True Brother Initiative
“Under the umbrella name of the TRUE Brother Initiative, Lambda Chi Alpha has structured a comprehensive development program for undergraduate brothers to actively live our Seven Core Values in every aspect of their lives. Developed and piloted in 2006, the TRUE Brother Initiative was made available to our nearly 200 chapters and colonies in 2007. To measure the effectiveness of the program, surveys are administered at association and initiation, and the final academic term before graduation.
From the beginning of a man’s Lambda Chi Alpha experience, these values are instilled and cultivated through a tactical approach to values-based recruiting. Additionally, our associate member program has grown through a demanding, but never demeaning, new member education framework focusing on a young man’s growth, maturation, and development rooted in these philosophical values.”
- Seven Core Values
- Outer Circle
- Inner Circle
- Mastery Circle
- Call to Brotherhood
- Esoteric Mysteries
- TRUE Leadership
Seven Core Values
Establishes the correct order of our obligations and commitments. Unswerving allegiance to the organization and its laws, ideals, and defining principles prevents us from misplacing our loyalties.
Delineates the sum total of all laws, rules, and customs that make up our organizational, civic, and moral obligations. Our values originate with duty because we expect individuals, as a minimum, to fulfill their obligations. We often expect individuals to exceed their duty, especially in ethical matters.
Denotes the regard and recognition of the absolute dignity that every human possesses. Specifically, respect indicates compassion for and consideration of others, including sensitivity to and regard for the feelings and needs of others.
Service & Stewardship
Service before self signifies the proper ordering of priorities. The welfare of the organization comes before the individual’s. While the focus is on service to Lambda Chi Alpha and broader communities, the idea also incorporates the concept of stewardship, of holding something of value in trust for others.
Describes the complex of all values that make up the public code of the individual. Significantly, honor provides the motive for action and demands adherence to a public moral code, not protection of reputation.
Encompasses the sum total of a person’s set of values — his private moral code. A breach of any of these values will damage the individual’s integrity. Integrity, closely related to the word integer, refers to a notion of completeness or wholeness.
Depicts the premier virtue that enables us to persevere despite fear, danger, or adversity. Personal courage includes the notion of taking responsibility for decisions and actions. Additionally, it involves the ability to perform critical self-assessment, to confront new ideas and to change.
New members in Lambda Chi Alpha are recruited and then immediately welcomed as potential brothers in the bond through the Fraternity’s exoteric Associate Member Ceremony. After experiencing the Associate Member Ceremony, new members are exposed to the Call to Brotherhood — Lambda Chi Alpha’s Associate Member education program and training curriculum.
Over the course of the eight weeks, they learn about Lambda Chi Alpha, its history, how we are organized, how we function as a group, how we govern ourselves, how we develop leaders for our chapter, our campus, and our country, and, most importantly, how we develop brotherhood. The Call to Brotherhood is designed to provide new members with a foundation of conceptual understandings and practical skills facilitating developmental growth as men and contributing brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha.
During associate member orientation, new members learn the Seven Core Values forming the foundation of Lambda Chi Alpha’s approach to brotherhood. These Seven Core Values—Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Service and Stewardship, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage—once learned and internalized equip each Lambda Chi Alpha brother with a clear moral compass always orienting him, no matter the environment or consequences, toward making ethical decisions. Over the ensuing weeks, the Seven Core Values are examined, one each week, and defined as to how the week’s specific core value relates to real situations in Lambda Chi Alpha. Again, our purpose is to prepare the new member, to build a solid foundation for further growth so, once initiated, he is inspired to become a TRUE Brother.
The last step before Initiation is the associate member’s exposure to our Exoteric Mysteries.
The Inner Circle is the stage in Lambda Chi Alpha where brotherhood development takes root and answers the question “How do I translate what I learned while in the Outer Circle and best use my talents and skills to help build my leadership and programmatic skills?” Historically, this is the area where most chapters drop the ball — by not continuing to develop our brothers as stewards of the organization. This is the most crucial time for building brotherhood. Here is where knowledge about the Lambda Chi Alpha and our rituals is translated and turned into action and skill building for our brothers. Thus, we create better chapters for Lambda Chi Alpha by increasing the capacity of our undergraduate brothers to work productively at the chapter and community level.
The initiated brother’s journey of TRUE Brother is divided into four levels, with each level focusing on a set of developmental outcomes that contribute to the construction and adoption of the TRUE Brother identity. Each level focus on a developmental pathways (developed from the Four Roles of Brotherhood noted below) — Faithful Stewardship, Servant Leadership, Leadership of Character, and Lifetime Brotherhood — from which brothers can choose a range of participative experiences that suit their learning and development styles. Reflective exercises associated with each developmental level ensure that brothers do not miss the meaning of their experiences. The general developmental movement within the initiated brother component is always towards a more complex and encompassing view of self, of others, and of fraternity. The TRUE Brother journey is about systematically changing our people by fundamentally shaping who they are (emotional understanding), what they know (cognitive understanding), and what they can do (behavioral understanding).
Brothers who are Faithful Stewards understand that Lambda Chi Alpha is a precious gift that is given to eachof us and that it is our duty to be good stewards of its welfare all of our lives.
The Servant Leader is committed to self-improvement, life-long learning, and personal growth, and he always strives to provide for the legitimate needs of people. He also understands that being a Servant Leader means investing personally in the development of others by actively teaching, mentoring, and role modeling the way of the TRUE Brother.
Leader of Character
At Lambda Chi Alpha, we expect all of our brothers to be Leaders of Character. The Leader of Character leads from a base of values. He not only has the technical competence to do things the right way, but his character gives him the courage to do right things.
The TRUE Brother understands that the solemn oaths we freely undertake during our rituals obligate us to commitments beyond graduation from college. The Lifetime Brother seeks ways to continue to serve because he sees real value in his fraternal experiences and wants others to have the opportunity to share those same experiences.
The Mastery Circle is the means for conveying life in Lambda Chi Alpha after graduation. Recognizing those brothers who truly grasp our values, ideals, and teachings have much more to offer our Fraternity and the larger society as men of character — the goal of the alumni brother is to master the undergraduate experience and then live our values, principles, and ideals. This circle actually begins before graduation and helps our graduating seniors’ transition to that of productive alumni brother. Service back to the Lambda Chi alpha is also something that should be strived for and can be tracked. In the last few years, Lambda Chi Alpha has created new roles and opportunities to capitalize upon the lifelong commitment of brotherhood, specifically with the Neville Alumni Advisers College and the Master Steward program.
Call to Brotherhood
After experiencing the Associate Member Ceremony, new associate members are exposed to the Call to Brotherhood — Lambda Chi Alpha’s associate member education program and training curriculum. Over the course of the eight weeks, they learn about Lambda Chi Alpha, its history, how we are organized, how we function as a group, how we govern ourselves, how we develop leaders for our chapter, our campus, and our country, and, most importantly, how we develop brotherhood. The Call to Brotherhood is designed to provide associate members with a foundation of conceptual understandings and practical skills facilitating developmental growth as men and contributing brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha.
An important component of the Call to Brotherhood education curriculum is experience-based learning. Each week, the entire Zeta participates in a brotherhood event, or experience, themed around that week’s core value. Using Lambda Chi Alpha’s educational model, brothers and associates are given the opportunity to reflect and make meaning of that experience, before sharing their thoughts and insights with one another. This model allows brothers to see “real world” applications of Lambda Chi Alpha’s core values and provides a forum for brothers and associates to learn from one another through specific events and discussions.
During associate member orientation, new members learn the Seven Core Values forming the foundation of Lambda Chi Alpha’s approach to brotherhood. These Seven Core Values — Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Service and Stewardship, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage — once learned and internalized equip each Lambda Chi Alpha brother with an clear moral compass always orienting him, no matter the environment or consequences, toward making ethical decisions. Over the ensuing weeks, the Seven Core Values are examined, one each week, and defined as to how the week’s specific core value relates to real situations in Lambda Chi Alpha. Again, our purpose is to prepare the new member, to build a solid foundation for further growth so, once initiated, he is inspired to become a True Brother.
Our approach to member and leader development is profoundly influenced by the U.S. Army’s leader development shorthand of BE-KNOW-DO. The BE component is who you are as a person, as a leader, and as a brother, in short, your character. The KNOW component represents your skills, technical and interpersonal, that describe your Competence as a leader. The DO component is action, the real test of a leader’s effectiveness. Decisions, and the actions that follow, are the result of the combination of character and competence. No less business luminaries than John P. Kotter, of the Harvard Business School, and Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, have identified the U.S. Army’s approach to leader development as the most effective in the world. We would certainly be foolish to ignore recommendations like that.
The last step before Initiation is the associate member’s exposure to our Exoteric Mysteries — Lambda Chi Alpha’s approach to pre-initiation. Understanding pre-initiation is a crucial component of a brother’s experience and the Fraternity now offers 20 approved pre-initiation events and activities. Each activity is broken down in specific detail so initiated brothers understand the intended outcome of the event beforehand — how to appropriately conduct the event, and then, once the event is over, how to debrief the associate members to ensure they make meaning of the experience and the intended takeaways and learnings. Rooted in the backbone of Lambda Chi Alpha’s four-step learning pre-initiation is a meaningful last step in the education and development of associate members before Initiation.
An important component of the Exoteric Mysteries is experience-based learning. Pre-initiation experiences are themed around the Seven Core Values. Using Lambda Chi Alpha’s educational model, brothers and associate members are given the opportunity to reflect and make meaning of that experience before sharing their thoughts and insights with one another. This model allows brothers to see “real world” applications of Lambda Chi Alpha’s Core Values and provides a forum for brothers and associates members to learn from one another through specific events and discussions.
Events occurring in the days before the Initiation Ritual may be very useful if they assist in the recall of lessons associated with our Seven Core Values, and if they prepare the associate members for the lessons our Initiation Ritual. Prepare does not mean duplicate. Further, the Grand High Zeta has been specific in its mandate that pre-initiation events should not include any regalia that is introduced in the Initiation Ritual.
Please note that none of the prescribed activities are part of our formal Initiation Ritual. It is important that events DO NOT take on such emphasis. It is the active Zeta’s responsibility to see that the pre-initiation activities are appropriate and conducted in a the prescribed manner congruent with our values and beliefs as Lambda Chi Alpha — hazing is not allowed, will not be tolerated, and all efforts must be taken to prevent any semblance of hazing (physical or psychological) or mimicking of the Initiation Ritual ceremonies at this critical time
Understanding the Journey
Leadership development is one of the developmental pathways in the TRUE Brother experience. Unlike other leadership development programs that exist, Lambda Chi Alpha Leadership is not a stand alone program, but, rather, one that is completely integrated into TRUE Brother. In each stage of a brother’s journey to become a TRUE Brother, there will be opportunities to learn, develop, and utilize leadership skills.
The four levels of Lambda Chi Alpha Leadership are consistent with the four roles within an individual’s Inner Circle Journey. While there is consistency with the Inner Circle of the TRUE Brother initiative, participation in Lambda Chi Alpha Leadership is not limited to those individuals on an Inner Circle journey; Outer Circle participants can also participate in the program.
Each level of Lambda Chi Alpha Leadership is taught utilizing Lambda Chi Alpha’s Learning Model of having an experience, reflecting on the experience, making meaning of that experience, and sharing the meaning of that experience. The levels of Lambda Chi Alpha Leadership have been constructed in such a way to allow the facilitators flexibility in the delivery of the training in a way that fits the needs of the participants, the surroundings, and the time available.
Participants in the Faithful Steward focus on awareness, emphasizing an awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses as a leader and becoming more aware of one’s natural leadership style. This is further enhanced by increasing one’s basic leadership skills and understanding the situational need for different leadership styles.
The Servant Leader level of Lambda Chi Alpha Leadership focuses on relational competence and empathy. This involves the development of leadership skills in relation to conflict resolution and consensus building. This stage also focuses on the development and understanding of interpersonal group dynamics and development of skills in engaging others.
Leader of Character
Participants in the Leader of Character level of Lambda Chi Alpha Leadership will acquire more mature leadership skills and a demonstrated ability to practice flexibility of leadership skills. Among these mature leadership skills is the use of values and value based decision making.
The brothers participating in the Lifetime Brother level of Lambda Chi Alpha Leadership will learn skills focusing on mentoring, where the focus is on the development of leadership skills in others and on serving as a role model to other brothers of the chapter. In addition, members in the Lifetime Brother level of Lambda Chi Alpha Leadership are expected to focus on how they will live our Initiation Ritual in their daily lives and to begin to identify how they will begin their quest in their involvement in the Mastery Circle.
The skills that participants will learn in the leadership pathway as they progress on their Inner Circle journey are designed to help individuals as individuals; but, more importantly, the skills are designed to help them improve their chapter and Lambda Chi Alpha.