Have you seen any of the variety of reality “makeover” shows on TV? Where an “expert” is brought in and by then end of the hour everything is radially transformed? Anything from people, restaurants, hotels, bars, salons, houses, and vehicles have been given the makeover treatment. Even though this is just television magic, there are also the real life scenarios that are used by organizations when they need a “facelift”. There are different ways to go about it, wealthy companies will hire a fancy consulting firm and pay them to figure out what needs to be done. The rest of us have to just our close friends to solicit advice from, but it comes down to doing taking a good hard look at ourselves.
There has been the need for a makeover for the Odd Fellows for a good long while. Most haven’t heard of us. Those who have either think that we are long gone or just a few old guys that hang out once a month. Sadly, that is the reality in many places, punctuated by the random Lodge here and there that is having a revival.
Everyone can agree that something needs to change, but too many are either afraid or unwilling to do the work to make it happen. I plan on doing a series of posts about different ideas for rebranding/reviving the Order. I don’t claim to have any or all of the answers, but I think it is worth throwing any ideas out there to get a conversation started. My ultimate goal is to help get members inspired and motivated enough to step up and make the positive changes happen with real results. This holding pattern of wait and see or lamenting that we need more members doesn’t create any specific plan to obtaining the goal.
Look at our past. During our first 100 years, we had a rapid explosion of growth and held enourmous public influence. Then two World Wars, the Great Depression, the rise of private insurance as well as Government sponsored programs, and changing social attitudes have taken the wind from our sails for most of the last century and our numbers have been on the decline for 80 years. That being said, I am going to say something that no one wants to hear.
We will never be what we once were. We need to honor and respect our past but also accept that those days are gone. Unless we decide to bring back member sick benefits and focus on crowd funded group insurance like we used to…but something tells me that isn’t the kind of business we would be able to get into in this day and age.
We have the foundations of greatness and the potential for even more. But we need to adjust our vision to see a different path. There are many waiting for us, any number will be successful. But we need to admit we have exhausted the current one and back up a moment to take the road less taken that has the greatest reward.
In FL& T