The Will, the Skills, the Tools

Any chapter can be successful at recruitment if it possesses the three elements I refer to in the title of this blog.  

First, the chapter has to have the WILL to recruit and grow their chapter. Everyone has to want to recruit a great new class of men and reach the growth goals the chapter has decided on. That means it’s important for all members to be willing to work hard, to “buy in” to the chapter’s recruitment goals, and to participate fully in as much as they possibly can in all recruitment activities. EVERY Brother is responsible to the chapter to contribute to the recruitment program. (Hint - it’s not the job of the Recruitment Chairman to do it all, no matter how good he is.)

Second, successful recruiting requires SKILLS. And I’m talking about skills that can be learned, honed, improved. Most of us are not born as great recruiters.  Think of one of your chapter Brothers who is a successful recruiter. Why is he so good? It’s because he possesses certain skills that make him a great recruiter - he may be great at meeting people, great at asking questions, great at listening, he may be fearless at meeting new people, he may be great at making appointments and asking prospective new members to come by the house; he may be great on the phone. I know some of those things may be part of his innate personality, but make no mistake, they are still skills that he works at and tries to improve. Stephen Curry may have been born with a certain innate athletic ability, but he is also one of the hardest practice players of his generation. Innate skills can be refined and improved. Now what about those of us to whom it doesn’t come naturally? Does that mean we’re hopelessly unable to contribute to recruitment? Absolutely not. We can learn skills, practice them, and get good at them. Maybe not as great as the recruitment gods of your chapter, but I believe that anyone with the WILL can learn the SKILLS to succeed. Is it hard work? Sure, harder for some than for others, but it’s worthwhile not only for the chapter but also for the individual member.  Try to think of a recruitment skill that won’t also come in handy in other aspects of life. DKE’s Chapter Consultants are very good at teaching the skills you need to succeed in recruitment.

Third, to reach maximum effectiveness, a chapter needs the right TOOLS to manage their recruitment program. Successful recruiting must be well organized, with good record-keeping, and systems to keep people accountable. And a good tool also enables you to keep in touch with your PNM’s consistently. You can build your own, or use the tools created by companies who exist to help fraternity chapters grow. My favorite is ChapterBuilder, by techniPHI. If you haven’t gotten a demo of this great tool, contact me or your Chapter Consultant. techniPHI offers a free version with tons of helpful features, and a paid version with even more capabilities. DKE HQ will sponsor the paid version of ChapterBuilder for one year, for any Deke Chapter who is interested and who can demonstrate that they’ll use it effectively.

So that’s my outlook on recruitment - if your chapter has the WILL to succeed and grow, DKE HQ can help with the SKILLS and the TOOLS. Any chapter can succeed if you commit to it.


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A Trend of Trends

One of the things I ask our Chapter Consultants to do after they visit a chapter is to provide me with an overall assessment of how the chapter is trending... upwards, downwards, or sideways.

 They take many factors into consideration when they make this assessment, so I won’t try to get into that here. Although to a large degree it’s a subjective measurement, it’s still helpful for me to see.

 I like to look at each one, but even more importantly I like to look at the macro level, to see how DKE is doing as a whole. Sort of like looking for a trend of trends.

 So far this academic year it’s looking really good; of the 51 chapters we’ve visited, we see 34 trending upwards, 2 trending downwards, and 15 in a sideways trend.

 It's good to see such a strong trend of chapters trending upwards.

 That’s really what it’s all about for a Deke Chapter, for DKE International - for just about any organization. Always be moving in the right direction, always be improving something. Even strong chapters (organizations) have some room to improve. When’s the last time you heard someone say “Hey, let’s be equally good as last year?” Not too often do you hear that. Most people in an organization - if they believe in the organization - have a strong desire to always be improving in some aspect of their performance.

 Sometimes changes happens “overnight,” other times it takes while. A lot of that depends on how big the change is that’s happening. But as long as you’re moving in the right direction, people are more motivated, they’re having fun, they feel they’re part of a winning team and that there’s a reward for the hard work they’re doing.

 Great job by our Deke Chapters for moving in the right direction.


Doug Lanpher

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“We Believe in Free Speech, but...”

One of our chapters got into hot water recently over a banner they posted which poked fun at football player Colin Kaepernick for his now-famous refusal to stand for the National Anthem. I thought it was a clever banner, on a topic that remains a major news story around the NFL, and really all over the U.S. Does Kaepernick have a right to sit or kneel during the National Anthem? Of course he does. Do we have a right to object to it and express our disagreement with his method of protest? Yes, you say? Well, not so fast, because according to some people, no, we don’t. Our humorous banner was considered offensive and hurtful by some interest groups, and they demanded that we get pre-approval of all banners. So let’s get this straight - most (if not all) members of a Deke chapter were offended by Kaepernick’s free expression of his beliefs (nobody from our chapter says he doesn’t have the right to kneel), but those students should not be allowed to express their opinion in opposition to Kaepernick? The University’s position was that it’s not good enough for us to simply say that we’re protesting his actions; we also have to consider the reason for Kaepernick’s protest (social injustice). So, they say we should not have made him the target of our humor, even satirically, because of the cause for which he was protesting. Our satire of his actions, they say, means we are also dismissing the reasons for his protest. Any critique whatsoever of Kaepernick, you would have to conclude, is therefore off limits. (South Park also had a funny satirical scene on Kaepernick.)

So what happens when one party’s free speech is considered offensive by someone who sees/hears it? This debate is being played out around campuses everywhere, and while there is no easy answer, many feel the scale has tipped too far in the direction of suppressing free speech. Some comedians won’t even perform at colleges any more because too much of their routines are considered offensive by somebody.

Of course DKE is part of a community and we must behave responsibly and in good taste. We are, after all, gentlemen, scholars, and jolly good fellows. But where’s the line? Where’s the boundary between censorship and social commentary?


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