“Baggage” and Statesmen

Don’s Diary – “Baggage” and Statesmen

It is not uncommon these days to hear he or she is carrying a lot of “baggage”. It does not mean that they are carrying their luggage, rather that they have an emotional burden. Baggage means that as a result of their traumas of live, disappointments, the emotional consequences of their decisions, circumstances, involvement and negative issues of the past, some people feel a burden of their attachment to unresolved issues making it detrimental in dealing with their current and future circumstances. They have “baggage” and find it difficult to move on.

It is likely that the impediment of “baggage” has organisational consequences and in some cases this is recognised. For example the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Bank has been recently criticised for appointing the manager of its retail business as its CEO. The retail business has been criticised during the proceedings of the current Royal Commission into its sector and it is assumed that this manager will bring too much baggage with him. Almost invariably the top public companies in Australia will seek to recruit externally to fill their senior management roles. In my day in the Armed Services both here and in other countries, one would never see an officer promoted within a unit and usually a promotion involved a change of location as well. Sometimes some additional training also preceded a new appointment. This resulted in an appointee bringing hopefully no baggage and would be a “new broom”. Organisations like Freemasonry do exactly the opposite.

Within Craft lodges one can readily accept the closed learning and promotion system which is a bit akin to that of apprenticeship training. Where the dangers lie is when those rising to the senior executive ranks and are promoted largely on the basis of their performance within the lower ranks of the executive, often ritual skills their apparent greatest attribute. They would be inhuman if they did not feel an emotional commitment and carry with them as they rise to eminence, some “baggage” for the policy decisions of which they were a part, both good and bad. How many have the character to become “the Statesmen” of our Fraternity and rise above all this?

Statesmen need strategies to move ahead. They should set for themselves key objectives in their new role so that the “baggage” of the past becomes irrelevant. It is very easy for somebody to become internalised: that is a lazy, easy path. They should distance themselves from advisors who live in the past and are closely associated with poor, divisive policies. Politically, it is getting above Party politics for the good of the Nation. Votes on contentious and divisive issues should be postponed and genuine independent, no “baggage”, reviews of these matters should be initiated before decisions are made. New senior appointments should be made to bring as much fresh blood into the organisation as possible, even if this upsets the “king-makers”, the elites and apparatiks in the organisation. They should remain aloof from the politicking among the executive ranks. They should engage with, and develop the popular support from the rank and file, the stake holders of the organisation, thus maintaining his political capital. Only with strategies like this will an organisation, particularly one which is closed and without a viable validation system such as ours, survive in the long term.

In our future there is no place for “baggage”.

Yours fraternally,

Don Paterson