The World Would Be Better If…

Our new book, Social Excellence: We Dare You, starts out with the following passage.  This movement — Social Excellence — that involves individuals, organizations, and our collective impact on society — founded upon meaningful human connection, is about making the world better.  As the impending new year stares us in the face, how would you finish this statement?

*From Social Excellence: We Dare You by Matthew Mattson, Jessica Gendron Williams, and Josh Orendi

globe“The world would be better if…”  That statement, when spoken within small groups of thoughtful, action-oriented people, has sparked revolutions, incited rebellions, provoked uprisings, and birthed the movements that have shaped our society. That’s how we’d like to start off our conversation with you.

The world would be better if we were all more social, more excellent, more Socially Excellent.

The world would be better if people engaged with one another more often.

The world would be better if people were more skilled at the art of human connection.

The world would be better if we listened to the passion and enthusiasm others have about the things that areimportant to them.

The world would be better if we shook more hands, smiled at strangers more often, and occasionally surprised passersby with a high-five.

The world would be better if we had more powerful conversations.

The world would be better if more people participated in communities and organizations.

The world would be better if our interactions with one another were more human and less digital.

The world would be better if we were more genuine, more below-the-surface, and more real with each other.

The world would be better if we asked better questions.

The world would be better if we could convince more people that they have the potential to change the world.

The world would be better if more people knew how to involve others in their cause.

The world would be better if we chose to have this conversation more often—and then did something about it.

The world would be better if…

Breathe With Me

by Josh Orendi

breathe-joshMy wife and I are due on February 11th with our first child — a daughter that is showing early signs of becoming a soccer player.  This week, we took our first pregnancy preparation class.  Our instructor, Tamara, shared a piece of advice that is so relevant to leadership that I had to pass it along.  I’ll paraphrase.  She said:

“We all know the big day comes with pain.  We all know that there will be craziness around us.  Dads, this is when you need to step up.  You are her support team; her coach.  Breathing exercises are a way for the two of you to connect, calm, and focus.  You are a team.  When you notice that she is not breathing, DO NOT tell her to breathe.  She’s more likely to punch you than she is to hear your instructions.  Instead, hold her hand gently, look into her eyes, tell her you love her, and begin to breathe yourself.  Say, ‘breathe with me.’ and she’ll respond.  You can do this together….”

Breathe with me. That’s such a simple but powerful reminder.  Less instruction.  More hand-in-hand, loving, demonstration of what needs to be done together (especially on the big day).

This lesson has me thinking of campus professionals that say, “I tell them the same thing … for some reason it’s like they hear it for the first time when you say it.”  It reminds me of chapter leaders that say, “how many times do I have to tell them!?!?”  It reminds me of my headquarters friends that tell stories of feeling like they are ‘spinning their wheels’ or ‘talking to a wall.’  Our alumni sometimes say, “is it really that hard … in my day … they just don’t get it.”  The lesson even reminds me of my parents.  I was the worst offender of being dismissive or defensive when they told me what I was doing wrong.

Recruitment seasons create high tension environments ripe with these moments.

Compassionate leaders/teachers/coaches/advisors/consultants/chapter and council officers often come to realize the power of being present in the moment, listening deeply, empathizing, and doing it together.  Speaking in the voice that your recipient can hear is an art form.  Committing to do it together as a team.  Leading by example.  This is quite a bit different than dropping by to “check in,” barking direction, sending a passive-aggressive text/email, or rolling your eyes (all are examples I am personally guilty of doing).

So, whether you are having a baby or just dealing with one, a few more patient moments of brotherly/sisterly love is more likely to yield the result that everyone is looking for.  Breathe with me.

Choose Inspiration

by Matt Mattson

inspirational-images-1So, what does 2012 hold for you?

Some will answer that question with a factual statement.  Some will answer that question with a big fat “No idea.”  Some will answer that question with a concession statement to the misery of their life.  Others though…

Others will share a dream.  Others will tap into our imagination. Others will dwell in possibility.  Others will resolve to do something important–something remarkable.

The New Year is like that.

So, what do you do? (asked of an individual or an organization).

Some will answer that question with a factual statement that informs.  Some will answer that question with a fumbling response that confuses.  Some will answer that question with a defeated scowl and a complaint about what keeps them from doing anything.  Others though…

Others will inspire. Others will tap into our deepest aspirations.  Others will intoxicate us with potential.  Others will disorient us with possibilities.

Will you be some people or the others?  Will you inform or inspire?

As you try to attract others to your cause, choose the magic of inspiration over information from the very first encounter.

This blog was inspired by this post from Seth Godin and a fun Email exchange this morning with my friend Alex Koehler.

Does Phired Up Help Culturally-Based Greeks?

by Matt Mattson

We often get asked, “Does Phired Up Productions do anything for culturally-based fraternities & sororities (like NPHC, NALFO, NMGC, NAPA, etc.)?”

The answer is, and always has been, a resounding YES.  And we do it well, but there is more work to be done.  I’m proud of the work we did a couple years ago with a task force of innovative professionals in the field who helped us build more educational resources specifically for culturally-based Greek Letter organizations.  For now, we wanted to make sure we shared a bit of our philosophy…

Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”  This oft-quoted phrase explains the inspiration for our company, for our philosophy, and for our work.  It also goes a long way toward explaining the genesis of most culturally-focused fraternal organizations – groups of driven individuals with a shared cultural background gathered together to change their world in a meaningful way.  Culturally-based fraternities and sororities were founded to make a meaningful impact on society — to change the world — and the best way to do that is to ensure that there is always a high quantity of high quality people to achieve that mission.  That’s what we do — we help cause-based membership organizations find the people they need to change their world.

The word “recruitment” is often frowned upon by some members of some culturally-based fraternal groups (and for good reason).  Often that word is related to the style of organizational growth that NIC and NPC groups utilize — and that style doesn’t match the values of some culturally-based fraternal groups.  However, that doesn’t change the need for culturally-based groups to attract people to their cause.  So, it is important to not necessarily connect the word “recruitment,” and all it’s Greek connotations, with attracting high quality people to an organization.  Let’s simplify it.

  • Culturally-based fraternities and sororities are membership organizations (made of people and purpose).
  • Membership organizations need a consistent amount of high quality people to be successful.
  • Culturally-based fraternities and sororities were founded to change the world in a meaningful way.
  • The more people (members, raving fans, supporters) an organization has to support its founding mission, the better it typically does at achieving that mission.
  • Phired Up teaches cause-based membership organizations the art and science of organizational growth.

We will launch more resources in the future to meet the unique needs and opportunities presented by culturally-based fraternal organizations.  We see that the future of the fraternal movement is tightly tied to the success of the organizations that are most relevant to today’s (and tomorrow’s) students. Thanks to all the organizations and universities that have brought Phired Up’s messages of Dynamic Growth and Social Excellence to their culturally-based fraternal leaders.