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BEST PRACTICE: Executive Committee

HOW-TO: Maximize Executive Committee meetings

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Your February checklist

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Question of the month

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BEST PRACTICE: Executive Committee

Last year, the leaders of Vacaville Lodge No. 134 started a monthly tradition that changed how the lodge has done business ever since: a quick gathering of the Executive Committee (elected officers) and hall association president. Just 45 minutes a month eliminates wasted time at stated meetings and brings leaders closer as a team.

Past Master Michael Woodruff explains:

Background

Last year, our elected officers decided to meet once a month as an Executive Committee. At first, we had one simple goal: to shorten the stated meeting. We hoped that by getting together ahead of time, we could run lodge more smoothly. We were right. But there were even more benefits than we expected.

Structure

  • In attendance: The Executive Committee consists of the elected officers: master, wardens, treasurer, and secretary. At our lodge, we also include the president of the hall association in our meetings.
  • Schedule in advance: We meet the day before stated meeting. This allows a window, in case we need to research or think through any questions.
  • Free flow: Our meetings are all open, non-structured sessions.
  • Quick and efficient: Our first few meetings took an hour or longer. But as we’ve gotten some practice, it now takes just 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Comfortable setting: We meet wherever’s convenient and comfortable. It can even be at Starbucks.
  • Virtual visits: If one member can’t attend in person, we use telephone or email to keep him in the loop.

Tips

  • Create the agenda: We start with a blank stated meeting agenda and complete it together. We consider which items need more research or an immediate decision, and determine our collective stance.
  • Coordinate correspondence: The secretary brings any lodge correspondence. Together, we decide what should be read aloud at the stated meeting, what can simply be posted for members to read at their discretion, and if the leadership will offer any specific response.
  • Six heads are better: We use the time to talk through our ideas, troubleshoot, and determine how to present things to the lodge. For example, we recently felt it was time to buy new aprons. We researched and discussed options among ourselves; then at the next stated meeting, we presented our findings and recommendations. The lodge made a decision right away, and we had new aprons within the week.
  • Predict new business: If a brother presents unexpected business at the stated meeting, it can result in a lengthy but ineffectual discussion. A little heads-up goes a long way. At our Executive Committee meetings, we try to predict what new business may arise, and the best way to address it.
  • Precedent for the president: We’ve found it immensely valuable to have the hall association president at these meetings. His information can affect the entire lodge, but may not be on our radar. He discusses important business with us and fields questions ahead of time. The master then presents it at the stated meeting. This saves a lot of time and goes much more smoothly.

Benefits

Our monthly Executive Committee meetings save a tremendous amount of time. That alone is important, because stated meetings reinforce the habit of coming to lodge – and if they go beyond an hour, people are deterred.

This meeting is valuable on many larger levels, too. It keeps our Executive Committee on the same page. It helps us run day-to-day business more effectively. It encourages us to plan for the future. And it builds member trust in us, because they see us working together.

For more information, contact Mike Woodruff.

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HOW-TO: Maximize Executive Committee meetings

Meeting just once a month can vastly improve communication and collaboration among your lodge’s Executive Committee (the master, wardens, treasurer, and secretary). Here are some tips to make the most of everyone’s time.

First: Plan ahead

  • Meet one or two weeks before stated meetings
  • Use phone or video chat services like Skype, Google Hangout, or FaceTime to include anyone who can’t be physically present
  • Establish a standing agenda, such as:
    • Finances (filings, concerns, solutions, and a look ahead)
    • Committee and hall association reports
    • Membership updates, including prospect follow-up, attendance at retreats, and requests for support
    • Budget and calendar review
    • Strategic goals and progress
    • Other action items and follow-up

Then: Prepare each month

  • Gather sources ahead of time and have them handy at the meeting
  • Refer to The Leader’s monthly checklist article for administrative reminders
  • Print or electronically share a specific agenda for everyone’s reference, including:
    • Clear start and end time
    • Timed discussion
    • Topic designation
    • Designated lead
    • Stated outcome

Finally: Record and share

  • Appoint someone to take concise meeting minutes, focusing on actions and decisions
  • Within 48 hours, finish and share minutes among the committee
  • Sign minutes at the next stated meeting, file immediately, and make accessible online

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Find it on freemason.org

The Vault is an online storage system for digital versions of documents – from minutes, to applications, to monthly bills. It provides a secure, convenient tool for leaders to share and edit sensitive documents online, while giving members access to needed information.

Why use The Vault

  • Fire-safe, secure system for organizing and preserving lodge documents
  • Save space and time by replacing physical document storage
  • Increase transparency and accountability within the lodge
  • Improve communication and collaboration among officers
  • Easily share information with members who can't attend stated meetings
  • Distribute digital Trestleboards with a simple email link

How to get started

The Vault is already set up and ready for you to use. It’s free up to the first 2GB of storage, with additional storage available for purchase, if needed.

To begin, log into the Member Center on freemason.org and scroll to My Lodge. Select The Vault User Manual for instructions. Click on The Vault (Lodge Documents) link to access your lodge’s pre-set folders.

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Your February checklist

This section is designed to help you stay on track of lodge business and prepare for important deadlines. Each month, visit here for timely to-dos.

In February:

Executive Committee

Senior Warden

  • Review all candidates’ progress towards advancement
  • Continue preparing 2016 program plan
  • Continue preparing 2016 budget
  • Continue preparing 2016 officer appointments
  • Continue preparing 2016 installation of officers

Secretary

  • Continue to collect delinquent dues from members (were due on January 1)
  • Present annual report to the lodge at stated meeting

Treasurer

  • If your lodge has employees, distribute W-2s
  • If your lodge has employees and the IRS has approved an annual filing of Form 944, file this month
  • If your lodge uses independent contractors, file IRS Form 1096
  • Present annual report to the lodge at stated meeting

Hall Association

  • Submit semi-annual report to the lodge at stated meeting

Questions? Contact Member Services at memberservices@freemason.org or 415/776-7000.

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Trestleboard and more

By partnering with Masonic Assistance, you can make sure your fraternal family knows where to turn when they need support. This section is designed to help.

This month, learn to recognize when a child may need support from a mental health professional. The Masonic Center for Youth and Families is just a phone call away.

Download: Signs a child needs help
Publish in your Trestleboard, email to your membership, or print out and post at the lodge.

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Question of the month

Last month we asked if your lodge uses Intacct. Of those who responded:

42% - Yes
29% - No
16% - Not yet, but planning to
13% - Don't know

Here's your next question.

 

 

 

 

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