Your organization is defined by its members. Without great people, you cannot have a great team. Therefore, much thought and effort should be put into identifying the individuals who will be most dedicated and most excellent at what your organizations does. If you’re extremely lucky, you’ll have a couple of individuals who are both. The way that you structure the rules, the culture, and the initiatives of your organization will have a direct effect on at least a portion of your members. As you read through the blog posts that follow consider how a shift in your strategy might affect your current members and the members who are interested in joining your organization. Will your reforms make people more or less dedicated and passionate? Have you built a team that works well together?
There are two measures that can be helpful when thinking about your team composition: passion and personality. We’ll start with levels of passion. Your members will fall into roughly three categories: passionates, fence sitters, and impossibles. Due to the choices you make and the external events that affect your members, your members will shift between categories. The actions that you take should maximize the number of members who are passionates.
Leaders dream of having a team of all passionates. These are the people who will dedicate copious amounts of time and energy to your cause; they’ll stick by your side and work with you to take the group through difficult periods. They won’t even complain if you ask them to go pick up pizza because sometimes you just don’t want to do it yourself…you lazy bum. Recruiting these individuals is reasonably easy because they will naturally be drawn to causes that inspire them. If your cause happens to fall into their category, they’ll arrive without too much effort or bidding. If you have a member that falls into this category, take note, and dedicate more resources to his or her success. Excellent people have a lot of options. While these people will be willing to suffer more than average before they quit, the easiest way to disenfranchise your passionates is to forget to value them. Good policies, fair treatment, and a vibrant organizational atmosphere will convert members into passionates.
Fence sitters will likely make up the majority of the people you recruit and of the freshmen you interact with. As their name suggests, fence sitters currently sit on the fence and might swing either way to passionate or impossible depending on how well you lead and structure your organization. These are the people you hold information sessions for and the ones you need to bribe with free food. The incentives in the beginning will play a vital role to getting these people to show up. Once you’ve convinced them to show, you’ll have additional opportunities to woo and convince them. You want to convert fence sitters to passionates as soon as possible.
The last group is the impossibles. Somehow, inevitably, you’ll probably end up with a couple of people who fall into this category from the get go. These individuals are the worst. They’ll be late to meetings if they deign them important enough to show up at all. They’ll consume your energy and resources without contributing anything in return. Unless you’re a masochist who likes having your blood sucked, get rid of these incorrigible leaches as soon as you can. Dedicate as little energy as possible to them and make sure their impact is minimal. They’ll make it through your tryouts with a silver tongue that promises dedication without ever delivering. You’ll need to build a robust and fair system to identify these members and remove them. Of course, all of this rests on the assumption that you did not create impossibles through your policies and practices. Poor leadership choices, unclear policies, and a toxic team environment can turn even your best members into impossibles in a hurry. Study this blog well, and the only impossibles you’ll have to deal with are the ones you didn’t inspire.