The Progressive Line Strategy: How to use it - To beat it. Part Two

by Midnight Freemason Guest Contributor
Bro. Mark St. Cyr

First, the disclaimer…  

This following is not intended to denigrate the idea of a PL, nor the  Brothers that dedicate themselves to the tasks they bear. What this speaks directly to is how to instill a necessary change into any management practice (our example will be the PL) that has allowed itself to calcify, for whatever reason. Many times those within it (PL) may not be aware to just how hindering the practice has become. The following is a respectful roadmap for those that do, yet, just haven’t been able to decipher a way through.  

So, with that out of the way, here we go… 

In “Part 1” I left you with the premise that to begin, in earnest, you need seven other like-minded Brothers within your Lodge. Doesn’t matter if they’re current, past, or never held office. It’s the amount that’s important. 

The number is important not for some symbolic attribute, but rather, if everything went to plan you and your contemporaries could potentially fill every seat simultaneously during a year in office. e.g.,  

WM,SW,JW,SD,JD,SS,JS. This would be the ultimate resolution if realized and should be the collaborative goal of all those involved. (secretary and  treasurer are for another discussion)


Now let’s get down to ‘brass tacks’ as they say while mincing no words or obfuscation of premise… 

What you (e.g., seven) are going to embark upon is a very legitimate strategy for a tactical takeover (or coup, if you will) of the current working structure of your Lodge to both instill change and install a fundamental transformation for a new working paradigm going forward.


However, let’s also now be clear on something else… 

Not only must (repeat: must! ) every single item, agenda, ________ (fill in the blank) you now propose to implement adhere both by/to the letter of your Grand Lodge code and rule books, it must also be seen to be adhering to masonic values of anything unwritten. The reason why should be self-evident, but for those that may not see it clearly, here’s why… 

Because when you are challenged (and trust me, you will be relentlessly assailed) the only arguments that will withstand said assailing will be those which are precisely that. e.g., to the letter, by the code, and adherence to Masonic ideals and principles. 

There can not be any wavering on these points, both in your pledge for adherence, as well as your steadfastness to standing behind them when trouble comes your way, which I’ll remind you most surely will, usually from places (or persons) you least expected. Trust me on this.

Only by doing things both by the book and in accordance with masonic values will any success be plausible. If not - you’ll not only gain the ire of your Lodge Brothers but also the G.L. and almost assuredly charges. So think about this very carefully before you even begin. 

This ain’t kid's stuff, nor should it be. 

Let me give a relevant hypothetical as to the reason why something like the above should even be considered. Again, this is just one example, for there are myriads, yet it sets the example tone for relevancy… 

Your Lodge assembles for typical ‘green bean’ paper plate dining, does nothing more than read minutes at a meeting, ritual, and degree work is shoddy at best, and you appear to lose more members a year than raise,  with no one seeming to desire anything for improvement. 

I know some of you right now are saying “That’s more than one!” Yes, but in reality, that’s about the most common response or set of responses you hear when this issue is brought up.

So for this exercise - it’s one, OK? Let’s keep going. 

For your seven… 

Although it doesn’t matter if any are serving as officers or have, if one is,  currently? It is a bonus, just not necessary. What is necessary is that the seven of you are completely committed to this endeavor and are giving each other your sacred honor to see it through as a team - not a  committee. 

If you think of this in any shape manner or form from a committee viewpoint - you will fail. Period. No matter what you’ve read or heard from some “management guru” book or audio tape series. Again, period, full stop. 

“Why?” is the next question in case you don’t know (and most of these gurus don’t either) for it is this… 

On a team (think baseball, football, soccer, etc., etc., etc.) the members of a team will do whatever it takes to win for the sake of the team. i.e., an all-star hitter batting .400 will sit out a championship game at bat for a rookie batting .200 if the team has decided that is the strategy and tactic for the best chance to win the game. They may not like it, but they will do whatever it takes, regardless.  

A committee on the other hand will argue (actually the argument will eventually devolve into) why their argument for the .400 batter deserves to be chosen over the argument for the .200 batter. For in a committee structure, it’s not about winning for the team - it’s about the players constructing the committee winning their argument over the other committee members or arguments. Winning the game is secondary. It’s only winning their argument that counts. 

Don’t let that point be lost upon you. Think about it very carefully for true understanding. It’s an insight that alludes most, yet is a primary cause of why most can’t fix what they know is broken. 

So now you begin, and here are the parameters you should all now agree to. They need to be concise and deliverable, and best practice is to limit it to no more than three, while simply one or two is perfectly acceptable. 


An allotment of time no less than 30 minutes but no more than an hour will be set aside for a full presentation of masonic education (M.E.) at every stated meeting and will not be allowed to go unfilled or canceled other than extreme emergencies or true degree work. 

Now that’s only one and you can have more, however, that one alone can be a very big one all on its own. 

In some places, all that may be needed is to sure up an already M.E.  schedule in place that’s just fallen adrift, so you could add another like:  And we will call for all Brothers to be dressed in a dark suit and tie for all stated. But just like the first, this second itself in some places is a major one all on its own. So choose accordingly, but I’m sure you get the gist. 

So now some of you are asking “OK, this all sounds good but how do we get the seven? How do I approach any potential members of this group of seven? What do we say to each other, what exactly are we agreeing to? How do I or we start?” 

All great questions and the right ones. And we’ll discuss precisely that in the next installment. 

See you then. 


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