"All begins with three principles: Control, Passion and Diligence. From Control springs Direction. From Passion springs Feeling. From Diligence springs Persistence. But these virtues are no more important than the other five:
"Control combines with Passion to give Balance. Passion combines with Diligence to yield Achievement. And Diligence joins with Control to provide Precision. The absence of Control, Passion and Diligence is Chaos. Thus the absence of the principles points toward the seventh virtue - Order. The three principles unify to form Singularity. This is the eight virtue, but it is also the first, because within Singularity can be found all the principles, and thus all the virtues.
"A circle has no end. It continues forever, with all parts equally important in the success of the whole. Our society is the same. It too continues forever, with all members (and all virtues) equal parts of the unified whole."
- From the Book of Circles.
I've been thinking for so long how I will present my experiences and belief in running a successful guild. There are two popular guides from two highly respected Guild Leaders/Founders (GL) - Brimstone's Guide, founder and leader of the Lost Order of Akalabeth (www.lostorder.com) and Faust's On Guild Management. I can write another guide, but it will only become a parallel guide of the other two, I want something that can be remembered and enjoyed by the GLs and guild members for its 'different style'. I looked back into my RPG years, I searched my archives of gaming manuals, and found the Axiom of Singularity from the highly acclaimed game of Richard Garriott - Ultima VI: The False Prophet.
The Axiom of Singularity have three Principles - Control, Passion and Diligence. From these three comes the eight Virtues. How can the 3 Principles and 8 Virtues of Singularity apply to Guild Management?
From Control springs Direction. As a Guild Leader/Founder/Officer or aspiring to be one, you need Direction. You can't start and lead a guild if you do not know where you want your guild to be. This is your steering wheel, the first virtue that in itself is the road your guild will take, what do I mean? Your guild will always make decisions, your decisions will be based on the direction you want your guild to traverse. Our guild - the Holy Order of the Light (Holy-Order.org), was established with a clear path of where we are headed and where we want our guild to be, and that is to be a guild that promotes responsible gaming, camaraderie, fellowship and family-ness. This is the Direction we took and has set the Holy Order apart. Our decisions were based on the direction we want to take, not the other way around.
Ask yourself, do you want your guild to be an end-game raiding guild? Or perhaps a place where close friends can have fun together? Or maybe a guild where relatives separated by miles and the seven continents can chat and enjoy each other's company? Or a guild destined to conquer the battlefields? This is the first step, you can't lead a group of people if yourself don't know the direction you and your guild will take. Do not let your decisions to dictate where your guild must go but rather let Direction dictate what your decisions will be. This is the 1st Virtue - Direction.
Then from Passion springs Feeling. Now that you already have (a) Direction, a clear vision of where you want your guild to be and what it will be its purpose, now you need to know the 2nd Virtue of Singularity - Feeling. Remember that you are going to lead a group of human beings, people who are like yourself. They (can) 'feel', they can be hurt, they can be angry, they are also looking for fun and enjoyment like you. With that, you must prepare yourself to 'feel' your members' sentiments. What do they want? What do they expect? What do they think of your leadership? Of your guild? Of the guild's Vision and Purpose? Are they happy with your guild? Or maybe they want to suggest something or speak out their feelings but they are afraid to do so, maybe because of your rules? 'Feel' them. Us human beings can communicate at a different level, I'm sure you experienced more than once how you understood or found out that a person have problems because you felt it. This is the same with running a guild, and do not forget the Virtue of Feeling.
Now from Diligence springs Persistence. Straight to the point! Be Persistent in every thing that you do, especially when it comes to decision-making. Don't give up easily and don't change your decisions (and plans) one moment and another. You will not reach your goal if you do not have persistence, even more heavier, you will not reach your guild's vision if your plans constantly change. No matter what road you take, there will always be stumbling blocks, high walls and great chasms. These are not signs that you will fail or that you must give up, these are the kind of obstacles that will make you and your guild stronger and closely-knit than before. If you fall, get up. Fall again, then get up again. Stand and fight. All people and organizations around the world became successful because they persisted. At the end of that road is your great reward.
Control combines with Passion to give Balance. The 4th Virtue. As you walk that path, as you lead your members, as you solve problems along the way, do not forget to put Balance in every decision and areas of your guild. Yes, you may have a clear Direction already, yes you already know the feelings of your members, and you and your members are more persistent than ever, but that guild you are steering with all your members is just like a boat, lose Balance and the boat will sink. Here are a few suggestions of where best to keep Balance in-check:
- Real-Life vs Virtual World
- Quality and Quantity
Do not force or demand that your members must be online at a given time and day or they will be kicked-out of the guild. Or do not tell them one day that they must be online for a minimum amount of time per day and/or week. It may be vital for the type of goal your guild has, especially PvP-centered guilds. But do not forget that you still have real-lives to live. Maybe you are arguing that you don't have a real-life anymore, but that is not true, if you don't live in the real-world, eventually you will used up all your resources to go online, and you may die. You see, we all are not excuse from our real-lives, we must live if we want to keep our gaming world alive. If you treat yourself like that, then you must treat your members the same privileges. More importantly, always remind them of their real-lives, you don't want your guild's reputation to be tarnished, right?
This is an area where many guilds fail. Many either go for quantity - they will have 500 members but their guild as a whole and individually have a bad reputation. Or go quality - they end up having so few members who are of the highest quality, who later will one-by-one wither away because there are not enough members in the guild (especially when their usual playtime, they're mostly the only one online).
There are other areas where you can apply this virtue, the two mentioned are but the common areas where balance fails. Balance doesn't mean you must divide by 50%-50%, balance is keeping your needs to the right amount - no less, no more - "just right", "just enough". Do you think a boat is afloat because it keeps a 50-50 balance? So again there must be Balance in your guild.
Passion combines with Diligence to yield Achievement. Now, now... you can't have a guild without achievements. The 5th Virtue that helps a guild to be successful - A guild compose of Achievers and Achievements. An achievement could be anything and most of the time we ignore the little things, like for example, being able to keep a low-to-zero turnout of members - that is an achievement! We also tend to ignore members who take time to help and teach new recruits, that is also an achievement!! These achievements don't have to stay hidden, announce it to the guild as this will not only make your members proud and happy, but they will also achieve to have an achievement for themselves and for the guild. Here's more, your members will have more reason to stay in your organization - because your guild and its members are no ordinary gamers, they are achievers.
And this will put your guild further apart from the rest, after all, we human beings enjoy having achievements right? We are having fun when we start to be known uniquely and hand-picked amongst the crowd, who wouldn't stay in a guild like that?
And Diligence joins with Control to provide Precision. When you aim, be Precise. This may be in your internal affairs like your Rules-and-Regulations. Be precise, avoid generalizing, always be specific and hit that which you really want to convey. If you want your members to do a specific task, be precise, lay down all the details. Remember this, once your members starts to get confused, or sees the rules and decisions to be always broad, they will look at you and your administration as someone who have no idea what he's talking about, and no experience in handling an organization, or worst, you don't have a sound mind. Again, be Precise, Aim that Bulls-eye!
The absence of Control, Passion and Diligence is Chaos. Thus the absence of the Principles points toward the seventh Virtue - Order. Always keep an Order within your guild. Do not give Chaos a chance as it will wreak havoc and create divisions within your ranks. I let this happened once and HOL almost disintegrated, do not make the same mistake and risk your guild and put all your efforts and friendships to waste. Additionally, there must be Order in your guild's administration especially with role delegations. You also must have a concise list of pages where the inner workings of your guild are explained in details. Simply, your members must know how your system works and what is the hierarchy, especially how they will get promoted and how you promote. Many members always seek that question - promotion. Put Order in that area of your guild, don't just say, "if you are the first ten members of my guild, you will be promoted", there is almost no guilds who survived that kind of chaotic promotions. Fine, it works, but the guild disintegrated after the administration fell.
Order can also be applied with your "Roster of Members". Do not wait till your guild is big before you keep a list of members, sooner or later, your guild will be full of spies from other guilds who are waiting for a chance to recruit your high caliber members (yes, it does happen between guilds - you can't avoid politicking/politics). Or because you don't keep a list of who's who in your organization, you will surely have recruited a member who do not know how to follow rules and worst, plant seeds of destruction and hatred to your members heart. Again, chaos will rule and the guild will go to waste.
The three Principles unify to form Singularity. The 8th Virtue. Again, do not forget to treat each and every member of your guild as an individual. They are individual parts of your guild which makes your organization function and live. But remember this, they are no ordinary parts, they have talents and skills, they have brains and emotions, just like you, they are human beings, gamers who seeks a guild to have fun and enjoy our real-life here on Planet Earth.
All-in-all, the 3 Principles and 8 Virtues forms the Axiom of Singularity. Within Singularity can be found all the principles, and thus all the virtues. This is your guild. You and your members are one-and-all, the life and breathe of your organization.
Finally, you are a community, a unique group. A circle has no end. It continues forever, with all parts equally important in the success of the whole. And I quote this from Ultima VI's the Book of Circles, as I and our guild can proudly claim that: Our society is the same. It too continues forever, with all members (and all virtues) equal parts of the unified whole.
Good Luck with your guild !!