I don’t really talk about it much here on this blog (though it is listed on my about page), but I am a proud member of Sigma Phi Epsilon (WA Beta chapter, PC02) and was on the executive committee during the transition to the Balanced Man program in 2004/2005. I was browsing my Facebook groups earlier today, and one of the ones I don’t frequent enough is the Sigma Phi Epsilon Washington Beta Chapter. As a reminder to how far the fraternity has come in the last 6 years, Eric Lord posted a link to the Today Show segment from 2006 that featured Sigeps WA Beta regarding their migration to the balanced man program back in 2004/2005. Here’s the clip:

I consider all those who spoke in that video good friends. Neil, Kyle and Ryan were pledge brothers of mine (and Neil a roommate of mine for a quarter). Adam Zitzman, one year my elder in Sigeps but the same age in school, was one of my closest fraternity brothers throughout my 3 years. Zach was one of the first 4 pledges to go through the balanced man program.

That migration to the Balanced Man program was not easy. There were many hard executive meetings. Numerous emotional chapter meetings leading up to it. Some rough board meetings. 90% of the house quit or was kicked out. We lost an entire pledge class during that migration. But we got through it as a close cohesive unit.

What did I learn by going through the process? The biggest lesson is that housecleaning is good. Whether in life or in business, totally cleaning house every now and then is often needed. The more time that passes, the more bloated any individual or business becomes. For individuals, it largely means relationship strains. For businesses, it largely means inefficient processes and poor-performing team members. We all know everyone hates change — often times, starting from scratch with a clean slate is much easier than trying to change established norms slowly over time. I can tell you for certain that migrating slowly to the Balanced Man program would have been exponentially harder with a larger group — and it would have been a poor example for future brothers to allow poor performers to stick around.

From what I hear, the house is now back up to 100 members and doing phenomenally well on all fronts. The traditional pledge system and partying non stop was certainly a fun once in a lifetime experience, but I firmly believe the Balanced Man program is the way fraternities should be, and will be, run in the future.

– Drew, PC’02