By: Resource Consultant Tyler Vienot, Saginaw Valley State ’09

If you haven’t read the first post, A Shared Responsibility, from this blog series, you really should.

VolunteerRecently I have been focused on improving my time management and personal productivity. I know have been seeing results. If you’re interested in the program I am using, it’s called “Getting Things Done” by David Allen.

In Allen’s book he talks about providing any system you use with hard edges. This means mentally you want to keep the boundaries or hard edges that you initially start. Otherwise, when you start blurring the lines and accepting the gray areas, you will have a problem sticking to your system.

How does this apply to fraternity operations? Just about anything you can think of.

Letting a member slide on not paying his dues, because of a hardship case? The future Executive Council will think that it is ok, and begin allowing everyone to slide. If a special case needs to be made, make sure advisors are involved, and everything is put in writing.

Recruiting a guy without ensuring he is on the names’ list, because he is going to join no matter what? If you’re not using the names list properly, why even have a names list? All men, regardless of interest level, should be recorded on the names list.

Letting a member participate in risky behavior and not intervening, because he was stressed? There is no excuse for putting yourself or others at risk. Respond appropriately, the member, and possibly others, need to know how to better respond to stress in the future.

A member gets a bad GPA, but it’s OK because he has a hard class? Settling for OK is never an OK thing. As a chapter you should always be striving for progress. This member needs to know where to find the proper resources regardless of his major.

It is clearly easy to start slipping into the gray area. Once that begins to happen you erode the hard edges. It makes it hard for you or anyone to consistently enforce against that hard edge.

As a leader or advisor your job is not to dictate, over power or sit and do nothing in these cases. You need to clearly state the hard edges, inform members of the consequences and teach them how to appropriately react if and when then hit that hard edge.