Freemason Tim Bryce.

Cultural Assimilation

When new people join companies and nonprofit groups there is a natural tendency for them to try and change the culture to suit their work habits, attitudes, and customs. Such changes are sometimes welcomed by the culture, but more often than not, it is steadfastly resisted and the person is rebuffed. Those people who believe the culture should adapt to them, as opposed to the other way around, are in for a rude awakening.

Any time you join an organization, you have to remember YOU are joining THEM, they are not joining you. You would be wise, therefore, to tread lightly until you truly understand the culture and can work within it. In order for any employee or member to be successful, they must believe in and possess the ability to adapt to the corporate culture.

Over the years I have been involved with a plethora of nonprofit groups and have observed the initial reaction of new members to the group. Some can adapt and become a member of the group, others tend to butt heads, become frustrated and quit. As a new member, there is a natural inclination to question policies and procedures in order to better understand the dynamics of the group. I consider this healthy. As an aside, I’m mystified when people join a group blindly and don’t ask any questions whatsoever. However, before offering suggestions to change the group, be sure to understand how the group is organized, its history, the duties and responsibilities of the officers, and the politics involved. With rare exception, nonprofit groups can be every bit as political as commercial enterprises, perhaps more so.

People who offer changes without first studying the corporate culture are usually surprised when the officers, elders or the entire membership reject their ideas. As a result, they feel rejected and move along to the next group where they will inevitably run into the same scenario again. Remember this, no matter how logical your arguments are in favor of a change, it is an emotional decision as people perceive it as an alteration to the status quo. If you are a dictator, people will reluctantly accept your changes, but most nonprofits involve a group of officers and people who only understand the status quo and, as such, staunchly defend it. Their mantra is typically, “That’s the way we have always done it.”

So, what is the best way to implement changes in such groups? First, assimilate the culture and take note of what is right and wrong with it. Second, get into a position of authority, such as an officer where you can establish your visibility and credibility. Third, introduce your changes in smaller increments. If they are successful, the group will begin to trust your judgment thereby paving the way to implement bolder changes later on. Just remember, “You eat elephants one spoonful at a time.” (Bryce’s Law) If you come on too strong, too bold, too fast, you will undoubtedly become too disappointed and too disillusioned.

Do not despair if things do not go your way. You will inevitably meet with setbacks. It is only natural. You can either decide to withdraw from the group or lick your wounds and move forward. Either way, do not take it personally; you are fighting a culture, not an individual.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M. Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field.
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Copyright © 2011 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Random Musings On The Direction Of Freemasonry As We Start A New Decade

It’s a new year. 2011 is upon us. And Freemasonry is still with us. But is it really thriving as it could be?  That is the question to be answered as we forge ahead into another decade.  What can we do to make it better?

Now every time I pose questions like this I get the reply – YOU WANT TO CHANGE MASONRY?

Not really.  I have no desire to touch the rituals that we use at all.  But there is a lot that goes into Freemasonry besides ritual.

Today we need to recognize the fact that we are in the Information Age and take advantage of it.  We also need to perhaps curtail some of the Grand Power and stop Freemasonry from becoming a centralized bureaucracy.  This is not changing what Freemasonry is and stands for but rather streamlining how it operates.

Thinking along these lines has led me to random musings.  Many are subjects I have proposed and written about previously. Many are also in common practice these days, but a lot depends on your jurisdiction. All of what is to follow are thoughts that are incomplete.  Nothing written here is meant to neither comprise a complete list nor take advantage of all the possibilities that exist.  Many good ideas are not here, not thought of and not expressed.

This is where you the reader come into play. You may want to eliminate some suggestions here and add some excellent ideas not mentioned.  Please do not hesitate to do so in the COMMENTS section. If we put many heads together on one task the result can often times be truly amazing. So be my guest, have at it.

Please do not expect these suggestions to be in logical sequence or follow some sort of organizational chart.  They are truly random musings. The theme here is the business/operational aspect of Freemasonry not the ritualistic/programming side. The latter could be another article in the future.


  1. Each Lodge ought to own its own building and property. They ought not to belong to the Grand Lodge.
  2. Each Lodge should employ a financial advisor to manage its investments.
  3. Each Lodge should apply for non profit tax exempt status.
  4. Lodges in urban and heavy suburban areas should all meet in the same building. One large building with greater amenities will have one heating/AC bill, one cost of insurance and one building and grounds to maintain. America’s insistence on a separate Lodge Building for each Lodge does not make economic sense nor is it copied by European counterparts.
  5. Lodges should increase their dues to cover the complete costs of their operations and eliminate all fund raisers. Time spent on fund raisers is time taken away from Freemasonry.
  6. Lodges should open a Pay Pal account making it easier for members to budget and pay their dues and make other special contributions.


Grand Lodge should:

  1. Offer a group discount insurance plan for all the Lodges in its jurisdiction.
  2. Allow the consumption of alcoholic beverages in appropriate places within the Masonic building.
  3. Allow Lodges to rent space to any upright, righteous and ethical organization. That would include, but not be limited to, Co-Masonry, Female Masonry, GOUSA, and Knights of Columbus. Renting space is an economic decision not one which sponsors or endorses organizations.
  4. Allow Lodges to decide the floor work they will use and the dress code they will enforce.
  5. Provide Grand Lodge Library lending by mail. Set up a Grand Lodge E-reader program and offer it to any dues carrying member of the jurisdiction.
  6. Provide local Lodges with Masonic training, instructional and educational movies and power point presentations.
  7. Conduct seminars at Grand Lodge for Masonic training, development and education.
  8. Provide a statewide Speaker’s Bureau available for use by any Lodge.
  9. Allow and encourage District wide degrees and special degree teams with an option of using special costumes.
  10. Permit public installation of officers.
  11. Allow Lodges to meet as frequently or as infrequently as they desire.
  12. The Local Lodge is the only entity to set proficiency requirements and would be the sole judge of the proficiency attainment of a candidate.
  13. Require all Grand Lodge Officers, including the Grand Master, to pass a written test on Masonic knowledge.
  14. Operate a Grand Lodge library that will copy all its public domain literature to computer, that will offer computers and DVD players on the premises and that will also purchase the latest in Masonic literature by today’s Masonic authors.
  15. Permit all chartered Lodges to file all Grand Lodge documents and reports electronically.


  1. Should maximize their finances by renting out their building whenever possible. This includes the use of the Lodge building for public special events such as wedding receptions, baby showers, anniversary parties, etc. as well as permanent tenets.
  2. Employ the use of Lodge computers for the Lodge and computerize Lodge minutes and all Lodge documentation and correspondence.
  3. Provide a media room or a media section to its Lodge room.
  4. Endeavor to provide suitable kitchen and dining accommodations and serve Lodge suppers as a regular part of most Masonic Communications.
  5. Appoint a standing Investigating committee and train them in the art of Masonic investigation.
  6. Reform the balloting procedure to an unpublished and unrevealed vote by the Investigating Committee. Any Brother who had any knowledge of why an applicant should not be admitted would communicate that information to an Investigating Committee member. Only good reasons would be accepted by the Investigating Committee as cause to deny an applicant.
  7. Employ the use of movies and power point presentations as part of its ritual, instruction and education of candidates and members.