This post is part of a larger series to address the most common myths, misconceptions, and excuses that chapters and members have regarding the LEAD Program. Follow the entire conversation and get caught up on each of the issues we are addressing by clicking here.
Myth no. 5. Phases and Sessions are numbered and must be implemented and presented in that order
Phases and sessions ARE numbered and presented in a suggested order; however, that does not mean that chapters are limited to implementing the program or scheduling sessions in that order. Flexibility and relevance are the name of the game when it comes to putting together the chapter’s LEAD calendar and determining what further phases and sessions to offer (if the current program is not running at full capacity).
Facilitator availability, relevance to chapter members, and alignment with a chapter’s overall schedule should be key factors in creating the LEAD schedule each semester. A great facilitator shouldn’t be overlooked or not utilized because their schedule doesn’t match up with the number of the session and where it would ideally go in the schedule.
In addition to re-ordering sessions, combining or splitting up sessions is also recommended if it will enhance the experience of participants, allow for use of more optimum conditions or facilitation, or otherwise positively impact the chapter.
Finally, a chapter looking to add to its current offering of LEAD phases doesn’t have to automatically choose the next numbered phase. A selection of sessions from multiple phases for a specific cohort or the chapter as a whole OR implementing parts of multiple phases for various cohorts may be a better option for a chapter depending on the situation.
Let’s look at an example. Say your chapter is currently only using Phase I but has some interest in doing more LEAD. What are the options?
- Start Phase II with the most recently initiated candidate class. They just completed Phase I within the last 9 months and should already be accustomed to participating in the program. Continue this trend by having them move to Phase III the next year and Phase IV the following. Do the same with the classes behind them, slowly adding one phase each year to what the chapter does. In a matter of just a few years the chapter will be utilizing the program in its entirety.
- Start by offering a few All Chapter sessions a year. Pick a chapter meeting a month that could be replaced with a “paper meeting” and a LEAD session. Use the remaining time after reviewing the hard copy minutes and officer reports to conduct the LEAD session. No time has been added to the member commitment and nothing extra was added to the chapter’s calendar. Just pick timely and relevant sessions to offer and use some compelling facilitators. This might look like this:
- September – All Chapter Module B Session 8: PEP Strategy Session or Module A Session 3: Scholarship (some great back to school ideas)
- October – Module C Session 1: Fire Safety and Chapter House Maintenance
- November/December – Module A Session 4: Stress Management (ideal in the lead up to finals)
- January/February – Module B Session 5: Officer Transition or Module B Session 7: Accountability
- February/March – Module C Session 1: Alcohol Abuse or Module C Session 4: Sexually Transmitted Diseases (some good pre-Spring Break sessions)
- April – Module B Session 9: PEP Chapter Self-Assessment Session or Module A Session 2: Etiquette (perhaps as part of an end of year dinner with a sorority?)
- A spin on the last approach would be to pick-and-choose the most appealing sessions to the chapter and offer them for everyone. This could be a combination of any sessions from any phase – whatever chapter members are most interested in. Introducing them to the program and giving them a positive experience with LEAD can be just the boost needed to start formally using each phase.
- Pick the phase that best addresses the current issues of the chapter. Maybe that’s a lack of senior participation and motivation (go with Phase IV to provide something specific to these older members). Perhaps it’s a lack of leadership and talent to take over officer positions next year (try Phase II to introduce folks to leadership and leading groups). It could be brotherhood and chapter solidarity issues (All Chapter modules A and B). Or maybe you are pressed for time and looking for the most application-based experiences for your members (Phase III offers flexible scheduling and work at your own pace project options instead of regular facilitated sessions).
The key is getting started. The program has been designed with flexibility in mind. Don’t be afraid to adapt a particular activity, session, or even an entire phase to meet the needs of your specific chapter.