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What is their Contribution?

You just patched a new guy. His patch is not even dry on his back. He has been riding a brand spanking new bike for about a year. The only previous club he has been in is a bowling league. What could he possibly have to contribute to your nation? What could he possible teach a 30-year club member? I have heard this many times. The NFG does his probationary time, patches, and then is told to STFU until he “learns”. Let me let you in on a little secret. Sometimes the quietest guy in the room has the best idea. Let me say that again, MANY times the quietest guy in the room has the best idea. If your Ego gets in the way of your ears you are doing your nation a disservice. So many times, the description of “can’t see the forest for the trees” prevents new ideas from emerging. I am guilty of being narrow minded sometimes. I may be passionate about a direction or an action I feel that our club needs to do, and then out of nowhere, the guy who rarely says anything, or the guy who is newest to the chapter, says something that is genius. 

I have been in this game awhile. I have been in ranking leadership roles for more than a decade in club life, and even longer at work. Can I contribute gainful knowledge to our organization? I think I do. Am I smart? I think I can hold my own. Often what makes me smart is that I recognize in every conversation that I am most possibly not the smartest guy in the room. I recognize the difference between someone who thinks they know it all, and someone who might have a good idea. Or a better way. I also must be humble enough to sometimes let the idea I do not agree with play out. It might work after all. You might have just patched a guy that is successful in business, or finances, or just thinks outside the box. Let him speak. Some bullies love to speak over everyone and show the room how “smart” they are. They are most often not the smartest guy in the room. Nor do they always have the best ideas. But they think they do. Let me tell you something. If you think you are the smartest guy in the room, you are most often not. You might be the highest-ranking member. You might have the longest time in the club. But if you cannot learn from other ideas, you are most definitely not the smartest guy in the room. 

Your club “church” should be an open forum where everyone, and I mean everyone wearing your patch should be heard. If it is not, you are doing your club a tremendous disservice. Too often people in leadership roles forget where they came from. They forget that they once were “that guy” in the room who is still getting comfortable in his patch. Two things are accomplished by letting him speak. One, you might learn something from him. Two, he may say something that has been tried and tested but did not work out for one reason or another. Now you have heard him and taught him. Sometimes you might hear him, and he teaches you. I have been witnessed to this in my own leadership roles many times. 

So, I ask again, what is their contribution? They are sometimes, even accidently, smarter than you. Get over it and take advantage of it. That is how you grow. As a nation, and as a Leader.

My Road name is Tabasco… Keep it Real

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