Long Range Planning
By VW Brother David Colbeth
If you ask 100 Masons what is their definition of a Long Range Plan, you’ll probably get 100 different answers. There is no one right way to do something. However, we can all agree on a direction or vision of what we’d like things to look like in the future. How can we see the future? Because we absolutely know what we DON’T like about the past. By changing what we don’t like, will help us understand what we DO want for the future of this Fraternity.
Before you can begin to plan, you have to know why you are doing it. The Grand Lodge of Washington has already developed a strong Mission Statement/Purpose which reads: Freemasons of Washington will be recognized as a relevant and respected Fraternity, committed to attracting and retaining all men of high quality who strive for self improvement and the opportunity to make a positive difference in their community.
Would you agree that is a good, strong Mission? I would say it is and submit that our current form of the Long Range Plan is a further descriptor or extension of our Mission statement, or a Vision Statement if you will.
I’ve been asked on several occasions, “How are we going to hold the Grand Lodge accountable to fulfill this Mission and a Long Range Vision?” Haven’t we all taken an obligation to ourselves and to each other? If we can’t fulfill our obligations to each other then why are we part of this Fraternity?
While this Long Range Planning initiative is designed for the Grand Lodge of Washington and all of it’s Committee Chairman & Committeemen to fulfill, the concepts of creating a Plan or Vision for our Lodges are absolutely applicable.
You might know of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow’s theory suggests that the most basic level of needs must be met before the individual will strongly desire (or focus motivation upon) the secondary or higher level needs. Maslow also coined the term “metamotivation” to describe the motivation of people who go beyond the scope of the basic needs and strive for constant betterment.
The human brain is a complex system and has parallel processes running at the same time, thus many different motivations from various levels of Maslow’s hierarchy can occur at the same time. Maslow spoke clearly about these levels and their satisfaction in terms such as “relative”, “general”, and “primarily”.
Instead of stating that the individual focuses on a certain need at any given time, Maslow stated that a certain need “dominates” the human organism. Thus Maslow acknowledged the likelihood that the different levels of motivation could occur at any time in the human mind, but he focused on identifying the basic types of motivation and the order in which they should be met.
Physiological needs are the physical requirements for human survival. If these requirements are not met, the human body cannot function properly and will ultimately fail. Physiological needs are thought to be the most important; they should be met first.
Air, water, and food are metabolic requirements for survival in all animals, including humans. Clothing and shelter provide necessary protection from the elements.
Once a person’s physiological needs are relatively satisfied, their safety needs take precedence and dominate behavior. In the absence of physical safety – due to war, natural disaster, family violence, childhood abuse, etc. – people may (re-)experience post-traumatic stress disorder or transgenerational trauma. In the absence of economic safety – due to economic crisis and lack of work opportunities – these safety needs manifest themselves in ways such as a preference for job security, grievance procedures for protecting the individual from unilateral authority, savings accounts, insurance policies, disability accommodations, etc. This level is more likely to be found in children as they generally have a greater need to feel safe.
Safety and Security needs include: Personal security, Financial security, Health and well-being and a Safety net against accidents/illness and their adverse impacts
After physiological and safety needs are fulfilled, the third level of human needs is interpersonal and involves feelings of belongingness. This need is especially strong in childhood and it can override the need for safety as witnessed in children who cling to abusive parents. Deficiencies within this level of Maslow’s hierarchy – due to hospitalism, neglect, shunning, ostracism, etc. – can adversely affect the individual’s ability to form and maintain emotionally significant relationships in general, such as: Friendships, Intimacy, and Family.
According to Maslow, humans need to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance among their social groups, regardless whether these groups are large or small. For example, some large social groups may include clubs, co-workers, religious groups, professional organizations, sports teams, and gangs. Some examples of small social connections include family members, intimate partners, mentors, colleagues, and confidants. Humans need to love and be loved – both sexually and non-sexually – by others. Many people become susceptible to loneliness, social anxiety, and clinical depression in the absence of this love or belonging element. This need for belonging may overcome the physiological and security needs, depending on the strength of the peer pressure.
All humans have a need to feel respected; this includes the need to have self-esteem and self-respect. Esteem presents the typical human desire to be accepted and valued by others. People often engage in a profession or hobby to gain recognition. These activities give the person a sense of contribution or value. Low self-esteem or an inferiority complex may result from imbalances during this level in the hierarchy. People with low self-esteem often need respect from others; they may feel the need to seek fame or glory. However, fame or glory will not help the person to build their self-esteem until they accept who they are internally. Psychological imbalances such as depression can hinder the person from obtaining a higher level of self-esteem or self-respect.
Most people have a need for stable self-respect and self-esteem. Maslow noted two versions of esteem needs: a “lower” version and a “higher” version. The “lower” version of esteem is the need for respect from others. This may include a need for status, recognition, fame, prestige, and attention. The “higher” version manifests itself as the need for self-respect. For example, the person may have a need for strength, competence, mastery, self-confidence, independence, and freedom. This “higher” version takes precedence over the “lower” version because it relies on an inner competence established through experience. Deprivation of these needs may lead to an inferiority complex, weakness, and helplessness.
Maslow states that while he originally thought the needs of humans had strict guidelines, the “hierarchies are interrelated rather than sharply separated”. This means that esteem and the subsequent levels are not strictly separated; instead, the levels are closely related.
“What a man can be, he must be.” This quotation forms the basis of the perceived need for self-actualization. This level of need refers to what a person’s full potential is and the realization of that potential. Maslow describes this level as the desire to accomplish everything that one can, to become the most that one can be. Individuals may perceive or focus on this need very specifically. For example, one individual may have the strong desire to become an ideal parent. In another, the desire may be expressed athletically. For others, it may be expressed in paintings, pictures, or inventions. As previously mentioned, Maslow believed that to understand this level of need, the person must not only achieve the previous needs, but master them.
After reading all of this great information about how the Human Mind works, you are probably asking, “What does this have to do with Long Range Planning?” What if we applied the concepts of Human Needs to our Lodges and Masonic practices? It might look something like this:
1. The most basic need of human existence is physiological/biological needs; air, food, drink, shelter, sleep. If we try to line up the most basic need of the Masonic experience, what would that be? Why do we exist as Masons, as a Chartered Lodge? Isn’t it to make Masons?
If we didn’t want to make new Masons, why would we need to have Charters and Lodges and a Grand Lodge to oversee our work? We wouldn’t!
Because we want to be able to make new Masons under a Chartered Lodge, then we must first obtain a Charter. What does it take to receive a Charter? We can turn to the Washington Masonic Code for the easily defined answer. The requirements of a Lodge to receive their Charter:
You need a place to meet, no debt, By-Laws, 15 members and “…proof of its members’ skill and ability to perform the work, including the conferring of the Three Degrees”. That’s it!
Yet how many of our Lodges today could perform the work, including the conferring of all Three Degrees, with all parts covered by the CURRENT members of our Lodge? This is the basic need.
2. Once we can make new Masons, then we can consider the next level of development. Safety needs; security, law & order, stability as Maslow suggests. How does this translate to Masonry?
What experience are the Members having when the first ask, then go through the Degrees and more especially after the Degrees are finished is there more for these newly minted Men to embrace? This is where the Membership Experience element becomes critical; Engage and retain members and their families through an enhanced, sustaining, and relevant membership experience.
3. If our Members are enjoying a quality Membership Experience, then naturally the next step is to develop a deeper understanding of themselves and their Lodge Brethren. This relates to Maslow’s element of Love & Belonging; friendship, trust & acceptance, affiliation, part of a group. We can enhance this through Masonic education; Educate members and communities about the fraternity’s intriguing and enduring history, values, practical application of our principles, and relevance to society today.
4. Once our Members are educated, what is the next logical step? Maslow suggests that it is Esteem needs; independence, status, dominance, prestige, self-respect, respect from others. Our Lodge officer experience is perfectly suited for this element. But what if a man does not want to be an officer? That man can be provided with other opportunities to show his leadership abilities through mentoring, giving training sessions, and outreach to the Community. This would certainly satisfy the LRP plan element of Leadership & Management; Strengthen our leaders and cultivate new ones; strengthen management and governance effectiveness at all levels.
5. While we spend a lifetime developing ourselves and hoping to attain that perfect ashler status, it alludes us until the GAOTU calls us home. While we are still here on Earth, Maslow suggests that Self actualization is our next highest ability; self-fulfillment, personal growth, achievement, mastery. Again our Fraternity provides many interesting opportunities to fulfill this Human need.
The LRP provides at least 2 elements that can help in this area including Beyond the Lodge; Instill a wider Masonic perspective, inside and outside the fraternity, by deepening the connection between members, lodges, the worldwide body of Freemasonry, concordant organizations, and the Public at large. And, through Philanthropy; Focus our philanthropic efforts through Washington Masonic Charities.
You will be voting to implement the Long Range Plan at the next Annual Communication. This plan is for the future. In the words our Grand Master, “while the words have been written today, the song will be sung after his term has concluded”.
One of the stumbling blocks of Long Range Plans in the past is that successive Elected Grand Lodge officers have not supported the Plan. I can assure you, your Deputy GM has agreed to support this Plan. Your Sr. Grand Warden has agreed to support this Plan. Your Jr. Grand Warden has agreed to support this Plan and all 3 Candidates for the Grand South have agreed to support the future of this Long Range Plan. Please take time to familiarize yourself with the current Plan or Vision statement as it is currently written. http://6supports.weebly.com
VW David W. Colbeth, Chairman
Long Range Planning Committee & Task Force on Long Range Planning
Featured photo source: Pixabay.com