Guild Guide: Creating and considering #GuildResolutions

Making resolutions about your guild's progress for the next year and tracking them, because it's that time of year.

Making resolutions about your guild's progress for the next year and tracking them, because it's that time of year.

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Boy, 2015 was kind of a mess and a half, wasn’t it? Let’s make 2016 a better year. Let’s do this. What are we doing? Well, good question! What do you want to do?

The bright side of a new year is that it serves as a reboot for everything that you’re doing. Resolutions can go along with anything, and since we talk about guilds in this particular column (the title is a hint), let’s talk about resolutions for entire guilds and guild members. Let’s even hashtag it. We’re doing #GuildResolutions. Let’s make 2016 the Year Of Guilds (But Better Than Before).

So, how do you start with resolutions for an entire guild? Well, you start with yourself.

Starting with yourself

If you’re an officer, there is almost certainly something about the guild that you run which sets your teeth on edge. It’s all right, you don’t have to worry about anyone’s feelings here – something irritates you and you want it gone. You can admit it here, even if it’s just to yourself.

Even if you’re a member, there are probably things that you hate to high heaven just as surely. You might not have any of the power, no, but you could certainly be looking at your fellow members and thinking that if you have to tank for one of your fellows for any reason you’ll just start screaming and never stop. Maybe you’re in a Heroes of the Storm team in which you never get to play the role you want. It could be anything! Don’t worry, there’s not a written exam on this point, you can just think it to yourself right now.

Now, here’s the kicker – what are you going to do about it? But remember, you aren’t allowed to say anything about what you want other people to do differently, just yourself.

The fact of the matter is that the only actions you have actual control over are your own. You cannot make anyone else do anything. You can force someone to do something in the right circumstances, yes – you could tell a particular guild member that they need to straighten up or they’re out, for example – but you can’t actually make them follow through. You just put forth consequences and hope that the consequences are more terrifying than just continuing to do the same thing. So start your guild-wide resolutions by asking what you are going to do about the scenario.

“But this is for the whole guild!” Yes, it is, but you still have control over your actions first and foremost. You can’t say that your resolution is for the guild to be more social without first having some kind of action plan. If that’s your resolution, then start with a foundation. Say that you’re going to be doing group stuff with other guild members for an hour a day four days out of the week. That’s a plan. A resolution is just a goal.

Share and encourage the plan

Once you know what you’re going to do, you can start encouraging others to do the same thing. This is part of why you want to have the plan first rather than second. Going to the guild and suggesting that everyone should be more social produces confusion and possible resentment (don’t say “I’m friendly all of the time, you’re the one who isn’t social!”) while suggesting that everyone do X, Y, and Z gives people a set of tasks to perform with a comprehensible end goal.

Obviously, only officers can make this an actual rule of the guild. But it’s a great way to get players more involved in general by letting everyone suggest new initiatives and resolutions for the guild over the next year. By asking members to submit their own resolutions, you can get an idea of what everyone’s looking for, what needs the guild isn’t addressing, and what can be done to make the guild a better place as a whole.

The point of this step is to be public and work together. You aren’t accusing anyone of anything, you’re not laying blame, and you aren’t even saying that the guild is a mess. You’re putting forth the idea that you can all work together to make things better. It’s a new project for everyone and a new set of ideas to explore.

There will, in all likelihood, be some members who are perfectly happy with the way things already are. For those players, you want to encourage them to continue doing what they’re doing while taking part in the initiatives of others. Again, there’s no indictment or punishment in place. It’s just about trying to make things better than they’ve been and working together.

The tracking stage – keep #GuildResolutions going!

The problem with New Year’s Resolutions is that they’re often set up in such a way that they’re easy to forget about and let slip. If you resolve to drink less over 2016, for example, it’s easy to be good for a week and not have anything to drink. The next week, of course, you drink a bit because you just resolved to drink less, you never specified an amount. And then the week after that you’re already starting to forget that you made that resolution.

That’s why the hashtag is on the front – because it’s useful. Because your goal here is tracking your progress, remembering your progress, and sticking with that progress. You want to make something that you don’t collectively forget about after a week, and having something to track over time is kind of helpful like that.

Internally, having a weekly update thread for the resolution is a way of tracking what everyone’s doing. To use the above example, if everyone’s trying to do group stuff for an hour a day through the week, you can talk about how successful you were. You can also talk about whether or not the days are working or if people should spread things out more. Keep a running track and tally so you all know what’s going on.

But that hashtag? That’s the sort of thing you can throw up on social media and track with others all over the place. You can see other people moving forward, progressing with their goals, and remember that this is something you really want to accomplish. You want this to work. This is important to you and the rest of your fellow players.

A lot of resolutions are hard to quantify. “More social” isn’t something that you can assign a number to. Creating action plans can lead to better tracking, though, because you can see how well people are doing in relation to their basic plans. Beyond even that, you can see how the group as a whole is working toward the resolutions. If the result is bickering an nastiness, then the current steps aren’t working; if the result is that everyone seems to be talking more and acting happier, you might not be able to put a number on it, but things are clearly moving upward.

So let’s make 2016 the year. Let’s start hashtagging around. Let’s start up our #GuildResolutions for the year, and let’s check back in throughout the year to see how we’re all doing. It’s going to be a good year if we make it one; let’s put in the effort.

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