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What's Your First Step?

October 9, 2012
One more thought about Jim Collins’ presentation at the Alliance's 2012 Annual Meeting before I move on to other topics... Collins was clearly fascinated by the fraternal business model and believes that the timing may be right for a fraternal resurgence - provided we face the "cold brutal facts" confronting us in a straightforward and realistic manner. One of those facts is that almost every society is dealing with a rapidly aging number of members and isn't coming close to replacing them with younger ones. Collins challenged fraternals to transform their societies so that one-half of their membership will be under 35 years old within 10 years. The audience's silence was deafening. You could hear what people were thinking: "Impossible." "If only we could!" "Is he crazy?" "He's absolutely right - but where do we start?" About a week later, I was standing atop Angel's Landing in Zion National Park peering down at one of the most awe inspiring views on the planet - a spectacular canyon of 1,500-foot walls of Navajo limestone carved by a seemingly innocuous little river that a five-year-old could wade across with ease. Picture the scene ages ago when the Creator looked out over the vast Colorado Plateau and described what she envisioned for the tiny little river. "1,500 feet deep; sheer walls of painted rock; a place where people will come and feel a close connection to me." And the river's response: "Are you crazy!?!?!? I can't do that. I'm only a small river." The Creator's response: "Try." And so the river did, and by moving one grain of sand at a time, Zion Canyon was born.

We can do the same thing in our societies. But we have to try - perhaps even considering options that we once thought were crazy. Most important, we have to move that first grain of sand - take that first step - so that transformation can begin.