How “Enrollment” Has Morphed Over the Years

Eric Louie  
MDI Contributor

To those of us who have been around for “awhile,” the word “enrollment” brings up some very negative connotation. 

It can bring up the words “sales,”, “pressure,” “coercion.” But over the years, I’ve seen some new and different concepts and words that describe the practice of enrolling men into our teams and organization. And those concepts can be used by every man, whether he thinks of himself as a “good enroller” or not.  The connotation around enrollment can and has been changed, and we continue to do a good job in Mentor, Discover, Inspire (MDI) in encouraging our members to enroll by inviting guests to sample our team meetings and revealing to them what to expect when they join us as a member.

What has happened over the years is a slow and gradual shift of how we view and practice the concept of enrollment. 

My learning (aka “enrollment training”) started with the Point Program of the mid 1990’s Sterling Men’s Divisions, where the enrollment exercise was to get the “low hanging fruit” into the Men’s Weekend – that is, enroll the men closest to you into the Weekend, and make sure you get solid “yes or no” answers from them as a way of learning and practicing the black and white decisiveness from the Men’s Weekend. 

It was a high-energy process, as it used the trust that you had banked with those guests, and had the effect of polarizing men around enrollment. Some men really loved it, and some men quit as a result of it. After a few years of those enrollment cycles and pressure of 20 Men’s Weekend registrations to keep your division status, the men who were successful at enrollment usually ended up in higher leadership in the Men’s Division.  

Men who were unsuccessful at enrollment were relegated to lower roles in the organization. Divisions that were unsuccessful at enrollment were disbanded or “blown up.” So it could be said that good enrollers were thought to be good leaders. 

What happened? 

The good enrollers eventually got burned out from all the volunteer work that they did, and quit. That left the men who didn’t enroll very well to carry on the work started by these good enrollers who had big, grandiose plans for the Men’s Division. Such big ideas were left to the rest of us to implement.

About the evolution of enrollment, and some of the names it has taken on – “growth” “impact” and “membership” are three of those. The word “enrollment” now is used to generically invite men to join our circle as a “trial run” with few conditions other than honoring and observing the team standards.  

Enrollment is much less aggressive and more invitational and welcoming. The “make a decision” point that comes sometime after the meal at an Open House (which is also mostly a thing of the past) is now asked after meeting 3, and the men are asked if they want to be part of the team. Registration in a Sterling Men’s Weekend or Legacy Discovery Event activity is done much more organically, meaning naturally and not in a confrontational manner, although some of the old timers still use the edgy “accountability, black-and-white yes-or-no” decision method. 

I view enrollment today, and practice it now, in this way:

For Men’s Weekend circles, I bring the Spirit of the Sterling Men’s Weekend to the men I’m talking to, and what I deliver as an enrollment rep at an event or team meeting. 

For you SMW graduates that read this, that is not to bring the technology of the Weekend, but the essence of the Weekend.  In MDI circles, it’s to bring the sense of caring brotherhood and “living with excellence” so that guests get that their lives can be elevated in this organization. It means giving men an opportunity to get information and make an informed decision. it is no longer an emotional or charged-up decision, which was where we lost so many good new men over the years due to buyers remorse.

How do you practice enrollment? How has your belief in enrollment changed over your time in the organization?  How would you change other men’s views of enrollment today? 

Share that with us in the comments, so that we may learn other ways to hold enrollment.

Eric Louie is the current Western Region Registration Manager in Training for the West Coast Registration Team (a volunteer organization supporting the Sterling Institute of Relationship), and a member of Path Pavers, a virtual team in the Atlas tribe of MDI.

1 thought on “How “Enrollment” Has Morphed Over the Years”

  1. If you want to go back to the really early beginnings of enrollment, you need to go back to a room with 4 to 6 men cold calling men out of the phone book… I, and many good men both in Oakland and New York, filled Men’s Weekends this way. I have to say that It’s nice to see that enrollment has evolved. BTW, Hi Eric, very long time no see…

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