Thursday, October 23, 2008

Masonic Management 101

Both the local and state lodges are set up as progressive lines in that, in a fully functional lodge, you start at the bottom of the line and progress one chair each year. In the local lodges that means you serve six years before you are Master and then one year and done. As much as you anticipate your "year" it is hard to learn the new position and accomplish much in that short period of time. Most of the time the Master simply survives his year everyone pats him on the back and its time for the next Master.

Although this system has worked for hundreds of years you have to ask; does it really ? Would you expect your favorite sports team to change Managers every year and get good results ? Does GE change CEO's every year ? Do we change Presidents every year ? You get the point, it often takes time to establish a direction therefore continuity is important.

Lodges often have a hard time filling the chairs and are willing to put any one in regardless of whether they will do a good job or not and often allow them to progress upward without doing the necessary work. It has come to the point where Masters now need to be certified to open and close, a basic duty because we allowed so many non-functional Masters to progress that the Grand Lodge said enough. Often brothers fly through the line, two or three years and bam they are Master another reason for poorly prepared leaders.

I have served as Master for two years since one of our officers dropped out and we did not want to throw a Past Master in the hole. I started out at the bottom and served in every chair and did all the duties, rituals associated with each chair. I have enjoyed my second year much more since I knew what to expect and could
focus on what I wanted to get done. During my year as Senior Warden I affiliated with a neighboring lodge and I will now head to the East there next year.

So I will be a recycle officer which if you asked me five years ago I would of said it was bad. I was proud of our lodge having a progressive line with no Past Masters in the line. At this point I am more convinced that the weak lodges need good leadership regardless of the source. While the need to develop new leaders is essential, we should be careful to select brothers who truly want to do the work. The rule of thumb should be the same as when one joins a lodge; becoming an officer should be of their own free will and accord.