The Power of "Connection"...
This guest blog is submitted by members of the Alliance's Grow Younger Task Force, Nate Lamusga, Director of Member Engagement for Catholic United Financial and Kelsey Logan, Member Programs Manager for Western Fraternal Life Association.
Thanks for bringing in Shabnam Mogharabi and for a perpetual lump in my throat throughout her presentation about her work at Soul Pancake (LOVE Kid President!). I was thinking about her mission to connect people and about a presentation on storytelling at the last Spring Symposium and how these two things tie together. I've been beating that drum back at our home office and among our sales staff to seek out those stories that shine a light on the impact we can make in people's lives. A key take-away for me is that simply asking for people to look for those stories and share them is not enough. Perhaps we should be looking at developing a strategy for seeking out stories and telling them to anyone and everyone that will listen. I get energized at the prospect of how this can build community, inspire people, and raise awareness of who we are and why we do what we do.
Wow! What an amazing way to kick off the conference with a emotional authentic presentation from Soul Pancake. There are many points that I thought were relevant to us as for fraternals. here are few:
Get uncomfortable. It's the key to a real connection. What does that mean for us? How about being honest about where we are and where we want to be. Having the hard discussions with our members and those who provide buy-in to our companies. Using that information on social media and on our website to create honest conversations to drive the content that's necessary to explain who we really are.
It doesn't matter how good the content is if no one sees it. Enough said on that.
It is vital that the mission be infused within every employee, interaction, and product. Here's a test that I think any one of our fraternals could use. Go to some of the lower-level employees in your organization and ask them what the mission is of your organization. Does their response match what your actual mission is? Ask them to explain what your company does, or how they would explain it to someone they had never met. You might find that it's not a perfect match for what you actually do. Use that as a guiding light when explaining your mission through your employees because it starts from the top. How can we expect our members to know our missions if not everyone in our company knows it?
I'd like to give a huge shout-out to Lisa Flannery from Degree of Honor. During the session about mergers and how to do them, it was extremely apparent that many difficult decisions went into that process. Her candor and honesty about the merger, I believe, will make it easier for others to talk about this sometimes taboo topic.