Jumpstart Cornerstones at Your Chapter

10 Actions to Jumpstart Cornerstones at Your Chapter (Active Members)

1 ) Have every member complete the Cornerstones Personal Development Plan. Schedule a time for the members of your chapter (& pledges if applicable) to complete the personal development plan template provided by Acacia HQ. Or just share the url with all of your members & set a timeframe within which it is to be completed.

2 ) Post everyone’s personal goals in a public location, whether that be in your chapter house, online through GoogleDocs, or individual blog sites for each member. Knowing each other’s goals will make it easier to support each other, as well as reveal to each other what we consider to be the most important aspects of our lives. Some may hesitate to make their goals public, and that’s ok. Some may want to keep some goals private, and that’s ok also. If members are not willing to share their goals, at least ask that they share their Values, as written out in the Values Clarification exercise in the Cornerstones Personal Development Plan.

3) Implement weekly Accountability Group meetings. Schedule times for 5 – 6 members with similar goals (or similar grade levels) to have a brief meeting, during which everyone has a chance to discuss their progress on their current goals. In the book The Success Principles, author Jack Canfield calls this a “MasterMind meeting,” and recommends the following 7 steps.


  1. Ask for Spiritual Guidance by Delivering an Invocation (use Bless Now Acacia, or this book suggests something along these lines: “We ask now to be filled & surrounded with light, and our hearts be open to receive guidance from the higher power.”)

  2. Share What’s New & Good (in terms of making progress toward your goals)

  3. Negotiate for Time (determine how much time each group member will have for the focus to be on them)

  4. Individual Members Speak While the Group Listens & Brainstorms Solutions (remember – in brainstorming there are no “bad ideas” – keep your mind open)

  5. Make a Commitment to Stretch (once each member gains feedback, ask each member to verbally commit to a next action to move him forward & the commitment should be a stretch)

  6. End with a Moment of Gratitude (go around and have each member express one thing he appreciates about each other person in the group)

  7. Be Accountable (at next meeting, simply ask “Did each member take action? Did they achieve their goal?”).

  • (this content was paraphrased from pages 310 – 312 in The Success Principles by Jack Canfield, published by Harper Collins Publishers, 2005)

4 ) Implement an Accountability Partner system by which each member (that is interested in participating) has a partner with whom they “check in” each day simply to talk about successes they have had in reaching their goals and their plans for next action steps to continue to move toward their goals. Also in The Success Principles, author Jack Canfield suggests that “[t]he key to a successful accountability relationship is choosing someone who is as excited about reaching his or her goal as you are about reaching yours – someone who is committed to your success and theirs.” (from page 313 of The Success Principles, published by Harper Collins Publishers, 2005)

5 ) Survey the entire chapter to discover topics of interest for “educational/developmental presentations”, compile the results, then use all of your resources to schedule presentations that are relevant to the topics of interest. You can use a service such as Google Forms or Typeform for a free, simple survey.

6 ) Discover opportunities hosted by university community. Find out if your university (or the Student Union Board, or the Student Body, or the Campus Activities office, or the Career Center) schedules & hosts any expert speakers that would fulfill any of the above-mentioned topics of interest. If so, publicize the event to the chapter and encourage members to go. Hold a brief discussion afterwards to hone in on key points made during presentation, by asking these basic questions that could be used to reflect on any development activity:

  1. “What?” – as in “What experience did you just have?”

  2. “So What?” – as in “How is this experience relevant to you?”

  3. “Now What?” – as in “What will you do now that you have this new knowledge, experience, mindset, or perspective?”


7 ) Publish an eNewsletter to send out to alumni in which you provide brief bios of each of the members of your chapter, including which of the members are currently looking for internship or employment opportunities. Each chapter is encouraged to work with Acacia Headquarters to create eNewsletters to be sent out to you alumni – or you can take this into your own hands & just get it done. If you are interested in creating & distributing eNewsletters, please contact Associate Director of Operations Benjamin Turconi at bturconi@acacia.org.

8 ) Use your alumni as resources.  Use the results of your earlier survey to discover topics of interest for “educational/developmental presentations,” and publish a list of topics in your eNewsletter (or on your chapter website) that the chapter is interested in. Once you get this list published, recruit alumni members to deliver educational presentations on one of the following topics (or any other you’re interested in):

  • Time Management

  • Goal Setting

  • Job Search

  • How to Find a Mentor

  • Things I Wish I Knew When I Was in College

  • Financial Management

  • or any other topic that the chapter is interested in

9 ) Build your “Cornerstones Library”.  Create a “wish list for a Cornerstones Library”then do whatever you have to do to bring it to life, and use the contents of the Cornerstones library for the personal development of chapter members. Do some research to find out about any books or training materials that meet the topics of interest (mentioned above) in terms of utilizing them for Cornerstones discussions/activities. If you’re having trouble deciding which books to select, take a look at a previous post for some ideas.  For example, let’s say you wanted to purchase copies of The Success Principles for all members of your chapter, and that you were able to do that.  Those books could then be used in the Accountability Group structure, by assigning the reading of sections of the book to Accountability Group members, then focusing on those sections during your meetings.  All you would need to do is ask yourself: “What did everyone discover in the assigned section?”, “How is that relevant to your life situation?”, and “What will you do now that you have this new knowledge?”

10 ) Take responsibility and ownership for your own development, bring along any brothers who are interested, and don’t waste time trying to motivate members who just aren’t motivated to work on their personal development.  This may be difficult to understand, but you cannot change another person.  Change only happens from within that individual.  You can do your best to inform your members of opportunities that are available, and inform them of what you are doing in your own life, and the benefits that you are seeing as a result.  Cornerstones is about commitment, not compliance.  We are interested in working together with other brothers that are committed to their own development.  We are not interested in telling brothers that they “have to” participate in Cornerstones, because that will automatically set up resistance in their mind, which will make it harder for them to commit.  Work on your own sphere of influence – your own thoughts, ideas, and attitudes.  Let your actions speak for you.  Let others see a change in you, and soon they will be asking how you are doing what you’re doing.