Updated: Dec 16, 2019
ARE YOU DOING YOUR PART ?
Are you a full patch member of a motorcycle club ? How hard did you have to work to get your patch ? How dedicated are you ? Are you still worthy of that patch ? These questions keep ringing in my mind and in my ears as another riding season approaches. I’ve been around long enough to see MANY clubs form and then fade from existence when the members lose interest. It’s time to examine the causes and reasons that clubs fail.
LACK OF LEADERSHIP
Members need motivation. A good leader knows that simply giving orders is just not enough. Sometimes the problem is in the delivery. The MC world is full of people wearing title patches who simply have no identifiable leadership skills or style. Too often the leader’s direction has little or nothing to do with the stated goals and objectives of the club. This leaves the members confused, rudderless, and too often resentful. This can lead to the kind of discontent that results in implosion. When you hear of club “politics” in a negative connotation, discontent is usually behind it. Leading by example can go a long way toward motivation and morale building. A focused leader knows the strengths and weaknesses of all members and exploits them for the good of the club. Teamwork without leadership is usually futile and short lived. A good leader uses positive reinforcement to encourage initiative and accomplishment by members. The best leaders inspire others to emulate them.
All MC leaders should self -evaluate from time to time. The best and most successful MC’s have regular elections and induct new leadership regularly. Every MC leader should plan for his/her eventual replacement. The incentive to members is invaluable. Stagnation is a club killer and when it happens the leadership is almost always to blame.
During the prospect period the member should develop a clear picture is his/her role in the club. The concept of commitment is too often absent among members. This is usually due to poor prospecting practices which takes us right back to bad leadership. Traditionally, an MC member is expected to give the club a high priority in his/her life. This means that the member makes an extra effort to demonstrate commitment in the face of conflicting circumstances. The excuse that “I’ve been too busy with my kid’s soccer schedule to attend meetings or rides” just doesn’t fly. Yet too many clubs let it go. When a “member” sells his bike and hasn’t been seen for months it’s safe to say the commitment is gone. The basic commitment is to show up. A patch holder who takes his/her role seriously takes some ownership of the club’s events, activities, and reputation.
As a patch holder you agreed to do more than just wear the patch on the occasional ride. You can buy those patches on the internet. Your only commitment is the charge on your debit card.
Just to be clear the role of an MC patch holder is:
To abide by the rules and by-laws of the club.
To show some enthusiasm for the club by SHOWING UP.
Represent your club in public in a positive light. Contribute your time, skills, and effort to any event put on by your club.
Teach and mentor new members.
Support your club’s leadership without negativity or undermining.
Think, Act, and Plan like your club has a future beyond your lifetime.
If you’re wearing an MC’s patch and you’re not doing the above, you haven’t earned it, you’re just a poser. There are far too many posers in our midst. If you’re an MC leader and your membership is not living up to club standards then you’re not doing your job. Is it time for new leadership ? Do you have the intestinal fortitude to step aside for the good of your club ?
In popular culture today’s “Biker” image has evolved from the 1960’s “outlaw” to the modern day Motorcycle Club. Add to this the Motorcycle Associations, Riding Clubs, Ministries, and other riding groups who all wear vests with patches on the back, have tattoos, and ride cruiser and touring type motorcycles. Now everybody and anybody can pretend to be a “biker”. The law abiding clubs who languish under bad leadership and don’t enforce membership standards, in the opinion of some, have diminished the MC culture.
Joining a motorcycle club is much more than buying a bike and putting on some patches. Leaders must lead. Members must commit. Posers should be sent back to the ranks of the uncommitted.
It seems to me that the today’s MC culture (Especially law abiding clubs) is overpopulated with so-called MC’s comprised of incompetent leaders and uncommitted members. Social media makes it possible to create a “club” that appears to be substantially more than it really is. Every little empire builder gets to wear a “P” patch. The word “Brother” is more of a cliché than a fact. Actual loyalty is very hard to come by as personal agendas conflict and compete. It is nearly impossible to differentiate between these “façade” clubs and those genuine and solid clubs that so many aspire to be.
Longevity is the only real proof that a club has the integrity and substance that can only come from competent leadership and committed membership. This is the basic formula for a successful MC.