The Inaugural Presidents' Academy
Last weekend, January 11-13, I was privileged to attend the inaugural Delta Sigma Pi President’s Academy on behalf of the Iota Nu chapter. St. Louis may have been expecting a foot of snow, but it did not keep 200+ presidents across the nation from attending the Academy!
An integral part of the weekend was an assessment called the Birkman Method, which each attendee took prior in December. The Birkman Method is a multi-dimensional assessment based on an individual’s interests, usual behavior, needs, stress behavior, and career data. It helps individuals understand their unique behavior and work satisfaction. It divides common characteristics into four colors (red, blue, green and yellow) and four symbols representing interests, usual behavior, needs, and stress behavior. It was no surprise to see about 75% of the Deltasigs present in the “yellow” interests category, meaning they like to schedule activities, do detailed work, control, and work with numbers!
Using this information, participants were led us through sessions on “Incentivizing, Motivating, and Accountability”, “Navigating Difficult Conversations”, “Strategic Goal Setting”, and more through large group sessions with all attendees and small group sessions of about 15. I certainly recommend reading more about the Birkman Method!
This being the inaugural academy, I went into the weekend with no expectations. However, the Academy furthered my leadership and professional development skills beyond what I could have imagined. Through the activities, I learned about myself, but I also learned how to adapt to other people’s needs and behavior. One of my favorite small group sessions was practicing having difficult conversations, which is, well, difficult! This session included discussing the 8-step process of having conversations such as a member not meeting requirements or acting unprofessional.
Outside the activities, I immensely enjoyed meeting the leadership of chapters across the USA. I learned about the challenges they faced, exciting events and activities happening in their chapters, and overall left the weekend with a much greater support system and contacts than I had previously. We were able to learn from each other, and I’ve already been able to share some of those ideas with Iota Nu. I’m still dissecting everything I heard/learned at the Academy and brainstorming more ways to share with my chapter. After all, the President’s Academy was not meant to better just one person from each chapter - it was to start a chain reaction of growth and learning that spreads to each person across the nation, as Delta Sigma Pi is not made of just its formal leadership, it is made of every brother.
Lastly, I just want to shout “THANK YOU” to all the donors, organizers, and facilitators of the President’s Academy. So much time, thought, and money were donated and it manifested as a well-organized, meaningful, and successful inaugural President’s Academy. I am excited to see what future Academies hold.