By Howard Spierer, Former MDI President, Mid-Atlantic Region
The cornerstones of MDI are integrity, accountability and trust. Any man could realize that running an organization requires some level of infrastructure. The stronger that base, the stronger and more far reaching the organization. Even if a man doesn’t feel he is a direct beneficiary of what MDI does, he could realize that the culture of his team, division and region all come from the environment MDI has created, fostered and sustained.
In order to be accountable for MDI and what it does, men need to be prepared to contribute to its success either financially or through sweat equity or both. I never understood how a man could feel it was OK to just keep showing up for meetings as a guest. Paying dues allows a man to feel some level of ownership for who we are. Conversely those in leadership have an obligation to listen to any man who is paying dues. I’d love to set up a model that if a man doesn’t pay dues he has to attend a team meeting with tape over his mouth. His dues give him a right to be heard.
Finally there is the trust issue. Leaders need to trust our men when they challenge how we spend their dues, and the men need to trust their leaders on how it is spent. We all need to recognize we are a fairly young organization, and there is still a lot of learning going on. Part of that is in learning how to be fiscally responsible. Paying dues provides us the resources to learn those lessons. Making and managing money remains one of the biggest challenges most men face. If we did away with dues, we would be doing away with a major pressure point for learning and self-awareness. Men are willing to pay for gym memberships to exercise their body; in MDI we give men a chance to exercise their soul.