How often do you hear this from your group members?
Man, our survival group stinks.
We’re just a drinking group with a survival problem.
We never do anything cool, all we do is meet every once in a while but nothing ever seems to happen.
Lucky for you I have some simple ideas how to get our group back on track. You need to start making things happen or your group will fizzle out, they always do.
Do you know what the most common problems are in groups?
Why? Well there are a number of reasons but often it’s because it usually isn’t as fun as expected, it truly is that easy. People stop showing up and the people that do show up either do all the work or spend their time socializing or disagreeing.
<<<Caution: Problems being solved ahead>>>
If you want people to spend their valuable time with you building a group, you need to give them something to work with. You must give it an identity and offer people a mission that they believe in. Even if you have a group that has been meeting for a long time you may need to take a step back and make sure you are moving in the right direction. We see groups that have fallen into autopilot mode and that’s not always good.
“Championship sports teams don’t just keep winning because they keep winning, they need to re-calibrate and retool their plans, plays and teams to stay fresh and ahead of the game.”
Once we know what we are not doing we can come up with some ideas to get some things done. Those would be called goals. A goal is something that can be accomplished within a reasonable period of time that keeps the ball moving.
I’ll give you an example: have you ever been to meetings where nothing gets accomplished, or you never seem to complete a project, or the team gives up? I know for a fact that some of you right now are nodding your heads because I see it all the time.
“I don’t want excuses, I want results”
This is where the action plan comes in. Once you decide what you want to accomplish you need to take steps to get it done. Did you know that most people who are given responsibility would try harder to complete that responsibility if they believe in the task and know people are counting on them? Especially if they have to stand up at the next meeting and give a status report. You did choose the best people for your group didn’t you? Well you are about to find out.
Let’s get into how we should identify our goals and how to make that action plan so your group is working like a Swiss Watch. We are going to keep it simple and not bite off more than we can chew, for now. Remember, you want people to show up, participate, and go home feeling like they had a good time so they will keep coming back. They probably didn’t sign up for a second job so keep that in mind.
Have you ever heard the saying: “Train as you would fight and fight as you trained?” In order to train for the battle you are expecting, you need to know what you are expecting. Keep it close to the basics because every scenario you can imagine has similar requirements for survival. If you are prepared for an extreme natural disaster you are still pretty well covered in case of a zombie apocalypse. The main difference is the length of time you would need to be self-reliant.
“At the end of the day all you are trying to do is stay fed, watered, healthy and safely sheltered for as long as possible, so just do that stuff.”
How do I get this thing started?
Begin by asking your group a couple of basic questions and see if the answers are at least somewhat similar. If so, you are in good shape. If not then you’ll need to focus your group content at a lower common denominator so everyone is getting what they want from the group.
(Hint, there are no wrong answers, this is just feedback for planning)
- What is everyone preparing for?
- What are you as group currently doing to get prepared?
- Are the families supportive of what you are doing? Why not? What are you doing that turns them off? Maybe you need to refocus at the lower common denominator and re frame the discussion to a vision that is less extreme and more attractive to the layperson to get them involved.
- What kinds of things would you like to work on to get better prepared?
Your group is for all intents and purposes an extended family and it may seem like everyone has a different idea on what you should be doing. By clearing up the confusion of the basic stuff you pave the way to doing the cool stuff.
Let’s be SMART about this
Use the SMART method for determining what you want to get done. That’s another way of saying “setting goals.” When you have some ideas of things you want to do, take a moment and see if your idea meets the challenge of being SMART.
Ask yourself, is my idea:
Sample NOT SMART idea:
Let’s go turn Rusty’s house into a fortress! That’s a pretty tall order and could take a very long time not to mention we would all do it differently. Look at the Doomsday Castle as an example of different… and still not done.
Ok, let’s try again:
“How about we go on a camping trip where different people in the group teach skills they are good at to the rest of the group?” Is this a SMART idea? Not yet. It’s the beginning of an idea but not a goal that people can get behind yet. It’s actually more of a thought that will become another lost fantasy unless we nail it down.
How about we try it this way?
Get the leaders to meet sometime before the general group meeting to come up with ideas to get people involved. Then at the group meeting announce that we want to plan a camping trip to Rock Lake Wildlife Area in September where we will have members teach each other skills, try out our gear, cook-out, let the kids play and have some fun.
This meets the SMART guidelines and shows the group is doing fun productive activities.
Now that you have a goal you can put it into action.
The best way to do this is to form a team to make it happen. You can either volunteer or voluntold some people to form the planning team.
They will in turn take the larger problem of organizing the campout and break it into smaller pieces
- Get available dates for the site in September
- Get pricing for the site and a list of amenities
- Create a list of class ideas and instructors
- Create a time schedule for the event and classes
- Come up with some social time ideas for the families
- Plan group meals
- Make a flyer with all the details for the group
And that’s how it’s done.
By creating good ideas that fit in with what the group is all about and including everyone you will:
- Increase participation
- Members will become more committed
- Families will be involved
- People will learn new things
- The teams will work better
- You will really get to know each other
- The group will become stronger and more flexible
- The dead weight of the group will disappear or at least you will know who they are
If you have ideas to share with us of things your group likes to do, post in the comments. People are always looking for good ideas.