LOI Update – Community, Identity, and Purpose

Would you like a preview of what’s coming in this year’s LOI’s? As the new LOI Director of Content Creation, I have a unique perspective on what you can expect (since I’m the one writing the lesson plans). To prepare you, I’d like to explain the philosophy behind what we’re doing with LOI and point out some examples where Hiram’s Edge technology tools will help you “facilitate your purpose.”

The theme for the first six months of 2018 is “Community, Identity, and Purpose.” Our goal is to help lodges focus on what our community dynamics are, who we are, and what exactly we do as an organization and as individuals. Each module contains either Masonic ritual or writing from a Masonic author of note. We’ve also included short (and interesting) videos and discussion modules.

LOI Breakout Sessions and Hiram’s Edge Lesson of the Day

Part 3 of each LOI Module this year is going to be a breakout session, done by lodge. I spoke with some brothers from the Southeastern part of the state last night and they expressed concern about the number of “projects” required during last year’s LOI cycle. The impression I got was that the amount of time dedicated to these projects while in the LOI session caused those nights to run exorbitantly long. In 2018, we’re trying to limit breakout sessions to 15-20 minutes and provide attending brothers with exercises they can share with non-attendees.

Here’s an example: The breakout session for February’s LOI asks to, “Have your group break up into lodges to begin the process of creating a “Lodge Inventory”. This inventory should not be just a list of all the lodge’s possessions, though that can be included if the lodge wants to make it a group project to create that list. This inventory should center around the function and community integrity of the lodge. Masters can begin the inventory by reviewing some of the “Community Index” surveys conducted at the last LOI.”

I can hear the collective groan from brothers who will view this as “just another project,” but please take a moment and consider this in different context – an opportunity to connect with all members of your lodge. The inventory should not be a project to be done at LOI. That 15-20 time slot is to discuss how to create an inventory. Sure, we’ll be passing out notebooks and pens, but those are for notes and establishing guidelines. The actual inventory should be an all inclusive process.

Hiram’s Edge Lesson #1: Using Google Docs to Gather Member Input

As a technologist, the idea of pen and paper for something this important makes me cringe a bit. Notebooks get lost. Online collaborative documents do not. At St. Paul Lodge, where I am the still in the East, I’ll be using a combination of online tools to create our inventory. The first is Google Docs. For an introduction to Google Docs, watch the video below:

Hopefully your “wheels are turning” after watching that. One of the most challenging aspects of being a Mason is finding the time to do everything we want to do inside the fraternity. Knowing that, we don’t want to ask our brothers to attend longer meetings. Doing a lodge inventory online with a collaborative document will eliminate the need for that three hour business meeting you envisioned when you first read the breakout description above. Discuss it in lodge. Do the work online.

Hiram’s Edge Lesson #2: Send out a Constant Contact Survey

Another way to gather feedback from your brethren is to create a survey using Constant Contact. If you’re not familiar with the program, please watch our Hiram’s Edge module on Email Marketing, then watch the video below:

Remember: It’s all about Improvement

The primary objective of LOI is to make us better as a fraternity and help us improve our recruiting and retention numbers. It’s going to take some work to do that. Hopefully, this brief article has given you some tools and incentive. Your feedback is welcome. If you have any input or questions on this lesson or anything we’ve covered in Hiram’s Edge or LOI, please email me at Kevin@HiramsEdge.com.

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