3 Areas to Consider For the Year

You have spent all summer planning, evaluating, tweaking, and planning some more. As the summer draws to an end, your calendar begins to fill itself with meetings, retreats, and impromptu moments where last minute items need to get completed. Whether you are a student-leader or an administrator, the school year has begun. Your plans begin to roll out and develop. You begin to evaluate what’s going well and what could use some work. Or do you?

The first few weeks of the semester are the equivalent of the first few plays in a football game. Nothing ever goes exactly as planned no matter how much you prepare. How do you react? In the football world terrible (and arrogant) teams ignore their environment, mediocre ones wait until half time to adjust, great teams make it part of their practice from the first play of the game until the final whistle. It’s part of what great teams do. The status quo isn’t acceptable, there is always more to achieve.

With this in mind, I want you to take a look at your organization from three different areas and determine if adjustments need to be made.

1) Personnel

After a few weeks, it will be clear which members in your organization are performing and who isn’t. Take a moment to reflect, note, and take action by:

  1. Identifying who has been performing well.
  2. Listing exactly what they are doing well along with skills, attitudes, and hidden talents that came to the surface.
  3. Asking yourself if you are you using them to their full potential. If not, how can you help them become successful.

For members that aren’t living up to expectations, ask yourself:

  1. Why might they not be performing well? Are there obstacles in their way?
  2. Have you addressed these issues? If no, make it a point to discuss this. Please note this does not need to be a combative conversation. You are trying to understand what the problem is so that you can address it and get the member performing at a higher level.

2) Organizational Culture

Similar to analyzing personnel, you need to look at how your organization as a whole is performing. Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 5 below (1 = extremely poorly, 5 = extremely well). Feel free to add categories as well. For areas that score a 1 or a 2, consider having an executive board meeting to discuss how to deal with this issue.

1 2 3 4 5
Communication __ __ __ __ __
Chapter Unity __ __ __ __ __
Organization __ __ __ __ __
Team Cohesion and Unity (i.e. not cliquey) __ __ __ __ __
Team Collaboration __ __ __ __ __
Ability to Execute Plans __ __ __ __ __
Relations with other members of the fraternity/sorority community __ __ __ __ __
Relations with other members of the campus community __ __ __ __ __
How do potential new members perceive you? (be honest) __ __ __ __ __

3) Identify Opportunities

This is area is not only the most fun, but it is also the area that can take your chapter to the next level. If you can put your ahead above the start-of-year grind, then you can lock onto countless great opportunities around you. Below are three distinct areas you can look at for chapter-changing opportunities:

Areas 1 and 2: Funding and Partners.

These two areas have to go together. For many of us, finding money for programs and events is at a premium. Use the first few weeks of school to meet as many potential partners as possible. Key into other organizations on campus and their missions Likewise, check out your student life departments, your student government, campus activities board, and academic units for special grants and awards. An academic unit at one campus I worked at had special funds for student organizations willing to sponsor programs in the area of alcohol awareness. Summer is a great time to do some of the legwork but once campus starts up, everybody comes out of the woodwork. Pay attention. Great funding sources emerge. Also, don’t forget some of your community-based charities and civic organizations as they can be fantastic collaboration partners.

Area 3: Campus Climate.

As members of the fraternity/sorority community, we need to be plugged into all the issues that are hot on our campuses. Identify and engage in what’s important to the larger student body. For example, 2018 is an election year. What are the political issues on your campus that need your voice? What can you do to promote voter turnout?

Are there campus and community partners you can align with? If so, go back to Areas 1 and 2.

The start of the school year is exciting, and there is never a shortage of energy out of the gate. After the first two weeks, it’s what groups do with their energy and what they’ve learned in this short-time that sets the stage for a successful year and productive year. Take some time. Reflect. Assess. Take an action step. You will be pleasantly surprised at the results when you do.


Paul Artale is a motivational speaker and author who works with student organizations who want to perform at their peak. Paul’s second book, The Spork Principle: How to Find, Create, and Maximize Opportunity in Your Student Club releases in February of 2019. Paul is a proud brother of Delta Tau Delta. For more information visit www.paulartale.com


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