Taking a Stand For MDI – West Canada Dust Up

Jeff Lawrence
Regional Coordinator
Western Canada

In life, they say it’s not a failure if you learn from it… so I want us all to learn from a mistake I made so it becomes a win for us all. 

Recently in my region (Western Canada) we had an entire division of men almost leave MDI. Not because of anything MDI was doing or not doing, but because we tried to be everything to everyone.   

In short, we have had a very vocal and active team of Sterling-centric men in our division for years. We have always supported the Sterling Men’s Weekend, but as MDI we are an inclusive organization and support all trainings, as long as the men bring the lessons back to the teams and we all grow from them.  Unfortunately, this has never been good enough for this Sterling-focused team, and over time it became increasingly harder and harder to work with them. Every event and every division meeting turned into a battle between the direction and leadership of the DC and the direction the Sterling team wanted us to take.  

As I look back now, we spent the last three years not really taking care of our men, but rather fighting among ourselves. We were too busy looking inward and fighting about “who are we” and “where are we going” and never got to the real conversation about “how are we getting there” and “who are we bringing with us.” 

This all came to a head in January of this year when the Sterling team decided to make a stand and try to convince our whole division to leave MDI with them. 

The truth is we had not been taking advantage of the great programs and services MDI had to offer for years, and the Sterling team had a point. Why are we paying dues and not taking advantage of the services available from the large-scale MDI organization? However, the rest of the truth was the Sterling team itself was one main reason we did not focus on the mission of MDI or get more involved with the programs available to us. Our focus was always on this Sterling team and their very vocal needs to put men into the Men’s Weekends.    

At this time, I am happy to report that this uprising was stopped, and the Sterling team did leave our division. I can also add that I truly believe both circles are now going to thrive. They can focus on putting men into the Weekends, and we can focus on our MDI mission without the constant infighting. Our division can now become a place where men come to grow and make a difference in their families, careers and communities.  

The lesson for me I would like to share: being inclusive is great, but sometimes you need to let men go or even ask men to leave for the greater good of the organization. For years I have been focused on the growth of our division and on being inclusive when I could have been focused simply on our mission, which would have had the result of growth as a byproduct.  

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