It’s that wonderful time of year when everyone takes a look back at the year to review what was accomplished, what could be done better and start planning for the year ahead.
At least that’s what most folks will tell you.
What I’ve seen frequently happen is that they take a look back and relive the highlights, point out the things that worked really well, and then congratulate everyone on a job well done. They then take out next year’s calendar, copy the events of this year onto it, making the appropriate date changes, and call it day.
Unfortunately, the bulk of the time spent is making everyone feel good about what was done and not taking a hard look at what didn’t get done, or what could be improved. You need to take some time to review those things and then move forward.
If you don’t, you’re failing to plan, which is a plan to fail.
I’ve seen some great articles of late that cover the aspect of planning. You should check out “Planning Your Year as Worshipful Master” over at The Midnight Freemasons as well as Bryce’s Masonic Planning Seminar posted over at Freemason Information as both offer up some really good advice on how to go about planning and looking forward into the upcoming year.
There is a distinct difference between the two, one is driven from the individual about to become Master, and the other is from the perspective of the Lodge and what it needs to do going forward.
I would recommend that BOTH be done annually. It also shouldn’t be done by just the Master-elect but by a solid cross-section of members. You need to layout a course of action not just for the year coming but also for that three and five year horizon.
Look at the calendar, are there any events coming up in the next few years that warrant special attention? Is your Lodge celebrating a major milestone soon? Is there a community milestone coming? You need those in your planning so it doesn’t become one of those panic moments because no one thought about it until you’re right on top of it.
Both articles mention, in different ways, that that’s important to get the members and the officers involved when it comes time to get thing done and let them do it. As Master you won’t have time to oversee every detail of every event so let others take care of it. You need to be involved so pick an aspect that you feel is important and state that you’ll handle it, but then let others fill in the other spots. It’s good advice, you should heed it.
I’ll close out with two additional pieces of advice.
Review the event
I mentioned this before but after everything is put away and everyone else has gone home, take some time to review the event with those that helped put it on. Do it as soon as possible after the event, the same night if you can, so everything is fresh in people’s minds. It’s important to not just sing the praises of those that chipped in but also determine what can be improved upon for following years.
Document. Document. Document.
My final piece of advice to you is by far the most important in my mind. Every event you have should be documented. I’m not talking about a paragraph and a photo on your website but an actual write-up of the event that can be used in the future. What it was, what was needed, who to invite, lead times, if you had to talk to someone about anything related to the event, write it down. It will help with the point above but it will also go along way to help those that will be putting the event on in the future.