I been thinking a lot lately about Jim Collins’ book Good To Great. This was after I found his supplement entitled Good To Great and the Social Sectors. It was so much on my mind that if you go to my “Mike’s Bookshelf” page you can see I got carried away with what was supposed to be a short review.
I found the discussion about how to apply the Good to Great framework in a volunteer organization so clear and logical that I kept asking myself; “why can’t we use this in Masonry?” Well the answer is we can, but will we?
One of the stages in the framework is Disciplined Action and that’s where I start to hesitate a little. I hesitate because I believe there is no shortage of dedicated Masons who want to see Masonry grow and strive. I also know that we have some very intelligent men in our ranks who are speaking about, writing about and proposing positive change for the betterment of the fraternity. But if you read what Collins has to say about disciplined action he says it is accomplished in a culture of discipline that is constantly and relentlessly pursuing the goals of the organization.
My lodge has spent a year discussing the nature of Masonry as it pertains to our programs and activities. Out of these discussions some wonderful ideas have been proposed. But in our last meeting it was commented that we are nearing the extremely difficult part of the process; that of implementing our ideas. This will require dedicated, disciplined action. It will also require brethren who are willing to “own” a part of the process and display leadership by communicating the benefits to the rest of the brethren.
Creating a disciplined culture in a volunteer organization doesn’t mean strict rules that everyone must follow. It must be about a shared vision that the organization, in our case Masonry, can be the very best in the world at what it does. This gives everyone a set of actions that they all agreed to follow to ensure the goals of the organization are met. Collins says in this type of organizational culture jobs become responsibilities. You do things not because they are rules, but because they are expected.
Can we build this culture of discipline in Masonry? I hope we can. Can we go from “Good To Great?” Again, I hope we can.
Think about what you can do in your lodge to start building Masonry.