Wednesday, November 17, 2010


In my endeavors with leadership at Drake I came across a book which has done wonders for me. It’s your Ship by Captain Abrashoff would be on my must read to lead list. One of the simple and effective notions discussed is validation. Everyone, regardless of your job, likes to know they are appreciated. The best leaders will take time to make sure they have face time with everyone in the organization to at genuinely thank them for what they do. I had this experience working in the admissions department, where I am the lowest ranked person. I do clerical work. If you are reading this as a prospective student, chances are any mailing you received, I and my cohorts of minimum wage earners assembled. A few days ago the head-honcho of our entire department came into our room. There is generally no reason to be in our room-other than the coffee machine, but he is on a different floor, and presumably has an office big enough for his own coffee machine. He stopped by just to say hello, chat with us and then at the end thanked us for what we were doing. Is what we do glorious work, no, its mundane, but it is sincerely appreciated by the top brass and knowing that helps ease the monotony. Imagine if the general came in to talk to privates just to say hey I really appreciate the work you are doing for this organization. Chances are they would remember that.
Instill validation in your own leadings. Every man in the fraternity was asked to give me the addresses and birthdays of his parents/guardians. On those birthdays I send a card from all of us brothers. At the end I always put in something about their son that I appreciate, an idea I borrowed from the book. I, like Captain Abrashoff, had a member come to me and thank me for sending that, and his father told him that he was proud of him, which didn’t happen often. It was a fantastic feeling.

Friday, November 5, 2010

All the Small Things

Last night was a pretty cool evening. In fact this whole year has delivered many “I love college” moments.
Millions of years ago Greek Life stood for building better men and women and fraternal bonds with everyone. One of the ways this was shown to the sorority women was through serenades. Every Greek organization has a sweetheart song (ours is the Rose of Pi Kappa Phi.) Serenades have evolved into a song written about the sorority followed up by the sweetheart song. This allows for as much creativity and fun as possible. Last night was probably the best one we have ever done. Ironically there were only three of us to serenade the women of Kappa Alpha Theta. The other houses easily all had at least 20 guys. We went 2nd to last and walked into the room packed with probably 80 Theta girls. I set down the plastic Rock Band drum set while Alex and Ben strapped up their guitar hero guitars. We hit play on the ipod and went into a Theta specific version of Blink 182’s All the Small Things (All the Thetas.) We rocked it and had the sorority girls up on their feet jumping around and rocking out. Then the three of us dropped to our knee and barber shop quarteted (new word) our Sweetheart Song. This is the first time Pi Kappa Phi took first in a serenade.
Shortly after I put on a suit and tie and argued before the entire Student Senate for their endorsement of Drake Sportsmen’s club to give student a venue to learn how to safely enjoy firearms. It also went brilliantly. It has been quite some time before I have argued before a large group (mock trial high school) and it is still a rush. Not bad for a Thursday night.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Take it Easy

Four bands exist on my bucket list. In no particular order: Green Day, Blink 182, Jimmy Buffett, and the Eagles. I recently got to check off one, which puts me at 50%.
Friday evening I was out with a buddy hanging out with more buddies, doing buddy things. After sinking a remarkable shot, I checked my phone. The text message I had received read the following: Sunday evening, would you be my guest at the Eagles if you don’t have anything to do?”
The implications of that text made my weekend. In fact this last month has been fantastic! (Marathon, Eagles, Birthday, making use of 21st birthday)
There have been many times in my life when the Eagles have given much much comfort. This past summer, sitting on the beach south of the Suez I was switching between Jimmy and the Eagles, and it was simply amazing. As I sat in the Wells Fargo Arena in downtown Des Moines, the same feeling swept over. In fact I generally have this rather stupid looking smug on my face when I become extremely happy and excited. My cheeks hurt from 3 hours of smiling. The most magical moment was when my favorite song came on: Take it to the limit, one more time…
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