First of all I offer my dandavat pranaams at the lotus feet of my beloved Gurudeva, Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja. All glories to Sri Sri Radha Govinda! All Glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga! Srila Gurudeva wrote to me two years ago when I was organising a workshop called co-operation for a common purpose here in Auckland New Zealand. He had a message for the devotees attending: “Take ...more »
First of all I offer my dandavat pranaams at the lotus feet of my beloved Gurudeva, Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja.
All glories to Sri Sri Radha Govinda! All Glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga!
Srila Gurudeva wrote to me two years ago when I was organising a workshop called co-operation for a common purpose here in Auckland New Zealand. He had a message for the devotees attending:
“Take 100 % responsibility for your services and
respect each other and not think you are the master of others”
How could I help encourage devotees to take %100 responsibility for their seva?
When I thought deeply about it and did some research on the relationships in traditional hierarchical management models, I learned that control flows downward and responsibility flows upwards. In other words traditional hierarchical models do not encourage devotees to take responsibility for their seva.
I think an understanding of this is important for volunteer organisations such as ours. Volunteer organisations have few channels to give punishment and reward for wanted or unwanted behaviour. One of the challenges that volunteer organisations such as ours face, is how to inspire and encourage members to work for the organisations purpose. Srila Gurudeva often says we should be controlled by love. Is seva done within a hierarchical management system/ in other words for a reward or to avoid a punishment, being controlled by love?
What are other organisations similar to ours are doing to inspire their sanga?
From my study two examples stood out clearly:
• The local Christian Mega Church
• The Loft – a preaching initiative that Sita Pati prabhu a disciple of Devamrta Swami pioneered in Australia and New Zealand (Many of the devotees currently moving into ISCKON temples and distributing books have come through the Loft. I also came to KC through the Loft programme)
The common denominator among these two successful organisations was their management model – they had network models for leadership. Their decentralised models focussed on engaging and empowering everyday people to mobilise their skills and energy to serve a particular purpose.
Focus around purpose and not people or position
The network model does not mean there are no leaders. On the contrary it empowers hundreds of leaders to contribute their skills. What it doesn’t have are ‘formal positions’ which tend to encourage people to jockey to fill a position and then relax (or corrupt) into once they achieve that position.
There is a lot more too this idea that you could read about in The Starfish and the Spider
http://books.google.co.nz/books?id=be_4LRyepS8C&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false. I don’t see that this model of management interferes with the spiritual principles of the Guru and disciple relationship in our Sampradaya. I think as a leadership model we could learn from, and possibly join the unstoppable expansion of organisations that use this leadership model.
It aligns with Seva Teams: the first step by giving:
“members and groups of members the authority and self-confidence to be self-directing within the framework of Srila Gurudeva’s instructions and mission; i.e. send the message that initiative is expected and desired.”
And also with Srila Prabhupada’s statement “That is the art of management: to draw out spontaneous loving spirit of sacrificing some energy for Krishna.”
Perhaps this leadership model will help us become unstoppable in spreading Krishna Consciousness, especially in Western contexts. Perhaps it could help us serve srila gurudevas message to “take 100 % responsibility your services".
Aspiring to serve Srila Gurudeva and the Vaishnavas
Venu Gopal Das
If this idea interests you please see a version with diagrams on my blog @ http://venugopaldas.wordpress.com/
Some of my sources:
Seva Teams Seva-teams: the first step
by BV Vaikhanas and BV Nemi
Sita Pati’s Blog
The Starfish and the Spider
Simply Strategic Stuff