I attended my college fraternity chapter’s 65th Anniversary Celebration this summer. As I reflected back on my time in the chapter, here are some things I learned during my four years as an undergraduate at Arkansas State University.
1. There is strength in diversity.
You couldn’t put a label on my Teke chapter because we didn’t fit nicely under any one description. We had varsity and intramural athletes, ROTC cadets, scholars in various majors, musicians, artists, comedians (lots of those), and members with many other talents and gifts. We had and did it all. I am convinced that is why we won Top Teke Chapter so many times, won Greek grade point average, had ROTC cadet commanders, Student Government presidents, sports mascots, won intramural sports competitions. We excelled at just about everything we did.
2. Teamwork makes the dream work.
I learned a lot about teamwork. Nearly everything we did as a fraternity was in teams or groups. Even when someone did something as an individual, there was always a team supporting him in the background.
3. A cause or a purpose is the key to excellence.
When we won something or did something great, we always had a purpose. Whether it was going for Top Teke Chapter, rolling kegs for St. Jude, competing in intramural sports, competing in homecoming displays, sorority follies or working on grades, we had a purpose that drove us and focused our efforts. And a lot of the time it was a purpose greater than ourselves.
4. There is a leader in all of us.
We had a lot of leaders in the chapter but time and time again, I saw individuals step out of the background and take the lead on something in their strength or area of interest. The chapter provided opportunities for everyone to find the leader inside them and influence others to action.
I continued to see these four things in most all of the successful organizations I’ve been in or observed:
- diversity in skills, talents and passions
- a cause or purpose
- an environment that provided opportunities for leader development
What about your organization? If these four elements are not present, what can you do to add them? What other critical elements of successful organizations would you add to this list?