Another great post over at the Washington Post leadership blog:
1. Be present and accessible. More than usual. More than ever. Helps a lot to be seen. “Management by Walking Around,” as Peters and Waterman wrote almost 30 years ago, is more critical now than ever before. C.P. Snow wrote in the late 50s that leaders “must never absent themselves during times of crisis.” Be there. Now. Visible.
Perhaps this advice applies more to the closed-door office manager who never gets any ‘facetime’ with the employees. But this applies to fraternity officers too. The beginning of a new year is as good a time as any to finally rid your chapter of some questionable traditions. Simply being present in a different way can make a big difference.
2. Communicate obsessively about:
— The challenges facing the organization and a frank and clear, step-by-step on what must be done.
— The fact that we’re all in this together, that our fates are correlated and that the only route to success is more transparency and more collaboration.
— What’s important — often forgotten, even in good times.
It’s so easy for chapter officers to get consumed by the day-to-day activities: submitting paperwork to the student activities office, completing annual reports, preparing for meetings and the list goes on. But don’t forget about the important-but-not-urgent matters. For instance, clarifying the vision and strategic goals of your chapter and including the members in this process. Is it written down? Posted in the chapter home? Talked about at every meeting?
4. You are not alone. Abandon that susceptible ego, the dangerous delusion, that you alone can solve the problem or invent new strategies that will, with one wave of the wand, guarantee future success, that asking for help isn’t, er, manly.
There’s a common denominator between excellent chapters: they have excellent chapter advisors (and they actually utilize them). It might be tough for some officers to admit, but you can’t do everything yourself. So beginning this week, call your chapter advisors and invite them to lunch. Stop by your Greek advisor’s office and say hello. Tell them what’s going on and ask for some advice.
You have to quickly identify trusted colleagues within and others, outside the cocoon of the C-suite, for their advice. During crises, the tendency of top management is to circle the wagons.You must have a network of mavens and others whose experience and expertise can make a huge difference?
Sometimes people make mistakes, crises happen. In such cases circling the wagons is one of the worst things you can do (remember, even excellent chapters make mistakes from time to time. The difference is that they actually utilize their resources). Don’t wait around for someone else–school administrators or the General Fraternity–to fix a problem for you. Greek Life professionals are resources, not babysitters. If you seek our advice to change something, we’ll drop everything to help.