This past summer at the 62nd National Convention in Sacramento, Calif., as the mantle of leadership passed from one generation to the next, I observed that Phi Kappa Tau is larger than each of us. This brotherhood was here before us, and it will be here after us. We are its stewards but for a time. Our charge is to take what has been gifted to us, hold it in trust for a moment, and leave it better than we found it.
Ten volunteer members of your National Council accepted that charge for this moment; we are working each day diligently to prove we are worthy of that trust, and we are committed to leaving Phi Kappa Tau stronger for future generations.
That’s why we have wasted no time during the first few months of our administration in outlining an optimistic vision for the Fraternity and acting with vigor and precision to carry out that plan. The core of our effort is the next phase of our strategic plan, Phi Kappa Tau 2020: Focusing Our Vision.
As we have launched Phi Kappa Tau 2020 and begun these two years of work together, it is an appropriate time for a retrospective and prospective look at our strategic planning process and execution.
Reviewing our Accomplishments
Since celebrating our centennial in 2006, Phi Kappa Tau executed a strategic plan that represented the Fraternity’s first true roadmap for its future. The plan, based on the tenets of Jim Collins’ book, “Good to Great”, used the Fraternity’s 100th birthday—and an associated capital campaign by the Phi Kappa Tau Foundation—as a springboard to address some of our brotherhood’s most important challenges.
Under the leadership of Past National Presidents Charlie Ball, Miami ’82, Bill Macak, Florida State ’73, and Greg Heilmeier, Bethany ’86, as well as the National Council, Executive Offices staff, and brothers across the country, the Fraternity made substantial progress. Since placing that first-ever strategic plan in motion, Phi Kappa Tau has experienced record-breaking undergraduate membership of more than 4,700 men, created new educational programs, certified over 800 alumni volunteers, and chartered 22 chapters.
As the Centennial Celebration was intended to be a brief commemoration and not a destination, the strategic plan was a blueprint for a short period of time. Unlike many such plans that are written and then are placed on a shelf to collect dust, the strategic plan was carried into effect and many of its goals were achieved. But, as the plan reached its intended endpoint, it became clear that we need to take action once again to challenge our organization.
As an advocate for long-term strategic planning throughout my professional career, I have been a vocal proponent during the past six years on the National Council for a new plan that would set challenging but attainable goals for the next few years and initiate a dialogue on a much loftier vision for our future. This past March the Fraternity entered the second decade of its second century, and at the 62nd National Convention in July the National Council unveiled Phi Kappa Tau 2020.
Looking Ahead with Optimism
Like the earlier plan, Phi Kappa Tau 2020 is composed of five strategic imperatives: Governance; Recruitment/Retention; Leadership; Education; and Service. Like the efforts of our predecessors, we are advancing this plan with enthusiasm.
Key among the National Fraternity’s accomplishments since July 10, 2016, are:
the appointment of five distinguished alumni as national advisors for Governance, Recruitment/Retention, Education, Leadership and Service–all of whom are leading committees in executing their strategic imperatives of Phi Kappa Tau 2020;
the appointment of five highly qualified national committee chairmen charged with transforming the fraternity experience for Phi Taus of all generations;
the establishment of the Presidents Roundtable Initiative (PRI), a series of monthly conference calls with small groups of chapter presidents, designed to increase transparency and better communication between the National Fraternity and its chapters;
the establishment of the Volunteer Recruitment and Training Initiative (VRTI), a program chaired by National Vice President Bill Brasch, Louisville ’66, to identify, engage and cultivate high-quality alumni volunteers to Boards of Governors and House Corporations;
the establishment of a Convention Review Commission (CRC), chaired by Past National President Greg Hollen, Maryland ’75, and charged with conducting a full-scale review of the Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity’s national biennial gathering; and
the recruitment of nearly 1,200 new undergraduate members by chapters across the United States.
Moving forward, Phi Kappa Tau will continue to improve significantly, swiftly and fearlessly. I challenge each brother—undergraduate or graduate, our newest initiate or our most senior alumnus, from all parts of this great National Fraternity—to answer the question: “What kind of Phi Kappa Tau are we building?” For my part, I can answer with intentionality and pride that we are building a durable Phi Kappa Tau–one that will be here not just in 2020, but when men who haven’t even been born are celebrating our bicentennial in 2106.
The work of building that Phi Kappa Tau rests not only with your National Council, Executive Offices staff, current alumni volunteers or the young men who are experiencing their first few years of brotherhood as college students, but with each and every one of us. Let us remember the Mark of Distinction the Fraternity conferred, the Oath to which we subscribed and the sacred meaning of our Cardinal Principles as we work together to build this second century of Phi Kappa Tau.