Richardson Freemasons Vision 2020
“And behold, I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God.”
King Solomon to King Hiram of Tyre, 1 Kings 5:5
At the building of King Solomon’s Temple there was one Grand Master of all the work – Hiram Abif. Each day, he would enter into the sanctum sanctorum, there to offer up his adoration to deity and then draw his designs upon the trestle board. These designs were intricate plans – the blueprint that would communicate to the masters, or overseers of the work, what was to be done and where their accomplishments would contribute to the whole.
Solomon had the vision. The vision was the erection of the most magnificent temple ever known to man: A temple that was an honor to the Grand Architect of the Universe and become the religious center for all the Hebrew peoples and their fellow believers. Hiram Abif had the plan to turn Israel’s dust into a magnificent edifice thereby achieving the overall vision.
Everyone plans. The problem is that the usual amount of time between the plan and the event is much too short. Most of my observations of Richardson Masonry are that we too often engage in reactive planning. Something happens. It requires immediate attention. One or more people get together to figure out what to do. They do it. Mission accomplished.
Here’s an example: A water pipe breaks in the kitchen of the lodge. You know that the plumbing needed work for some time but the building was old long before you got there and no one seemed to take ownership to plan an upgrade. But finally, the old pipe gave way. There is a lot of damage to the floor and the ceiling of the room below. A couple of stalwart brothers get together and decide what to do. Besides the obvious reaction of shutting off the water, the plan goes something like this: Get some buckets and mops and dry the place out as best as possible. Remove damaged piping, flooring and ceiling. Figure out what parts are needed to patch things up. Get a verbal to spend lodge money on the parts. Scrounge for what the treasury can’t afford. Form a work party. Patch things up as best as you can.
The problem with that scenario is that is was reactive to an event that required immediate attention. It did not further the cause of the lodge and may, in fact, have put the lodge at risk due to unanticipated spending, weakened floor, and an unsightly patchwork. If you’re always doing seat-of-the-pants planning pretty soon you’ll wear out the seat of the pants and guess what ends up showing?
“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”
A plan is a series of logical steps that get you from point A, the present, to point B, the accomplishment of your vision. There is no secret formula for a plan. There is not a universal template. A plan is not one-size-fits-all. You will not be graded or tested on a plan. And, as anyone with military experience will tell you, no plan ever survives past first contact with the enemy. There is no doubt, however, that in order to succeed you must have a plan.
A simple example is a road trip. If you want to get from Dallas to Amarillo and have never made that trip before, you can’t just jump in the car and start rolling forward and expect to arrive at your destination without first planning. Think about all that you need to consider before making that trip. You have to have a vehicle. It must be insured and maintained. You’ll need fuel for the trip. Will you need to stop overnight somewhere? Where will the funds for all this come from? How about a road map or GPS? Are there any tolls along the way? How about construction or bad weather? What will you do when you get there? Do you need a change of clothes and toiletries? Do you want to make any stops or visits along the way? Who needs to be notified of your departure and take care of business back home. Is anyone going with you? Will you need gifts or a ready speech upon arrival? How long will you be there? And, very importantly, what contingencies will you make should an unexpected detour, delay or setback cross your path? This may be second nature to a seasoned traveler but for someone going to Amarillo the first time, there’s a lot to think about before you head down the highway.
“A body at rest tends to stay at rest. A body in motion tends to stay in motion.”
Newton’s Law says that a body will change its velocity, accelerate or decelerate, only when an external force is applied. No force, no change. A plan is an excellent tool to allow you to initiate the inertia to get things rolling. Your experience tells you that once things get going, it’s much easier to keep things going. If no one takes the initiative to get things started, nothing will happen. You know how the story goes. Four people are named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done. That leaves you to do it. You must dive in to make the difference.
“Where there is no vision the people will perish.”
Strategic planning, on the other hand, looks farther out into the future. It anticipates the shorter term problems and works around obstacles in order to achieve a much longer-term vision. It involves more people and creates excitement. It takes a large, sometimes complex, seemingly impossible vision and breaks it down into manageable chunks. It is the roadmap to a destination you pick. And it keeps you in the right direction for the long haul.
Certainly, in the hundreds if not thousands of hours you’ve sat in your lodge you’ve looked around and wondered what the lodge could be only if … If you’ve done that, you’ve had a vision.
You see a shiny metallic object off in the distance. The vision. You fixate on that object and visualize how you will get there. In between may be rivers, mountains, dangers of many kinds, but as long as you keep the object in view, you guide toward it until you reach the object, or as you near the object you discover that there is another, more valuable shiny object further along.
Our lodge needs a vision; not just a plan of action. It needs to be your vision. And it needs to be our vision. It must be communicated. It must be clear. It must be 20/20.
Installation will be at 4:30 p.m. on June 30, 2012 at Richardson Masonic Lodge. A strategic planning session will also occur in June. Please let me know what dates are unavailable I look forward to working with you.
Christopher D. Livingston