nameless faces in a crowd. You had to make friends with these people who are now special to you, these people who give you confidence. With the exception of identical twins and other close siblings, everyone with close friends, mentors, spouses and any other (non-relative) loved ones had to create and develop those relationships. So to my “Awko Tacos” out there, you know how to do it, and if you want to become more “Super Confident. Socially Excellent.” I will repeat “Life Hack: Make More Friends.”
Three Hacks within the Hack.
1. Find a community of shared interest – Fraternities and sororities are an obvious go-to. However, assuming that most of you readers out there are already members of a fraternity/sorority, I want to challenge you to find a new community. What are you passionate about? What are you good at? How can you surround yourself with people that possess those same passions and skills? My (non-Greek) community is the stand-up comedy scene in Charleston. I moved to Charleston in 2010, and I didn’t have (m)any good friends in town. This was a challenge, particularly because my job is to teach people how to make friends. In finding the stand-up community, I found many great friends with a shared interest.
2. Get out of your own head. Focus on others. - We think that everyone notices our every move; that others are so aware of our embarrassing moment and faux pas. I don’t believe that to be true. No one is worried about you, because they’re too busy being consumed with their own thoughts and insecurities. Ego is a tricky thing, and it has us believe that we are at the center of the universe. You’re not! And PLEASE let this be a RELIEF. Imagine all of the stress and anxiety you would save yourself if you realized that no one is as concerned about you as you are. Get out of your own head. This one is a 2-part-er. Step 2. Focus on others. Be a kind generous person that let’s people know that you notice and appreciate what they’re good at. “Hey, you ask really great questions in class. I wanted you to know that I appreciate that.”
“Hey, I see you tabling for this organization 5 days a week. Tell me what this is about.” “I feel like we’re always in the dining hall at the same times. What is your go-to meal in this place?” These small acts of curiosity and outward focus are a great way to approach a stranger. Who knows? That could be your future roll-dog/ride-or-die/besty/life partner.
3. Social (without the) media. – Think of all the times when you’re most inclined to pull out your phone and open that app. It is usually when you are looking to get connected (i.e. Waiting in line at the coffee shop, waiting for class to start, feeling bored at your house/apartment/residence hall). What if instead of using social media as a tool to fill the void of connection, you made the choice to be Social (without the) media? Instead of looking for that status update on your phone, get a status update from the real person behind you in line. “How’s your day going?” is your guide to a real life tweet (and this one doesn’t have any character limits). Other than “connection”, social media gives us the opportunity to build community. Hashtags, likes, favs, retweets are all ways to show support and spread messages. Although these tools are powerful, they are limited to the screen. What does a real, in-person hashtag, like, fave, retweet look like? Social media can only do so much in “finding connection” and “building community”. Social (without the) media, however, holds limitless possibility.
LIFE HACK: Make More Friends
by Matt Mattson
In our fast, loud, modern world full of exciting new things all the time, it’s important to remember… Some things are classic. They never go out of style.
A lot is changing in fraternity/sorority life. A lot is NEW! Especially in recruitment. The prospects are changing. The demographics and psychographics are changing. The finances are changing. The technology for managing, communicating with, and voting on prospects are changing. The processes and systems are changing. The rules are starting to change. So much is changing.
But so much is staying the same.
These are the classics. These never go out of style.
You know, we wrote our first book, GOOD GUYS, about a decade ago (by the way, I think we’re putting out a 10th Anniversary Edition next year). That book is so simple. Silly in parts, but I’m really proud of what’s at the heart of that book — basic, simple, results-producing truths.
We’re constantly trying to invent, to innovate, and to create new ways to grow fraternity/sorority life at Phired Up (and through our sister companies). But any new invention we come up with shares its DNA with GOOD GUYS. Which, by the way, shares its DNA with so many smart recruiters and fraternal leaders that have worked to grow the movement before. We dedicated GOOD GUYS to “Louis Manigault — The guy who recruited the guy who recruited the guy… who recruited us.” He’s the founder of our fraternity. Truly, recruitment –at it’s core — hasn’t changed much since Louis’s days in the mid 19th century. It’s still a relationship business. It’s still done through human connection. And the best recruiters are still the ones who can efficiently systemize their relationships and let a high quantity of friendships yield yigh quality members.
Some things are new. Some things aren’t.