Online Introduction Program – Bringing Numbers Up

Dan Kempner
MDI Contributor

Introductions, please…

At the start, I’m always a “six” on the scale of “one” to “ten.” Will the tech work? Will we need breakout rooms? Are we going to enroll any men today? What if they don’t get it?

I have a lot of nerves every time an Online Introduction Program (OIP) session is about to begin. 

Eventually there are eight or ten men inhabiting those little Zoom squares. Eight or ten men who know nothing of MDI beyond the Facebook ad they answered. Men waiting expectantly for my partner and I to lay out MDI’s mission and to give them a sense, a taste, a soupçon, of what an MDI Men’s Team feels like and what would be expected of them if they joined. They are there to kick our tires while we, in turn, kick theirs.

That’s the OIP deal.

We go through the script. We talk about personal disclosures and the urgent need for confidentiality. We lay out what it means to be on time. We run check-ins and ask for a number. Invariably some man is a “2.” He’s in free-fall and has come to the meeting to see if we can help him yank on the hand brake. So, we slow things down and give that man our full attention until it’s clear he’s fully present. 

We go on to recite and explain the MDI mission, then go deep with an exercise. As the hour winds down, participants volunteer to act as a captain and his chief of staff to manage the homework, the process of each man calling every other man during the week between meetings. 

Finally, we honor them for showing up and ask, “Who intends to move forward to the second meeting of the MDI Online Introduction Program?” All the men, enthusiastically, say they do. A week later, perhaps four of them show up. 

So, we check in again, pick up the men at the bottom, and go through the Vision and the Code. We do another exercise. And we close by asking if any man intends to move forward and meet with an MDI team. All four say yes. Enthusiastically. Thumbs up.

Weeks later my partner and I might, perhaps, receive a note saying, “Hey, one man paid his dues and joined a team. Well done.

This is the slog of the Online Introduction Program.

All those men who checked in at a “four” or a “six.” All those men whose lives are not even close to what they yearn for them to be. All those men who, we can see so clearly, are howling for what MDI can provide. And yet … maybe, just maybe, one man pays his dues and saddles up? But after a while the cumulative effect of this program is powerful. 

The Online Introduction team just celebrated running its 200th OIP. Holy smokes!

And though to the men involved it often seems there’s precious little to show all the work, the program is performing beautifully.

Since its inception, OIP has harvested 235 new MDI members after threshing 813 prospects through the first meeting. That’s a damn good success rate. And some of those men are now in positions of high leadership across the organization. 

Look, the OIP can’t fully replace the unreasonable, 8-week, crazy intensive, in-person Point Program as an introduction to men’s teams. Nothing ever could. 

What it can do, and does, is allow men who have not yet discovered MDI – most of them raw, Facebook recruits – to be mentored and inspired more briefly: given a little context, pointed towards our mission and standards, and finally, offered an opportunity to attend an actual men’s meeting. 

If seven or eight of them prove to be tire-kickers, so be it. We have pretty good tires. And if even one of them reaches out to grab what is offered, and finds himself on a powerful team of men, well … that’s a win.

Hey! My number just went up.

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