(Richard H. Ryder, 2017)
In just a few months lodges will hold their installations and a new Master will assume the East. The Master’s Trestle Board series of articles have focused on preparing the Senior Warden for his term as Master. The accompanying Master’s pre-term timeline indicates the summer is an important period for finalizing installation plans and especially the Master’s plan for the ensuing year. It is also when the Master’s budget needs approval, providing the Master-Elect sufficient time to align it to his strategy. Finally, the finishing touches of the strategy should be made in preparation for formally announcing it.
The Master’s pre-term timeline shows the sequencing of these final steps. The heavy work should already be behind you once the summer starts. July – September reflects a period where the I’s are dotted, the T’s are crossed, authorizations are given, the budget is finalized, and collaboration between the new line officers begins. Let’s look at four important areas.
By now you should have had a second review of the budget, which will give you confidence that it will support your strategic plan. During July and August, you should get formal approval from your finance committee or trustees.
Your strategy is your success lynchpin. While the budget is being approved and your officers assembled you may not be able to officially finalize your strategy, but it should be sound enough by now to be a working document. With that said you should strive to finalize it by the end of August so that you can officially publicize your strategy to the lodge in September, before the new Masonic year begins. Sharing your strategy with members serves two purposes: it informs them about how you plan to lead ‘their’ lodge and encourages buy-in; it also provides you and your officers a roadmap and framework for success that you can regularly access as a measurement of progress.
Collaboration with Officers
Now that your lodge has balloted on senior officers and you have a sense of the list of appointed officers, it is now time to meet with those officers to rally buy-in for your plans. The best way to do this is via a face to face meeting of line officers for the following purposes:
- Initial rollout of your plan, even if not fully and formally complete
- Candid discussion of roles and responsibilities to set realistic expectations
- Constructive input and dialog surrounding plans and possible challenges
- Team building, which should not be overlooked or discounted
Without the support of your officer team the general membership will not embrace it. Hold a second meeting, if necessary, to cover all details. Effective time spent now will reap rich rewards when the new, busy, and challenging year is in progress. To hold a successful meeting, reference the Meeting Management two-part article in this and the May 2017 editions of The Maven’s Journal.
Your strategy and budget are approved and announced. You’ve met with your officers and they are enthusiastically on board. Your members love your plan. Your tux is laundered and pressed, and your shoes are polished such that a drill sergeant will reap praises upon you. Now it’s time to be installed and throw a celebratory collation.
Hopefully, you have selected a date and venue for your installation, using past installations and past masters for input. If not, do so immediately; September is soon approaching and you need to get your date on everyone’s calendar, especially vendors you will utilize for a collation. You need to address the macro details now; the micro details can be handled next, but will also need timely attention.
Take the time to make your installation a memorable event. Take the guess work out of the equation by making a list of everything you need to do, then follow that list. Incorporate the help of others, within and outside the lodge, who have experience planning and conducting installations or events. Once you hold the event you will become a quasi-expert; but for now, you are still learning and need to depend on others for success.