Making the 21st Century Masonic Lodge viable

Notes on leadership and management matters for consideration …

Seven Objectives for the Lodge of the 21st Century :

  • Planning for the future (make it happen)
  • A commitment to strong, informed leadership
  • Soundly based decision-making
  • Care and Benevolence
  • Sound Resource Management
  • Responsible Financial Management
  • Membership Growth and Retention

Seven Key Initiatives for Membership Growth and Retention :

  • Excellence in Ritual
  • Care and Mentor system
  • Masonic Education and Leadership Training
  • Family Involvement; Be socially active (Family and Community)
  • Community Awareness; Public involvement in activities
  • Ensure Meetings are enjoyable and worth the time spent to attend
  • Planning (under 7 headings – see next section)

Planning :

  • Meetings
  • Festive Board
  • Executive (Lodge Officers)
  • Social Year Plan
  • Ceremonial Year Plan
  • Five Year (or Long Range) Plan
  • Charity, Caring and Benevolence Plan

Five Tools of Leadership :

from article “The Elements of Masonic Leadership” by Stephen Guffy 32° Scottish Rite Journal, August 2000

  • Planning – set directions and destinations, but allow for changes.
  • Organisation – prioritise, address all things as needed
  • Promptness – timeliness and courtesy
  • Inspiration – meaningful tasks and delegation
  • Encouragement – to reach full potential; encouragement beats admonition

Leadership – doing the right things :

from article “Masonic Leadership” by MW Bro E Arthur Haglund, PGM of California, in Scottish Rite Journal, March 2000  –

  • To succeed, Masonry needs true leaders, not just able administrators.
  • According to Peter Drucker (founding father of the science of management) the fundamental need is for skilled and committed leaders at all levels.  These leaders will help others to be “capable of joint performance through common goals, common values, the right structure, along with the training and development they need to respond to change and to perform.”
  • In his book The New Realities, Drucker also identified the most critical problems facing leaders of non-profit organizations like Freemasonry:
  1. developing rewards, recognition, and opportunities;
  2. creating a unified vision in the organization;
  3. devising a management structure for an organization of task forces;
  4. ensuring the supply, preparation, and testing of top people.
  • Warren Bennis, in his book On Becoming a Leader, identified personal and organizational characteristics for coping with change and forging a new future for what he calls “learning organizations” such as Masonry. He wrote: “Leaders manage the dream, communicate the vision, recruit meticulously, reward, retrain, and reorganize.”
  • Bennis differentiated leadership from management : “Managers administer, focus on systems and structure, rely on control, and keep their eye on the budget. Leaders are interested in direction, vision, goals, objectives, effectiveness and purpose. Leaders innovate, focus on people, inspire trust, and have their eye on the future.”
  • Bennis points out that when you think about doing things right, you think about control mechanisms and the how-to of accomplishing things, the process of management (or administration).

“But when you think about doing the right things, your mind immediately goes toward thinking about the future, thinking about dreams, missions, strategic intent, and purpose.” Bennis says, “That is the essence of leadership.”

  • The fundamental beliefs of dignity of manhood, strength of brotherhood, and the virtue of truth must be the basic principles for a vision for our Fraternity.

Here is one vision:

Freemasonry will be a relevant, pre-eminent fraternity, committed to attracting, developing, and retaining men of high quality who strive for self-improvement and the opportunity to make a difference.

With such a vision, Freemasons can view the future as worth achieving.

Aspects of Change :

Of mice and cheese – a fable

adapted from “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Dr. Spencer Johnson, author of “The One-Minute Manager”

see article in Scottish Rite Journal, May 1999, by Dudley Davis

  • Change Happens — they keep moving the cheese.
  • Anticipate Change — get ready for the cheese to move.
  • Monitor Change — smell the cheese often so you are aware when it is getting old.
  • Adapt To Change Quickly — the quicker you let go of the old cheese, the sooner you can enjoy new cheese.
  • Change — move with the cheese.
  • Enjoy Change—savor the adventure of finding new cheese.
  • Be Ready To Change Quickly And Enjoy The New Cheese—they keep moving the cheese

Leadership secrets from Alice in Wonderland :

from article by William H. ‘Skip’ Boyer in Scottish Rite Journal, May 1999

Alice’s real problem in Wonderland was one of leadership, a situation we can all appreciate. Consider the sort of day she was having.

First, she followed a white rabbit who was more interested in time management than real leadership. Following someone like that is always a danger. They are usually so worried about the appearance of things that they forget what it was they were trying to accomplish. Alice followed the rabbit with his large pocket watch and ended up in a deep hole, which is usually the way that sort of thing works out.

Then she met a caterpillar who may or may not have been on controlled substances and who suggested that she could solve her problems by trying a bite of the magic mushroom. It was the latest trendy thing to do. Try it! Everyone else is. Sort of like following the latest management theory or fad just because you don’t want to be left out of the fun. So, she did and the next thing she knew, she was too big for her shoes and frightened everyone around her.  Then she tried another trendy solution, and suddenly she was too small to accomplish much of anything. And when she turned to ask the caterpillar just what the devil was going on, he—like any good consultant—had already left town.

It was all very confusing, and things just got curiouser and curiouser.

After that, Alice met a variety of people with solutions for everything, from mad hatters to a queen who issued the sentence first before hearing the evidence.  “Off with her head!” We know leaders like that, too.

The high point of the day came when she met the Cheshire Cat. She found him perched in a tree at a crossroads—right about where we are standing today.

“Which road should I take?” she asked the cat.

“Where do you want to get to?” the cat asked helpfully.

“I don’t know,” admitted Alice.

“Then,” advised the cat, “any road will take you there.”

The Cheshire Cat’s message is one you should remember. If you don’t know where you’re going, it doesn’t make any difference how you get there. If you don’t have a plan, it doesn’t matter what you do. If you don’t have an objective, who cares if you ever reach it? If you don’t take responsibility for your actions, who will?

And perhaps the most important question of all: If you won’t lead, then who will?

Three stages in the Leadership journey :

From – a useful web site

  1. skill development – know what to do
  2. behaviour development – walk the talk
  3. authenticity – be comfortable with your role


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