Robert Saulters has decided to step down as Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland. I’d like first of all to recognise his role in leading the Order through some of it’s most difficult times, the achievement of the last 14 years is that the Order is still here and intact.
Secondly I’d like to ask the Orange Order to pause for a second and consider; where next?
The governance and structures of the Orange Order are largely the same as they were a century ago. The modern 24-hour news cycle requires quick and co-herant responses, but the Order’s structures seem better sync’d with the weekly local newspaper than Sky News, Twitter etc.
Moreover, the Order is trapped in a cycle: we fail to attract young people because the organisation is run by old men set in their ways – because their are few young energetic leaders in the Order we have to fill the leadership positions with old men who are set in their ways. How do we break this cycle?
The Orange Order could just appoint a new Grand Master and amble on in roughly the same direction or we could stop and review and decide where we want to go and how we’re going to get there. The time for a strategic review is long overdue.
(Just a quick blog, I’ll think more about this over the next few days.)