If You Always Look for Problems, That’s Always What You’ll Find

The time is upon us when thousands of fraternity and sorority members will return to campus and begin another year.  Many of those groups will do the smart thing and have a retreat to plan out the year and set goals.  At the minimum, almost all fraternity and sorority leaders will think about questions like: what do we need to do to reach our potential?  To achieve excellence?

This post isn’t meant to answer those questions, for each situation is unique.  Rather, let me offer you some thoughts on how you get to those answers.

Fraternity and sorority life is a “problems-based” industry.  We are constantly talking about problems.  We seem to always be focused like a laser on what’s wrong with us and what needs to be fixed. 

It can be depressing.  I only have my hunches to back this up, but I think one of the reasons there is so much turnover in campus Greek advising is that individuals just get sick and tired of the constant negativity. 

I don’t believe that we can ignore our problems, especially the ones that could jeopardize our future in an instant.  But, what if we focused on our problems just a little bit less?  You might ask, well what would we focus on instead?

We would focus on what’s working.

To read the rest of this essay, as well as many others, order your copy of Forever Fraternity: Essays to Challenge, Celebrate and Advance the College Fraternity



  1. Good post John. There are many movements that focus on solutions rather than problems such as Dowser which may provide ideas to help motivate students to get involved.


  2. Great post! I love the perspective of celebrating the strengths. I always preach to make your time in the sorority so much fun, no one will want to miss out. Love the ideas in this post! Thanks!

  3. Where can I find more info on Appreciative Inquiry? Maybe something short (20-30 pages) that I can read and digest in an hour or so.