In the most recent edition of Freemasonry Victoria (Issue 115 Autumn
2008 p. 11), the Grand Master, in commenting on some unsatisfactory aspects of
Freemasonry in Victoria, said that Grand Lodge would take certain initiatives
and "I appreciate that these
measures might be met with resistance and open hostility in some quarters……" What a sad state of affairs in Freemasonry in
Victoria if this were to occur. In Sir
Humphrey’s of the TV series “Yes Minister” words, is it a courageous decision?
I was always told that there was "top down management" and
"bottom up (or inclusive) management" and the both models had their
place. Top down management is legitimate
where there is limited time for consultation with the lower echelons of an
organisation such as in a military contingency situation. It is centralist, paternalistic and
authoritarian in nature. The rank and
file in Australian society will accept a "top down" management
decision if the leading body has won their confidence and they accept that there
is a time-urgency that inhibits consultation with them, a situation that does
not occur in Freemasonry. You cannot get
away with top down management in craft lodges for long as members will vote
with their feet.
Plans for expedient action may be readily supported with evidence of
the need for speedy action and confidence in the process and implementation
capability. But planning which does not
demonstrate consideration of long term implications and engage all stakeholders
and draw upon their wealth of experience and talent is bound to be
questioned. Management structures
perceived to have overseen (or contributed) to a decline of success of
organisations are well likely to have subordinates who are unwilling to embrace
plans when they have not been justified to them, especially when rationales and
the necessity for expedient action has not been evidenced.
I have seen the heavy handed "top down management"
approach used by non-combatant types. It
is probably fine in the Scout movement but we are not Boy Scouts! Inclusiveness and consultation is the best
approach as it will give some "ownership" to the rank and file and
will lead to a commitment to make things work rather than resistance and
hostility to a plan. Inclusive
management militates against someone close to the boss “getting his ear” and
having him accept poor, tainted advice.
The Contemporary Lodge initiative seems to be lauded but does anyone
realize that it has resulted from some young members who are dissatisfied with
some present arrangements in the Constitution and Lodges. Why not just fix the problem? Will having a "Lodge Hebe" solve
our problems? Their young will get old
too you know!
I know that there have been 18 District meetings. However, is it too novel to indulge in a
little bottom up management, a little inclusiveness, and seek out from the
"customers" – ordinary masons, the bulk of the fraternity, what they
want out of Freemasonry? Or will it be
considered easier just to tell them what is good for them? When will we see the cost benefit analysis
for the plan and alternatives together with supporting impact statements? I have never been consulted nor has anyone
that I know and I have never seen a survey.
The appropriateness of the decision making model and process is
important and if there is any real concern about the implementation of a plan
the methodology should be reviewed.
Continued harmony within Freemasonry is more important than any personal
best wishes to all