For most people, math is not a strong suit. Many even have trouble making change and balancing a bank account. And when it comes to geometry, algebra and calculus....forget it. But there are two basic math equations that speak volumes to how well or poorly House Corporations and Active Chapters work together: R-R=R and R+R=R.
Translated into plain English, R-R=R means Rules without Relationship equals Rebellion. The House Corporation that uses this approach stays distant and aloof from Active Chapter except for collection and rules enforcement. Since actives are still maturing, they inevitably will make some immature decisions when it comes to financial accountability and care of the chapter house. With a detached House Corporation, these bad decisions usually trigger a parental response. Angry phone calls or emails from House Corp rain down on the officers or a surprise visit tirade ensues with comments like “This place looks like s*&#!”
With the R-R=R equation, Active Chapter rebellion is predictable because young brothers carry a fair amount of pride and “I can do it myself” attitude. The rebellion may manifest itself openly or subversively. Open rebellion is in your face. Subversive rebellion is the smile of compliance followed with a failure to follow through. Whether open or subversive, the effects are the same. Either little changes or matters get worse.
R+R=R, on the other hand, translates into Respect plus Relationship equals Responsibility. When a House Corporation takes the time to respectfully and regularly interact with active brothers about positive things, the tone of the relationship radically changes. Most young brothers have a desire for approval and a need to be appreciated. Take the time to find ways to compliment and encourage. Gush over rush success and improved grades. Praise the latest house cleaning, charity fundraiser or renovation project.
Take this equation to a personal level. Ask questions like:
- Where did you come from?
- What are you studying?
- How do you spend your time?
- Have you thought about running for office?
- What about Sigma Chi is most important to you?
The answers to these questions are very important to the one being asked. Make those answers important to you as well. A closer relationship can be further developed through Active/Alumni social events, House Corp Board Meetings held at the chapter house, mentoring, attending initiation ceremonies, helping with Initiation Week, athletic event tailgates and other ways. Be creative. These contacts should focus on nurturing the “brother” aspect of the relationship. These brothers already have parents and aren’t looking for more.
Another advantage of R+R=R is you can get a sense of who the potential leaders are. At Active Chapter, the cream doesn’t always rise to the top. Some obvious leaders still don’t recognize they have the talent. An older brother’s encouragement could make all the difference. Effective Active Chapter officers always make House Corp’s job much easier because they will be more likely to enforce accountability. The better Active Chapter governs itself, the easier House Corp’s job is.
The beauty of this basic math is it takes much less time than the damage control House Corps deal with when things are in crisis. Use the R+R=R formula for success. Not only will you focus on positive outcomes, you’ll nurture lifelong relationships with new Sigma Chi brothers.