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  1. 1. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveContentsWhy Governorship?............................................................................................................2Whose Governor are you?..................................................................................................9Financial Discipline…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….15What is leadership?...........................................................................................................17The Popular District Governor……………………………………………………………………………………..…….22Competent Governorship……………………………………………………………………………………………..……26Your role as a trustee for tomorrow…………………………………………………………………………………..31Launch the ship and then steer it……………………………………………………………………………………….39Walking The Tight Rope…………………………………………………………………………………………….……….41From The Atom To The Atom Bomb…………………………………………………………………………………..46They Want To Be Heard…………………………………………………………………………………………………....49What Will You Achieve?....................................................................................................52Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 1
  2. 2. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveWhy Governorship?The office of the District Governor is a coveted position in every district. The person whooccupies this office represents the choice of the membership to lead the district in the mattersof framing of policies and execution thereof for a particular year. The person is given duehonour and recognition from the clubs of the district and the leadership of the Association. Butthere is a price for leadership-there is nothing called a free lunch. If you want to enjoy the glorythat is generally associated with the office of a district governor, you must be prepared to makethe sacrifices. A governor’s views and opinions always matter, and are often sought by theAssociation. However before the person reaches this position, he or she must ensure that onepossesses the kind of experience and exposure that must be a pre-requisite for making studiedand sustainable decisions. One must have the ability to weigh all options, accept criticism withan open mind, offer oneself for scrutiny despite what we may believe to be successfulcompletion of initiatives, and most importantly encourage contrarian views to develop. Aleader is essentially a facilitator, one who is responsible for developing an environment wherethe members could contribute their best. One must realize that progress has come often fromdesigns that emerge from diametrically opposing viewpoints as compared to the generallyaccepted trends. One needs to balance between what is the current stand point and whatdemands of the future are. Leaders in lionism are trustees of the future generations in theirown communities and countries. He, in fact, becomes an officer of the Lions Clubs Internationalto implement the plans and projects, for which decisions may have been made.Every leader with potential in the District aspires to become District Governor one day. This is apraise-worthy ambition provided the candidates motives are clear at least to him or her. Sincethis is a high office in the Lions set-up and carries both an enormous amount of dignity plusonerous responsibilities - it is essential that you ask yourself, in moments of deepintrospection... why governorship? Remember that, for one Lionstic year, you will have tosacrifice a great deal of your personal, social and public life in order to serve the District. Yourinitial motives may be status and position; they could have elements of power; you may evenfeel that you could be more effective than the present or past incumbent; or you may beEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 2
  3. 3. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivepowered by a deep sense of mission. In all probability, you will have a mixture of motives. It isgood. Because, regardless of why you wanted to be Governor, what the Lions movement andyour district and members expect from you is now important. You may have been driven by aset of your personal desires to attain the office of a district governor, but the dynamics changeso rapidly as you occupy or even prepare to occupy that office. The vision shifts from a personalperspective to that of an organization, your approach alters from one aimed at self-development to the augmentation of the common good, you suddenly become answerable toso many ( may be, more ethically than legally) and the levels of expectations from you take aquantum jump (both in your own eyes and in the eyes of others). There is a tremendousdemand on your private and personal time, and that is only expected. You have arrived at a“public” podium.To understand this dichotomy - what you expect from the District Governor post and what your"constituents" or stakeholders expect from the District Governors post - you need tounderstand that every position consists of two elements: a job and a role. The job is the dutiesand responsibilities of the District Governor which are clearly laid out in the District Governor’sManual. They include the ceremonial installation (of club officials, creation of the cabinet,creating project teams, managing funds, membership acquisition and retention measures,continuity of ongoing projects, etc). But, over and above the job is the ROLE.The role consists of two powerful sets of factors - what you expect from the position and whatothers expect from you in that position. The difference between job and role can easily becomeclear, if we take an example. The job entails the minimum standards without which you cannotbe allowed entry at this level, the role sets the bench-mark for leaving a legacy. The role comemore from the heart, even the soul. It leaves impressions that time cannot easily erase. If notrealized, it is bound to cause aches in the deepest corners of your heart in the years to follow-what some may like to call the prolonged pangs of conscience emanating from the regretsassociated with losing major opportunities. If properly realized, it is this feeling only thatremains within each person’s mental and spiritual realm as it would forever “flash upon theinward eye, which is the bliss of solitude”.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 3
  4. 4. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveWe could take the classic example of Florence Nightingale. She joined the Services to serve thewounded in times of war. Gradually, she redefined the concept of nursing. That was, in fact, astage where she developed her role. Today, she stands out as a role model for every nurse inthe world. Defining moments in life are those when one leaves a mark on the sands of time.One does not have to a Florence Nightingale or a Mother Teresa, but one can definitely be anindividual who has lived a life of purpose, and occupied the public office of a district governorwith a head held high, and a spirit soaring even higher. There must be at least some impact thatsuch person ought to make, beyond making annual visits to the clubs and enjoying fellowship.Why do you want to get there? The answer to this would be in the lines that have beenmentioned above, but priorities and the degree of emphasis on each of the issues may vary.What is most important is to remember that the year of Governorship must, essentially, be ayear of results. Continuity of programmes may need to be ensured, and yet changes may berequired to be incorporated. But, on the whole, each year must have its own share ofachievements. Remember one of th major inputs that your members bring with them is theirman-hours. No individual spends time in lions clubs today; everyone invests time. And thereshould be a good return on the investment made. If the ROI is not above the market rates, wecan expect no premium (enhanced public acceptability) and may even not be able to retain theloyalty of the investors (our members). Each member must have a life enrichment experience,and the district governor is like a gardener who must ensure that plants in the garden continueto flourish; the gardener gives out no good fragrance-it is the flowers that do so; but thegardener must maintain the quality of the soil and the water levels, and adequate and justenough sunshine for the flowers to bloom; similarly, the great experiences will come fromwithin the clubs, but the district governor must maintain and sustain the momentum anddirection of the association.So, the next question that each incumbent must ask himself is: What do I want to achieve as aDistrict Governor? The answer to this would lay down the priorities and would, thereafter,assist the District Governor (Elect) to chart out his course for his year of Governorship. This isthe most critical and the most neglected part of the story. I have often met so many districtEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 4
  5. 5. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivegovernors almost half way though this office, who are still not certain what their priorities are.They confuse statutory duties with the purpose of life. How could I explain to them that it isimportant to breathe if we are to remain alive, but do we remain alive just to breathe? They arethe ones who would regard reproduction as the purpose of marriage, not understanding that itis only the fruit of a much more purposeful communion.The story of leadership essentially never ends with the conclusion of Governorship. For the restof his life, the person continues to be the Past District Governor of his / her district. As a PastDistrict Governor, it is definitely the duty of each individual to continue to work for the plans ofthe Association at various levels where he is placed, and the quantum of respect that theperson would command as a Past District Governor would, to a large extent, depend on thequality of the leadership that the person portrays during his year of Governorship. Hence, onesingle year of Governorship would determine the image of a Past District Governor to a largeextent for many years to come. Does one really have to help you to take a brief moment and tryto remember each great district governor that your district had? Do you re-count every PDG inthat category? If not, why? Each one of them had similar emotions and the desire to be asuccessful DG when they got elected; each one had worked that hard, even run around askingfor support to be elected in those parts of the world where the elections are fiercely fought;then what went wrong that you do not include them in the category of such governors whomade a difference?From here follows the next logic: How do you want to be remembered as a Past DistrictGovernor? Quite naturally, each individual desires that his year of Governorship should be adeserving one. And, if so, each District Governor must develop for himself a Master Plan of hisintending contribution during his year of Governorship. Are you ready with a statement thatyou could use as your governing principle during the year of your governorship? Do you have aset of priorities beyond the bare minimum? Do you see your responsibility to the futuregenerations of your country and your community? Do you believe that you have a role to playin making life more meaningful in your part of the world? Do you believe that your job is to leadthe clubs to where they want to go, or where they ought to go? Do you allow yourself toEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 5
  6. 6. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectiveunderstand that you are driven by the circumstances that exist in your district, or whether youare responsible for the way things are at present? Are you ready to accept status quo as a pricefor comfortable leadership, or do you believe that leaders must always reside in the zone ofconstructive demolition? Actually the choice is simple: You will definitely enter the museum oflionism, but whether as a curator of that museum or an exhibit to be placed on one of theshelves will depend upon your attitude.Your ascent from a member through the club hierarchy to this lofty position has usually beenmarked by a tremendous sense of enthusiasm, even aggressiveness. But it is noticed that theachieving spirit levels off when you become District Governor. What did you want toaccomplish? Did you want to be a district governor, or a past district governor? I am serious:there are such individuals who find pleasure in having their name included in the list of PDGs ofthe district; if they had any other way of achieving this, they would have opted for that. Hence,they represent such individuals who have no identified purpose of life; they are such whosebodies are alive while the soul is dead. This is usually because we see the office of the DistrictGovernor as a destination, and not as a high point in an ongoing journey of service. If you havea Master Plan for your year as Governor, that should continue in the forthcoming years as PastDistrict Governor, and should be a shining beacon of inspiration to your successors to the postof District Governor. Remember that the "4-minute-mile" in athletics used to be seen as animpossible target. Then Roger Bannister of UK broke the barrier. After that event, breaking thefour-minute-mile is standard. It is being achieved at all international and even in some nationalmeets all the time. So the fire that ignited your drive to this high office should burnundiminished during your year as governor, and throughout all your future years as Past DistrictGovernor, shedding bright light to inspire generations of future Lions. So the allied questionthat should arise in your mind as you design your master plan is "How can I be, not just aDistrict Governor, not just a good District Governor, but a great District Governor, a memorableDistrict Governor, whose year as District Governor will illuminate the legends of the LionsInternational?Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 6
  7. 7. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveYou will, of course, attend the pre-District Governor training and orientation programme. Theywill equip you with the process and contents of Governorship.But, my friend, no training and no orientation can create that fire, that hot, burning internalcombustion that powers you from within. That conflagration will mark the difference betweenthe adequate, the good and the great governorship.The difference between the average and the outstanding governor is usually in the passion thatthe latter brings. The average governor "manages" the job - the "nuts & bolts", and the dailyroutines. He may even enhance some practices and introduce something new. As he risesabove the average, he develops strategies, integrating changes and making connections, andfinally raises his peoples capabilities to move the district forward effectively, not just for thisyear but even thereafter.There are many philosophies that help one in increasing ones circle of influence towards theouter concentric boundary of the circle of concern. Reach out your dreams, your visions, andyour passions. The extent of your accomplishments is directly proportional to what inspiresyou.For God’s sake let not your year expire in pursuit of the trivial, the ongoing, the immediate, asagainst the really important and vital.In almost all religions, preparation for priesthood is arduous. In the Roman Catholic Church, thecandidate undergoes a long and strenuous novitiate. The priest has to be celibate and musttake the triple vow of poverty, chastity and obedience. Because the decision is so onerous,during the first few years the candidate is encouraged to examine, re-examine, and test hismotives.A very similar exercise has to be undertaken by the candidate for governorship. What drives mein this quest? If I am elected, what will my contribution be? When I become Past DistrictGovernor, will I look back on a stupendous year of achievement? Will the promise that fired myascent to the post be fulfilled when I actually have the post?Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 7
  8. 8. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveIf this chapter inflamed you, then come, let us explore your role further. Together, with ourprayers and your passion, we will scale the highest peaks of Service, the Lionistic way. TheWorld, the District and the Lions are yearning for leaders. Ask yourself, are you a leader? *******Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 8
  9. 9. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveWhose Governor are you?The District Governors leadership, both for vision and for execution, is a very special blendmost suitable for a voluntary Non-Government / Non-Profit Organization. The post of DistrictGovernor in the Lions context is, itself, very highly regarded and guarantees the respect of .allLions, everywhere. One of the finest administrative measures in the organization is the protocolthat has been established so strongly. Hence, when an individual becomes a district governor,that person automatically assumes the highest office in the district hierarchy and is givenadequate respect. But there is a subtle, and rather important, difference between respect thatis demanded and that is earned. The former may be a result of the badge that an individualwears for a period of one year; the latter is what comes from the hearts of the members whodevelop a rapport with their leader and wish to show respect for the sacrifices that the personmay be making in leading the district. Even further, as they say, “The world is becoming flat.”The concept of rigid hierarchy is outdated and all modern associations have to be hyper-linked.There has to be direct connectivity between constituents of the organization irrespective of theoffices they occupy, and that has to be accompanied by transparency and informality.Information flow is the life line in the modern world in any set up like ours, and information cannever ever be elite commodity as it was in the past. It will rather be interpretation of theavailable information that will distinguish the visionary and effective leaders from the commonlot.First of all, no one person can lead an entire district alone. The District Governor is definitelyexpected to have guidance and wise counsel of senior Lions - Past District Governors and corethinking groups. But the District Governor is in personal command, not only in practice but alsohas a highly visible style throughout the District. Any pronouncement or instruction, whetheron policy, programme or practice, uttered by anyone, is assumed to have the explicit and priorconsent of the Governor. He is the fountainhead, the focal point of every project, programmeand function of the District. In other words, though you have many advisors, the responsibilityis yours, and yours alone. Do not regard this even for a moment that any district governor hasdictatorial powers. That can never be the truth. Rather, each DG is required to be able to buildEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 9
  10. 10. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectiveopinion behind ideas that are important to the success of the plans of the organization. In doingso, many formal and informal meetings may be required to be set up, and even variousdiametrically opposite views may have to be considered. The ability to keep one’s cool evenwhen opposition surfaces to what one considers primarily crucial to the success of certaininitiatives will be the hallmark of a good leader. It is in listening and being able to appreciatediverse views that the seeds of a sound decision are sown. The governor should never allowoneself to be disconnected with the ground realities, as that would amount to snapping of“leadership” lifeline. Yet, the announcements that are made need to be coming from thedistrict governor, that is what is meant by being in command of the situation.Leadership cannot be delegated. It is a lonely position, surrounded and deafened by advice,counsel and criticism. But the Governor is essentially alone, at the summit of the District.Everest is not only Worlds highest mountain-peak. It is also the most weather-affected -whipped by high winds, blanketed by snowstorms, all because it is so high above the rest. Themental training of the governor to be able to deal with criticism is important. There will besome people who are compulsive critics based on political alliances, and may most often needto be ignored although at times they too may have relevant issues; then there is a regular quotaof “trash” criticism which needs to be just dumped; but there is also a third variety that isgenuine. It is this kind of criticism that promotes and prompts ideas and visions for the future; itis this criticism that is the mother of true introspection. And as for advice and counsel that isalways available, the district governor needs to differentiate between what is sound advice andwhat is straight forward sycophancy that can be fatal for the leader and the organization.Every district governor needs to be in touch with members who bear different opinions, andmay even come from diverse backgrounds and age groups. Some of them may makesuggestions that seem apparently ridiculous, or for that matter even so radically non-confirmative with the policies of the association. But these may include the seeds of creativechanges and paths for the future. The price paid for disregarding them or shutting them up maybe too heavy. But is always dependent upon the leader to be tackle such situations.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 10
  11. 11. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveWhy will people follow you?As Commander, you have not just official or functional responsibilities. You need to have, anddemonstrate, extraordinary personal qualities, which make your command membersspontaneously accept you as undisputed leader. The position does not make the leader. Theleader makes the position. If it is said that, when Dr. Radhakrishan accepted the position ofPresident, world opinion was not that the position enhanced him, but that his eminenceenhanced the post. So also, for Nelson Mandela. So in your attitudes and behaviour, you mustearn the trust and confidence of both your officers, advisors and members."Leadership should be more participative than directive, more enabling than performing."You and you alone can interact with all, cabinet, advisors and senior Lions in order to enablethem to execute. Remember, "A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leadertakes people where they dont necessarily want to go, but ought to be." But people followprovided they share the visions. Let not the plans and programs of the district be the plans andprograms of the governor alone. If as a DG, you cannot make them buy into your ideas, andrather cause the emergence of roadmaps and compasses that are born out of joint discussionsand deliberations, it will be difficult to retain the enthusiasm level of the cabinet officersthrough the year.This implies that you see a vision for the District and then convince others of its viability, so thatyou provide the goal, the direction and energy. You remain open to include, delete and alterplans based on genuine discussions and points of view that may emerge. They achieve, since"the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not followers".And how will you convince people of your great vision? "Treat people as if they were what theyought to be, and help them to become what they are capable of being." But the success orfailure will still be of the leader. "An army of sheep led by a lion would defeat an army of lionsled by a sheep." First believe in yourself and in the principles that guide you; put them to test tocheck on their contemporary validity; believe in the power of the organization; believe in thestrengths of your team; and only then lead them into believing and realizing their individualstrengths to the maximum.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 11
  12. 12. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveLets look at your immediate team. Your team has to deliver. Essentially, your team consists ofyour handpicked Lions as the District Cabinet. You have to assess each person against the taskprofile. The most pertinent question that arises here is: Do you have a work profile for everyappointment you make, or are you including people just to make them feel good. Remember,there is a vital difference between being good and feeling good. Nowadays, we are oftenguided by the feel good factor, and that is illusory. Being good is permanent and that comesonly with being able to provide life enrichment experiences and opportunities to make adifference.Occasionally, a person is foisted on the District Governor for political compulsions; in that caseeven communication with the appointees may be indirect. This is an organizational reality.Along the long and twisting road to Governorship, you had to enter into alliances, take helpfrom people and perhaps, promise them high office. This can never be justified, but at times itmay be a reality. These, then, may be "passengers" who see their positions not as anopportunity for service, but as a reward for service rendered earlier. With this group, you mustprobe their motivation to find that trigger which can, and will, make them productive members.If you dont, they will be on your liabilities list, and your Governorship will suffer. The idealinteraction is 1:1 to ensure absolute loyalty and smooth flow of communication.To ensure common purpose and commitment in your team is an important initial and on-goingtask. If it is there, then the horsepower of the co-leaders will be focused; otherwise, it will getdissipated and lost. Obviously, the very first requirement is in very clear, progressive andchallenging plans, programmes, policies and the road map for your year of governorship andbeyond. Individuals who are nominated to the cabinets and do not appreciate any role theycould play will most probably not even be found in the cabinet meetings through the year. Theymay well become a demotivating force for those who are there for a larger and constructivepurpose.Of course, as intelligent people, your team will have disagreements, diverse points of view and,occasionally, criticism. It is a sign of great leadership to ensure diversity of viewpoints duringdiscussions and plans, moving towards needle-point focus in execution and follow-up.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 12
  13. 13. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveAbove all, be politically realistic, leading a coalition, if not a massive mandate. You may have toaccommodate people not committed to your cause, but politically important.Sometimes, fatigue and pre-occupation makes availability less. 3,000 horsemen of the MoghulArmy lay exhausted on the banks of Sabarmati. The soldiers had traversed 960 Km of difficultterrain in 9 days. The rebels lay beyond the swollen river. Suddenly, a warrior charged into thetorrent - it was the emperor Jalal-ud-din Akbar - with a roar! The soldiers followed him and,within 2 days, suppressed the rebellion. (Extracted from "Inspiring people: Fifty who made adifference~ A Readers Digest Selection).How will you lead? Emotional Intelligence is a fairly new discovery. Until recently, we only knewI.Q. (Intelligence Quotient). Now we talk of E.I. (Emotional Intelligence), which consists ofknowing why you feel or react in particular ways; learning to manage those reactions;understanding how and why other people feel certain things; and managing relationships. It is achallenge of thinking with the head and also feeling with the heart. The reliance on your"intuitions" or inner voice. It is the ability to break out of the negatives cage into the positivesky by using your sub-conscious powers.We also refer to problem-solving as using both sides of the brain: the left which analyses and islogical and linear, and the right which has emotion, intuition and insight. You will need bothsides of the brain to be a leader who inspires.To summarize this chapter Whose Governor Are You?", you must clearly understand that theLions movement has conferred on you the great honour and the great obligation ofGovernorship.Your first and major constituency is Lionism. Next, you have the District and all the clubs andmembers. They expect leadership - to help weak clubs, to encourage strong clubs, to reduceand stop "drop-outs".Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 13
  14. 14. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveOther constituencies are government and its administrators, to whom you are a major Non-Government I Non-Profit Organization leader. Donors for our projects also see you as an activistleader.Then, there are your advisors, Past District Governors, Past International Directors, SeniorLions. Finally, you have your core team and cabinet.Not all the members are your avid supporters. In fact, there may even be dissidents.Your task is to enlist your immediate team and also the individual clubs, members and evenexternal resources to achieve your goals.So whose governor are you? You are the chosen head of the Lions district. But the differencebetween the chosen head and the effective head can be large.In the ensuing chapters, we will see how you can bridge this divide. For the moment, what youneed to ponder is:(a) How will I increase my circle of influence to cover my entire circle of concern?(b) How will I, not just enlist, but empower all the resources human, financial, creative,towards my goals? Here your interpersonal skills of Emotional Intelligence will give you results.(c) How will I raise our concerns from the mundane, the routine, the egoistic, and theceremonial, to the effective, long-lasting?(d) And the skills you will need will flow from both left and right sides of the brain.This chapter has addressed the constituencies you must satisfy, the resources that you mustdeploy and, finally, the skills you will need. So, now you know whose governor you are. *******Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 14
  15. 15. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveFinancial DisciplineDuring your term, large sums of money may flow in and out: Grants-in-aid, Donations, & TicketSales. The projects, both old and new, could swallow funds. Ensuring strict accountability andcomplete transparency in all transactions should be the hallmark of your Governorship. Nothingbesmirches a crystal reputation like ugly allegations of financial irregularity.Funds cannot be raised in panic or against exigencies. People are always willing to fund longer-planned ventures. And most Lions projects build for the longer term - eye hospitals,ambulances, etc. The return on . investment is between generations, and may take decades.We dont plant wheat, rice and chillies - we grow teak.An astute District Governor builds a donor constituency. Before, or very early in your term ofoffice, establish good, trustworthy ties with those on whose resources your projects willdepend. An ounce of good early PR will yield a pound of returns when needed.In all these fund-raising and allocations, your office and you must be like Caesars wife - aboveall suspicion by choice, not by default. Transparency in all financial matters should be thehallmark of your governorship.It is not even necessary to stipulate that no action or transaction by a District Governor,individually, or in council, violates the law of the land, whether taxation, building codes,licenses or whatever. The reputation of a large international organization lies in your hands.Treat it with care and ensure that, whether from accounting, legal, taxation or moral viewpoints, the district is clean.The challenge is to your integrity. On one spectrum, ethical behaviour, on the othermanipulative. On a perpendicular spectrum, political awareness on one end is balanced bynaivete on the other.If you are ethical, but naive, you are innocent, credulous. If you are unethical and naive, youcould be stupid or inept. If you are unethical and politically aware, you could be cunning, and amanipulator. The ideal is to be politically aware and ethical- though wise and credible.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 15
  16. 16. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspective *******Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 16
  17. 17. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveWhat is leadership?Managing is about systems and procedures, leading is about vision and direction. "Managerworks in the system; leadership works on the system" -. Stephen Covey.Before retirement from international cricket, Steve Waugh played a Test match against Englandwith a leg injury. He scored a century without asking for a runner, though he limped through hisinnings. While fielding, he spent the whole day without a substitute. This type of leadershipprompted his teammates to remark that they would run through a brick: wall for .a leader likeSteve. This is leadership by example. More recently, Mahinder Singh Dhoni demonstratedleadership by example in the finals of the world cup against Sri Lanka. He was ready to exposehimself to the most critical situation when he could have easily held himself back in the battingline up; rather he promoted himself in the batting order even above Yuvraj who was in therunning for the Man of the series award. This way he showed that there is no way out except toassume 100% responsibility.Nelson Mandela recalled a lesson he had learned as a boy. "When you want a herd to move in acertain direction, you stand at the back with a stick. Then a few of the more energetic cattlemove to the front and the rest of the cattle follow. You are really guiding them from behind.That is how a leader should do his work." In the District Governors style of leadership, this iscalled delegation. You need a lot of confidence to delegate. The weak District Governorabdicates the strong District Governor delegates. What this means is that you encourage thoseof your team who have initiative to act. Others will follow."The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wantsdone, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it." - TheodoreRoosevelt. It is the best definition of delegating. Pick good men, brief them, agree on checkpoints and let them get on.How do you surround yourself, not with "yes" men, but with skills that complement yours? It. issaid that Indian Cricket Coach helped Virender Sehwag reach his full potential. He used to makeEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 17
  18. 18. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspective40 - 50 runs in quick time and chuck his wicket. He would still get cheered. Wright sat with himone day and told him that he was batting in a spot sacrificed bySachin Tendulker - a spot where Sachin scored a 100 every 3 matches.This changed the way Sehwag benchmarked himself. You may have to. counsel particularly theyoung and head-strong members who may not heed elders caution.And what standards will you set? R.M.Lala, In "A Touch of Greatness", writes about an interviewwith JRD Tata. "Of course, Sir, you believe in excellence". JRD retorted sharply, "Not excellence.Perfection. You aim for perfection, you will attain excellence. If you aim for excellence, you willgo lower." So if you aim always for the highest level to be achieved, the actual will be wellabove average.And how will you lead? "To lead, people walk beside. Then…..As for the best leaders, people donot notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, the peoplefear; and the next, the people hate. When the best leaders work is done, the people say, Wedid it ourselves" - Lao-Tzu, Chinese Philosopher. All followers need to feel that you are alwayswith them. Not taking the credit, but giving them the credit. This way, they will feel they ownthe task. This is also the way you build potential leaders. If you handle every initiative, then youwill be like a huge banyan tree under which nothing grows.General Motors grew to become the largest company in the world. The founder Alfred Sloan,merged over 30 organizations to create it... Once he suggested a plan to his Board of Directors.They unanimously approved it. He promptly adjourned the meeting saying "if everybody agreesthere must be something wrong with the plan." Encourage opinion, particularly dissent. Youmust have the ability to listen to contradiction and arguments to move towards the best courseof action. Remember that unanimous approval may mean that nobody has scrutinized theproposal, or that all are trying to please you instead of studying the course of action. Soencourage contrarian views and such arguments. That way, every idea is examined beforeacceptance. In all meetings of lions clubs, we seem to have developed a special kind of liking forunanimous views. Sometimes we take pride in saying that all decisions taken during a particularyear were unanimous. More important than unanimity is unity. The discussions should be frankEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 18
  19. 19. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectiveand candid. Each participant should be encouraged to speak out one’s mind, even the mostrevolutionary and imaginative ideas. Once that is done, we will succeed in creating ownershipof decisions. Otherwise people may keep quiet during the meetings but their commitment tothe decisions taken will be questionable.There are many role models. You have the mentor or guru model Sunil Gavaskar and SachinTendulkar. You could be flexible like Kerry Packer or self-sacrificing, like Mother Teresa. Youcould also follow the Bhishma model, whose life lay in empowering others.Leaders also model on Christ - Service with humility. Lord Christ’s service with utmost humilityat the final supper is one of the greatest leadership lessons. Or on Alexander - lead from thefront; on Gandhi - strict code of morals, one who believed that the conscience of every personcould be invoked to awaken; on Mandela with no prejudices or pre-judgments, one whobelieved in building South Africa as a safe nation for its citizens irrespective of the color of theindividuals even after such long stints behind bars. Or initiate relationships like Vajpayee;radiate wisdom like the Buddha, or be flexible and willing to change like Gorbachev for who canforget the challenge he faced when he introduced the radical changes that dramatically broughtdown the iron curtain. These are all leaders who provide us models. For each situation adifferent model may be appropriate.It is a common phenomenon that the whole district is dependent on you. That real test is whenyou mature your members from dependence to independence and finally to inter-dependence.This means, initially, people depend on you. Gradually they may find independence. But thehighest level is when they realize how much they need others and others need them.Again, on two perpendicular planes of co-operation and trust, the lowest is a stage with lowlevel achievements as the team members do not have mutual faith; halfway is compromisewhere better results begin to show; and the highest in synergy where the levels of performancefar exceed what may even have been thought of.Your leadership can be evaluated using three interlocking scales. The value and purpose, thevision and strategy, and the community. If there is only vision and strategy for the community,the risk is the despot or tyrant. If there is value and purpose, and also vision and strategy, butEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 19
  20. 20. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectiveno degree- of community involvement, the risk of anarchy is high. If value and purpose... visionand strategy, and the community, all are taken together, performance can result.Before we end this chapter, one semi-final word on managing the district versus leading ~."The manager does things right, the leader does the right things." The managers obsession isplanning, control and predictability. The leader, on the other hand, is concerned withtransformation through commitment and empowerment of members.Another great pitfall is the absence of information, or worse, only good news. Bad news nevercomes to bad leaders. One may get surrounded by people who do not allow the real feelingsand feedback of the members to reach the governor. That situation can be fatal. Temporarily,that is intended to please the District Governor, and may be dangerous. People must feelencouraged to report factually and in time, without worrying that you will get upset, orattribute motives to the messenger. The moment any governor gets in a position where realfeedback is kept away from him because of his inability to accept the same and his reaction thatmay not be absolutely justified, it becomes a serious issue.A young man and his adoring wife stood by the seaside. In a poetic mood, he announced "Rollon thou dark blue ocean, roll." His wife looked at the sea for a minute and then turned to herhusband and wondered, "Darling, it is doing exactly what you asked it to do!" Beware ofsycophancy.Lets put leadership in context as a practical skill set.First of all leaders develop a vision. A vision is not a prophecy - it is a concept of what ispossible, and it has a challenge or "stretch" built in. Next, the leader communicates the visionto all stake-holders. Not just informs and instructs, but infects and inflames, till people areenthused and excited. A vision statement is not just a few words or lines that are framed andput up on the walls of the offices. They are like the unseen magnetic fields that influence everyactivity and each individual. We never get to see these fields, but we know that they exist andthat every planned initiative needs to be validated as per their properties.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 20
  21. 21. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveEven before you take office, you will become aware that there a thousand issues - some trivial,some routine, that need your time and attention. How you will rise beyond administering totransformation will test your abilities.Communication is the life blood of a Non-Government / Non-Profit Organization. When peopledont know what is happening, why it is happening, when and where - the usual fall-out isspeculation, rumor and lack of involvement. This can lead to alienation and even hostility. Youmust encourage free and frank information-flow, whether pleasant or unpleasant.Transparency is not an option anymore; that is the only way organizations work and survivetoday. At one point of time, information was elite commodity; today it is available at the click ofa mouse; and in this scenario, it is interpretation of information that is more critical.You are obliged, not just to lecture or inform, but actually discuss the pros and cons till peoplefeel informed, involved and committed.Remember, there will always be yes-men around any centre of power. Critics will be lessfrequent but more useful. *******Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 21
  22. 22. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveThe Popular District GovernorYou can either achieve, or be popular. Usually the two dont go together. But that’s notimpossible, only rare. Taking tough decisions may sometimes ruffle feathers. The easiest wayout may be to bow to popular sentiment. But this will almost always lead to diffusion of effortand failure in task achievement. ."A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back onthe crowd."Indira Gandhi once said, "My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people:those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group.There is much less competition." So dont use your year as District Governor to seek applause -let your results speak for you.Even before your term starts, there may be pressures to induct some individuals in importantpositions in the district cabinet that may not be justified by considerations of credit. During theyear, the governor may often find himself in challenging situations for politically correctdecisions that essentially marginalize merit and performance; the governor is called upon tohonor and recognize individuals whom he believes have not done their best. At such times, theconcerned person has to take a call. The rightful decision may temporarily annoy an individualbut will definitely benefit the association. I have seen important changes in long termappointments, at times the best performers being removed on flimsy grounds just to send outpolitically strong messages. This kind of a strategy may work out in the short or medium term,but in the long run it only helps in institutionalizing mediocrity as an organisation’s culture. Themoment this process starts, be prepared to accept average results and decline of reputation asa top class association.Stop worrying whether people like you or appreciate you. Your work is your best spokesman. Inthe game of cricket, let the bat do the talking, or as they say, let the bottom line speak for itself.Jim Whitaker successfully climbed Mount Everest. At a felicitation, he spoke, you neverconquer the mountain. You only conquer yourself. Examine in yourself the personality flawsthat hold you back. Conquer them, and the world is yours.”Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 22
  23. 23. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveSelecting those who deserve power is a very important task for the District Governor. He beginsto plan his key people even before taking office. To achieve, in the limited period of a year, hischosen few need to be empowered. If all are empowered, few will perform. Some will beenamored of the post and the status at the cost of effectiveness. Empower, empanel andendow only those who can and will deliver. Kiran Bedi once said, " I like to be on the shop floorto understand what is going on. This drives the enthusiasm." Picking your key people well, andthen giving them the trust and confidence to perform, may be the difference between successand failure. Although I have used the word “power” above, it may not be the best choice. In anorganization like ours where we believe that each individual is as important as the other, powermay be replaced by influence. A good leader should try and enhance his level of influence thatwill stay on for a long time. If one is wedded to an official position, then the respect for thatindividual vanishes as soon as the term of office is over. They say that as you go up the ladderof hierarchy, keep smiling, shaking hands and winning over friends; if you have no time toinvest in relational chemistry as you are going uo, no will have time for you as you are comingdown. I once met a lion leader who said that the real test of popularity for a district governor ishow many clubs want you among them 5 years after your term of governorship is over. Duringthe year of office, there will be many who will crowd around you; but you must have the abilityto sense who is holding on to you as a person and who is hanging on to an officer in an officialposition.The badge of office is a huge responsibility. You are doing this demanding job for ourAssociation, only incidentally gaining personal prominence. . Recall what Peter Drucker, themanagement thinker, wrote. - "Leadership is not rank, privileges, titles or money. It isresponsibility." The1.ions expect, not a public figure, but a true leader with vision and drive.Dont let them down. Say a district has 2000 members and if every member allocates just 2hours per month for lions activities, then you could be at the helm of taking decisions thatwould determine how 48,000 man-hours are invested. Can you value the worth of such a largeinvestment, where the persons concerned could be lawyers, engineers, businessmen,architects, scientists or just plain simple good human beings whose intrinsic valuation is beyondmathematical calculations. A friend of mine once defined lions as “the trustees of futureEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 23
  24. 24. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivegenerations in their countries”. What a great salutation for lions, and the leader of the districtmust then understand what the expectations and perceptions of the community are.The capacity to generate and sustain trust is the central ingredient in leadership", writesWarren Bennis, a popular writer and professor of management. Trust-Loyalty-Trust aremutually re-inforcing factors to build strong teams. Remember, reward high and trustedpositions to those whose loyalty to you is selfless. But, in doing so, check the portfolio carefullyagainst the candidate. It will never do to assign a key task to somebody only because he is loyal,regardless of his ability and willingness to perform the task.Henry Ford used to say "I am looking for men who have an infinite capacity to not know whatcant be done." When you select your team, outline your vision and test their reactions. Thesycophants will say Fantastic", and do nothing. See if your vision truly excites and, perhaps,frightens people. Above all, look for people who want a challenge and are prepared to give ittime, energy and creativity.You have the power to recognize and reward. Use it judiciously. The US Constitution providesfor many high offices to be appointed by the President. Many times, key portfolios have beengiven, and great honours bestowed on otherwise undeserving individuals, purely as a rewardfor loyalty, vote-getting or campaign fund raising. But just consider the appointment of HillaryClinton as the secretary of state by President Obama. It’s a very different approach altogether.In cases like this, faith ina leader increases. But if a person is driven by petty considerations andawards are made on extraneous considerations, the result is that the value of the awarddiminishes. Witness the number of distinguished Indians who have politely, but firmly, declinedthe Padmashri, Arjuna Award, etc., because they felt these were indiscriminate or politicallymotivated in many cases. Quite sadly, I have witnessed high awards in our association beingrecommended for individuals who have hardly been seen at the ground level and rubbingshoulders with the lions in programs and projects that are our identity.There is an ongoing and fierce debate in our organization. Many senior Lions, Past DistrictGovernor and such believe that the District Governors contribution to the District is likeEmperor Neros to Rome- bread and circuses. They believe that the District Governors getEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 24
  25. 25. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivestrung upon a few lavish ceremonies alone (in some parts of the world). Such governors, theybelieve, visit clubs ceremonially, not having done homework on each clubs needs,interpersonal tensions, member drop-out rate, etc. But a good District Governor is anadministrator who identifies the weak clubs, member drop-out rates and encourages more clublevel, local community driven projects, to create ownership and pride of. membership. In otherwords, rather than organize spectacles, he goes to grass roots and makes clubs own theirprojects and develop a sense of pride in their membership.This chapter has given you some tips - sometimes appearing mutually contradictory. Achievinga judicious blend between loyalty and merit is a real challenge. But achieving this blend is amust if your goal is to be a memorable lender.In other words, there are certain organizational realities. In order to achieve your goals it may be necessary to be tough e.g., not nominating afaithful member to a key post, though he may have worked hard for your elections; particularlywhen he is not suitable. Even so your final team or cabinet might have some people who are not yoursupporters. Above all the District Governors post is neither for personal gain or glamour. It is aLions office for service. To do justice to this post you have to reward only performers. This will send a strongmessage throughout the district that it is work and not loyalty, performance not praising, thatwill be recognized. A great deal of discretion is needed to differentiate between those you want to rewardand those whom you have to reward. *******Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 25
  26. 26. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveCompetent GovernorshipThe District Governor in our Association is the Chief Executive Officer for the District. It is not aceremonial office. In his role, he has to meet the expectations of the stake-holders, Lions ClubsInternational, members of the clubs in his district, elder lions, Past District Governors, hiscabinet, donors and well-wishers. Further, the governor shall be assisted by other members ofthe district governor team that includes the two vice district governors.To achieve this with a team consisting entirely of volunteers who belong to a variety ofbusinesses and professions which are time-consuming, needs awesome interpersonal skills.You have to be a tactful diplomat, striding purposefully through minefields of individual andpolitical egos, skillfully balancing others expectations with your objectives, eking out resultsfrom inadequate resources including time.Two major streams converge to create this mighty river - competence and integrity.Competence is ability - the "hard" skill of planning, organizing, executing, controlling, and the"soft" skill of communicating, bonding, motivating and counseling. Integrity is honesty tooneself, to the job, and to all the stakeholders. We all grow throughout our lives in thesecompetencies. These two sets of skills are the essential tools of leadership in a Non-Government / Non-Profit Organization.But in your case, the space of one year in command and afterwards in counsel, will test thesecompetencies to the breaking point.Integrity is being honest to your mission. "Leaders dont do what they are asked to do. Theyrather do what they believe in", says Arun Maira, Chairman of Boston Consulting Group:Transparent in intent, transparent in methods of working, transparent in commitment to yourcause.At Sangam near Allahabad, three great rivers meet - the visible Jamunand Ganga and theinvisible Saraswati. The invisible third river converging on the competent District Governor ispassion. Tom Peters, formerly of Mckinsey, says, "Leaders wear their passion on their sleeves.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 26
  27. 27. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveLeaders dream in techni-colour. They erupt, they flame, they have boundless enthusiasms".Without passion, hardly anything may be possible in our association. This may apply largely toall organizations, but where we are concerned with a humanitarian service sert up, it assumesspecial importance. Have you tried to estimate what it means to plan and conceive programsfor community development? How much time is consumed in garnering resources and seekingvarious approvals? And then the direct and indirect costs that have to be met must also bematched by appropriate fund raising and donations; that too is a mammoth task. How could allthis be possible without the burning desire that alone be our guiding light as we walk the roadsof our association? You will find that every district has individuals who have never becomegovernors, nor do they have such an ambition. But they are at the fore front and may even bethe primary person behind a program to which they are 100% committed. They serve in thatcapacity without a badge or a medal of recognition. In fact, it is the glory of such individualsthat we reflect on our head tables and reap the dividend of their labour as the communityrecognizes us as people who care.So, competence and integrity lead to trust. And when this engine is powered by very high-octane fuel of passion, you are truly unstoppable.And it does not come automatically. Great athletes spend hours practicing for mindsets of peakperformance. Executives, on the other hand, and District Governors included, dont practice atall, but jump into fulltime performing. This is why, in our hierarchy, you would have held otherleadership posts before becoming District Governor. The introduction of the office of 2 nd ViceDistrict Governor was meant to provide a platform and time to prepare for the year ofgovernorship while continuing to assist the current year’s incumbent.High achievement is never static. As things change, what seemed like Everest becomes merely ahill. In early computer days, kilobytes were impressive. Now we have crossed megabytes, gigabytes, and are talking of terra bytes. So, as you progress during the year and beyond, needs willchange, environments will shift.There is an old proverb. "Those who dont know, and dont know that they dont know, arestupid. Avoid them. Those who dont know, and know that they dont know, they are simple;Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 27
  28. 28. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectiveteach them. Those who know, but dont know that they know, they know they are asleep, wakethem. And those who know, and know that they know; they are wise, follow them.” Makingsuch choices may not be easy, that is the challenge of leadership. The years that an individualspends as the 1st and 2nd Vice District Governor should ideally be utilized for this ind of talentidentification and human resource building. You may be amazed that we have tremendoustalent available amongst our members but we may not be aware of them. We have oftenspoken of the power of networking in our association. It refers to establishing contacts withthose who are located in other parts of the world and also includes building relationships whoare existing in our own clubs but we are bliss out what they can do to foster our aims andobjects. We were planning to hold a snooker tournament for fund raising but always felt theabsence of a technical person to assist us in this regard. It was when the Asian Games wereplayed that it came to our notice that the silver medal winner at these games happened to be amember of a club in Kolkata for past many years, but he had hardly been involved in theprograms at club or district level. Not many in his club even knew that he possessed such talent.On yet another occasion when the board meeting of LCI was being held in New Delhi and thethen president wanted a local civic leader to inaugurate the opening session, wefaced a toughchallenge. This meeting was being put together in almost less than a month because it hadbeen shifted to Delhi due to law and order disturbances elsewhere. While we were brainstorming to find some leads, a most unassuming lion in a semi-urban club of eastern Indiahappened to visit my office in connection withsome issues relating to his club’s hospital thatwas undergoing expansion. When he overheard some telephonic discussions, he chipped inwith his possibility to help by asking the Speaker of the Parliament of India to join us for theoccasion. I wondered if he could really help, and then he informed that Mr Chatterjee, the thenSpeaker and a brilliant parliamentarian for over 30 years, was a member of his club and aregular donor to his club’s hospital project as well. It took only a day to have the chief guest tiedup, who came in with a background knowledge of our association and related wonderfully toour mission in his address.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 28
  29. 29. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveAnother version is of unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, consciouscompetence and unconscious competence. What this means is that, through sheer practice, thegreat leader exercises these skills unconsciously.It is sometimes said of Christopher Columbus, discoverer of America, that "he did not knowwhere he was going, and did not know where he had arrived.""YOU cant get what you want unless you know what you want." And if your dreams are small,your accomplishments can never be big."And even a vision is hopeless if it is too early (Leonardo Da Vincis vision of Helicopters!), or toolate. Shakespeare says it well: There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood,leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and miseries. Onsuch a full sea are we now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves, or lose ourventure". You have to strike when the iron is hot. Choose the occasions for announcements,celebration, etc.Many Lion members play the role of commentators and critics. Some of them make lavishpromises. As District Governor, you cannot be a commentator, you are a player. You cannot bea critic, you are a performer. And people want, not promises, but performance from you - thebottom line. As a member, you must have heard others who prefer to observe, comment andcriticize. As the on-field captain, you have no time to comment, only to perform. Your team,and all the clubs and members want to know, need to know where we are going? How will wereach there? How will we know that we have arrived? Are there milestones in our journey? Arethere roadblocks, diversions, rough tracks? Leaders take people where they ought to go, notjust where they want to go.As District Governor, whether you like it or not, you must provide your constituents withdirections. This means you give them a road map to guide the routine issues, and a compass forthem to focus on the critical change areas. In today’s fast changing scenario, it may have beeneasier if a leaders job was just to provide directions to follow a road map; rather the challengesare much more as they include tracing new paths based on the expertise of using the compass.Many of our destinations may be such as have never been planned earlier; they may be a newEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 29
  30. 30. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectiveconcept altogether. The compass here represents the validation on the scales of theassociation’s code of ethics and statement of purposes. Each time we are confronted with asituation that calls for choices between alternatives (and that is the purpose of leadership), letus remember that ultimately the quality of such decisions alone will determine the future ofour association. How well is our research about our capacity to undertake the challenge thatconfronts us, what kind of involvement have we been able to generate in the team, howprepared are our colleagues to unlearn and learn as the situation may demand, what shall bethe impact of any changes we wish to introduce, how are such changes viewed by theconstituents, and so on, are some questions that must be answered before any radical and longterm policy decision is made.Are you a thermostat or a thermometer? One sets the temperature required. The other showsthe temperature. The thermometer is passive. It merely states the temperature with nocomment on whether it is too high or too low; nor will it advice on what can be done about thetemperature. The thermostat sets the temperature limits, high or low, when something musthappen. So, it is a more active participant. It is said that there are three types of people. Thereare those who make things happen. There are others who watch things happen and, finally,there are those who wonder what happened. To which category do you belong? Leaders makethings happen.Leaders are not mere tourists who admire the Taj. They are the conceivers and the builderswho create, rather than observe; perform, rather than promise. *******Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 30
  31. 31. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveYour role as a trustee for tomorrowWhen a stone is dropped into still water, concentric circles of waves form, each bigger than thelast. Interesting to watch. But it is a sobering thought that the Tsunami follows the sameprinciple. Tsunami has been the major cause of natural devastation in the recent past, butnature has great lessons for us to be learnt from its structure and leveraging principles. Greatleaders build increasing circles of influence that reach out to donors, well-wishers, Lionsofficials, bureaucrats, media and public. No person has authority over such a wide area, but theintelligent leader develops influence, and that is both a softer and stronger force. How doesone develop influence? First establish a wide range of contacts. Keep in frequent touchofficially, socially. See if you can be of some help to each one - even regularly sending themnews-cuttings of importance to them, keeping them informed about Lions activities, invitingthem to Lions functions, projects and meetings, sending them greeting cards, etc. Whateveryou achieve, 80% is through persuasion and influence. Your authority comes from yourcredibility and influence.Develop humility by emulating the truly great. The seventy-seven year old Mahatma Gandhiwas in rural Bengal on Indias first Independence Day. He was met with banners that read"Leave, you have been warned", etc.His path was strewn with glass pieces and human excrement. Cutting a small branch, the Fatherof the Nation began to sweep the glass and excrement. In a Non-Government / Non-ProfitOrganization, humility, and not ambition, is true greatness. Demonstrate true humility whilefacing the truly awesome responsibility that has been placed on your shoulders.Among the various models that are suggested by experts, none applies more to ourorganization than servant leadership. Some of the great examples of such leadership comefrom the likes of Christ, Ram and Guru Angad. The lessons learnt from the last supper whereLord Christ washes the feet of his apostles, Lord Ram’s acceptance of exile and Guru Angad’sliteral sermon of “Sewa” (service to mankind is service to God) can be our motivation. Ours isan association where no one is above another, we are all equals. At best, the district governorEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 31
  32. 32. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivemay be the first among equals. But success comes by appreciating the leadership mantra states,“Walk not ahead, as I may not be able to follow; walk not behind, as I may not be able to showthe way; walk beside me so that together we may serve as we lead, and lead as we serve.”Influence achieves much more than authority. It is "soft", using tact, persuasion, cajoling,negotiating, rather than sanction or force. How did Gandhi mobilize the entire nation? Withwhat authority? How did Nelson Mandela, after 28 years in prison for fighting againstapartheid, lead both the rich whites and poor blacks in a united South Africa? What was themagic wand of Martin Lurther King Jr that he could lead perhaps the most powerful nation ofthe world to its path of emancipation and renaissance? The answer to each of the questions isthe same: By personal example and utilizing influence over key constituents and stake-holders.What these great men have achieved was not as dictators, but as leaders. Most district projectsbegin with a grand vision based on great enthusiasms, but rapidly dwindle into low energy, lowparticipation activities. Just think of the last eye surgery camp or blood donation drive indeveloping nations, or a fund raising campaign in a developed part of the world forrehabilitation projects in areas hit be natural disasters. How many members turned up at thesite regularly? How many brought friends and future Lions? How does the number comparewith the turnout for a club picnic, and dinner get-togethers? This means that fellowship takesprecedence over service, or inclination for hands-on involvement is on the decline. It may alsomean that the Lions Organization has become transaction-centered.Leadership may be distinguished by whether it is transaction oriented or transformationoriented. The former is driven by a give and take relationship, often with a myopic view,whereas the latter is identified with mutual enrichment and enhancement as the driving force.In one case, the leader may promise certain benefits in exchange for support and in the othercase, the leader would empower his followers to take up leadership positions in future and be apart of solution providers. This is exactly what each district governor would be expected to do.The strength of a leader in an organization like ours is not determined by the number offollowers he has, rather the number of leaders he creates. The governor would fosterdevelopment of a learning environment wherein the vice district governors feel comfortable asEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 32
  33. 33. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivethey prepare for future leadership, and at the same time the next level of leadership too beginsto blossom through opportunities of service and knowledge enhancement by attending variousinstitutes and similar programs.It is a difference of spirit. The essential difference is in the quality of leadership. TheTransactional Leader is obsessed with the adinistrative details - the nuts and bolts, theprocedures. The Transformational Leader is also concerned with the details and theprocedures, but more important, he looks at the purpose of the project - inspires, ignites themembers to thcause - so that people are driven inspite of themselves. They set aside the pettywrangling and their day to day preoccupations in order to be associated with something greaterthan themselves. When the transformation leader is at work, people do something becausethey are committed and feel elevated by their actions.Lions are the trustees of future generations in their own communities and their countries. Somuch of public resources are placed in their hands, more specifically, the time hours that arecommitted to any district governor by the commited bunch of lions that compose the districtcabinet and are elected as club officers are tremendous. Ever try estimating this, the results willbe mind boggling. Then, the funds and public infrastructure that is also entrusted in their handsis no mean matter. Have we not seen the highest of civic officers and community leadersdeeming it a privilege to address lions conventions? The Heads of states across the world meetour lions officers, the Pope always grants audience to our President os the Association and thecelebration of Lions day at the UN is a salutation by the highest placed individuals for what lionscontinue to do. This legacy can be maintained and grown further only if we understand ourtrusteeship role, a fact that we are answerable by the ethical spirit of fraternal living to ourstake-holders which includes the government agencies, people in general, or donors andsupporters and the beneficiaries of our programs. We need no legal provision to be transparentin our conduct that is the minimum price any organization has to pay to be sustainable intoday’s world.We have all seen great projects bedeviled by crises. Fund shortages, government permissions,lackluster field force, poor planning. The great leaders pre-empt problems. They anticipateEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 33
  34. 34. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivedifficulties; they inoculate members against falling motivation. Time spent in anticipatingproblems, before they appear, is an investment in success. For your project juggernaut to rollout smoothly, road blocks must be spotted and avoided, side-stepped or removed, so that themomentum continues unabated. Your job is to spot the blocks and to prepare people forcontingencies, otherwise they get dispirited and down. The trend analysis provided by LCIregarding membership development and club health assessment reports need to be studied toanticipate any impending challenges. A leader is not one who solves problems when they arise,he should be prepared with solutions even before they raise their heads. As the average life-span of citizens is going up across the world, handling the senior citizens and their healthrelated issues is naturally going to be a concern. How many of our districts are getting preparedfor this? As mobility of human beings increases with the world becoming a playing field for thenew generation, how long can we expect that lions will continue their membership in the sameclub for 30 or 40 years? Are we prepared to meet this situation? As associations like ours arejoining hands with global bodies to assume projects that may have been inconceivable even afew years ago, how many of our districts are gearing up for such corporate partnerships wherethe impact will not be marginal, rather monumental? If we rae not doing this, then what kind oftrustees are we for the legacy of our movement? We had struck a chord with the realities andexpectations of early, mid and late twentieth century; but now the socio-economic dynamicsare different. How do our plans match the community needs today? We will definitely find aplace in the grand museum of human civilization; our contributions can never be denied. Butwhat is debatable and challenging is: Will we be there as a curator of the museum or a museumpiece?But, to anticipate problems, one must have great practice-adaptability to change. We live in anera of constant and turbulent change. Todays youngster grows up with MTV, AXN, Cell Phones,Internet and SMS. For many of us, even computers and e-mail are wonders. For this generation,space travel holds no great excitement. To a credit card and ATM generation, change is the onlyconstant. While we plan each year’s activities, continuity is a must but that does not mean thatwas done in the earlier years automatically finds a place in the current year’s curriculum aswell. It has to be validated by the needs to today and tomorrow; its inclusion is not justified byEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 34
  35. 35. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivereference to needs of yesterday. That will mean we are not being cautious and vigilant as atrustee with the resources that are placed in our hands. Many programs that had undoubtedvalue some years ago may have become redundant today. Just because something has been acontinued success is all the more reason to evaluate whether it is time to move on. Thegreatest example in this relation is the way our Sight First program has developed. The figuresfor millions of surgeries have come from the activities conducted in make shift operationtheatres in parts of Asia and Africs, But over the lastr decade, as per advice from WHO all suchsurgeries have been phased out with the development of base hospitals. Now even the basehospitals are being encouraged to move ahead from cataract treatment primarily to the morechallenging fields of diabetic retinopathy and child ophthalmology. This does not mean thatwhat we did earlier was not correct, but that there is a time for everything. We need to growour program for it be sustainably effective and produce the kind of results that will make ourassociation stand out as a leading fighter for restoration of sight. Support from Sight First isexpected to be available for social enterprises that bring greater stability to the lives of thesight impaired by making them more employable and assisting them to stand on their own feetand be positively integrated into the mainstream of society. This may be far removed from justphysical treatment of blindness, but the new position papers of Sight First contain reference tosuch funding that may be available. As a rule, our Foundation (LCIF) does not provide support inresponse to man made disasters, only natural disasters. But in case of 26/11, it is only naturaland rightfully so that exceptions were made. Thje extent of loss and the enormity of thesituation demanded that the Foundation takes a call, and it did. Trustees act today based on theexperiences of the past, but make investments that are justified for future on a scale of inter-generational equity. Every application of resource today must be evaluated in terms of thereturns it will give tomorrow; and what the ground realities tomorrow will be can be anyone’sguess; the only thing certain is that it will be far removed from what the realities today are,Thus the trusteeship function demands leadership to pierce through the fog of the present,assisted by the vision of tomorrow. Our clubs and their projects must exist not only today butfor many more years, perhaps many decades. The leadership at club level will need motivationand vision that must come from the slightly more experienced.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 35
  36. 36. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveRe-examine your values and attitudes. How relevant are they to the dynamics of today? If theyare not, if you are not with it, then you are Jurassic. And we all know what happened to thedinosaur. Todays value systems no longer revere mere age or designation. To motivateyoungsters, the vision should have meaning for them. This generation will join our associationonly if it finds that the returns on investment justify their decision. The biggest and costliestresource they bring is man-hours. This is a generation that demands to be paid not in terms ofmonthly salaries alone, but with reference to hourly inputs. They may have no time for ourlengthy systems and protocols; they may like to see the ambience more informal. At least wehave had one president who invited his board to meetings without the famous black suits andties, thank God. But that is not the only thing. Look at the way the organizations have beencreated today, fluid in hierarchy and purely driven by the desire to make life more meaningfulfor its associates and for its customers. What are we doing to make our clubs more womenfriendly and youth friendly? Are we expecting them to come and learn the ways of runningclubs from us? Or are we just wanting them to learn our values and then teach us how thesame should be applied for best results today? I feel the latter is not the best, but perhaps theonly option. Are we prepared? If not, then no matter how much we profess to love and admireour lions clubs, were not promoting their future existence and prosperity. As a districtgovernor, it may be a good idea to demonstrate modern ideas without only lecturing around.The lesson of technological upgradation can be better taught if the governor uses the mode ofvideo conferencing either to personally address the lions from a distance or invite a top leaderto speak to a convention from maybe thousands of miles away. The lions are always ready toaccept the process of change, but they must see the actual demonstrations and successmodels, not be merely lectured in that context.The greatest leaders of today - the Jack Welch of General Electric, Ratan Tata, Aditya Birla - arealways scanning their horizons with the intention of picking out, from mountains of ore, thenuggets of gold - the performers. Find them in your environment, identify them, publicize themand you will set performance standards to which others will aspire and rise. People will altertheir behaviour towards those things that are rewarded. In Management, this is known asEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 36
  37. 37. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectivePositive Reinforcement. So, find the leaders in your district. Each time they do well, publiclycompliment them.Perhaps the most frequent explanation for mediocrity and nonperformance is the statement "Ididnt know". Informed members are active members. Informed members are involvedmembers. Our perennial problem in the Lions movement is the "dropouts." One significantreason for dropouts is the fact that involvement is low. Involvement is directly linked tocommunication - multi-directional communication.One of Tata Steels secrets of resounding success is the frequent "dialogue" session, where upto500 officers meet with top management for informal information exchange. “Verticle slice”communication with associates from all levels-executive officers speaking to the LCI staff at OakBrook is just one example. Everyone is encouraged to speak up and express his / or her viewswithout fear or favour. Important issues raised are noted and acted on quickly. Have we notheard of whistle blowers in the corporate world? This is the NGO face of similar whistleblowers. This has made the exercise worthwhile in peoples eyes and not merely an "adda" (anempty discussion).So, encourage frequent meetings among members with Club and District leaders. Let there bedialogues, not monologue lectures from leaders alone.But watch out for a big pitfall. While we have been discussing the nuts and bolts of leadership,there is a danger that you miss the big picture. Our eye for detail must never hide the bigpicture - the vision.Some District Governors lose most of their vital year in meetings and conferences. They areimportant only to the extent that they resolve issues, highlight actions and control events. Sothe wise District Governor balances the need to meet with the need to act; the need tomotivate with the need to control; the need to inspire with the need to perform. Quite franklyspeaking, district governorship is sometimes management oriented and sometimes leadershiporiented. Its called turn-coats, but that is the level of adaptability that is expected.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 37
  38. 38. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveBoth, the Association and its members, are reciprocally accountable. One for producing theresults the members want, and the other for their self-supervised performance. One of theimportant features of professionalism is the ability to deliver more than what was promised, todo so in time and even unsupervised. No one should be peeping over the shoulder of any leaderin action. Why only the district governor or vice district governors, even the zone and regionchairpersons or district chairpersons, or club officers must all be responsible for themselves,That is the kind of integrity that is expected of any professional, one who has the attitude towalk the talk.As trustee leader, your first task is to create a wide influence network. Being humble is adiscipline for leadership. If your vision is great and powerful, then the nuts and bolts tend totake care of themselves. There will always be blocks and setbacks. It is your constancy that willgive your people the spirit.Another important area to watch is succession. Who are the up and coming leaders? Create amulti faceted communication environment where no one feels left out, or uniformed and non-participative.There is the risk that meetings and conferences consume most of your previous year. Keep themeetings to the minimum, and miserly in time. Is it compulsory that all officers speak at everymeeting? Have you seen the 2nd international vice president speak at internationalconventions’ opening or closing sessions? You have not been elected to hold meetings andconferences only. They are the only tools to help you achieve your vision. Some DistrictGovernors get excited about elaborate meetings and conferences, without realizing that suchencounters may be good for communication and involvement but meetings dont generateconcrete results on the ground. *******Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 38
  39. 39. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveLaunch the ship and then steer itWhenever one sets out on an ambitious mission, the initial enthusiasms starts to wane after awhile. The wise leader knows when to refuel his team. He also knows that, facing the truthtoday will avert a bleak tomorrow. So, plan to keep the enthusiasms fire burning brightly. Do itby leading and by congratulating every achievement.And, the biggest danger is if you wear ego-coloured glasses to look into the future. You areobviously fond of your own plans and projects. But be objective and change it, if necessary. Andensure that the ownership of the project is shared by every team member. The projects shouldbe owned by all involved. Free India is not just Gandhi. It is our collective and individualtreasure.In fact, launching a great ship is only part of the job. Once it is launched, the ship needs bothpower to move and direction to steer. You, as the captain, have to continuously "read" the tideand the storm, changing neatly and quickly to adapt your vessel to its environment. As Chief ofthe district, you always strive to adapt, keeping the voyage in. mind lire-presenting" as often asnecessary and responding to the winds of change. The District is large and populated. As yourespond to reality, keep others informed / involved.One way of "response-ability" is to review with the core members frequently and objectivelyhow far the plans are succeeding, what is blocking them and what needs to be done, and howto get it done. These reviews are fact-finding, not fault-finding, so the spirit has always to be"how do we cross this obstacle?"When the great Crusades of the Middle Ages took place, European knights repeatedly tried totake control of Jerusalem from the Arabs. Great wars were fought. The Europeans used swordscalled "sabres", which were big, and heavy, and strong - could split a rock. The Arabs foughtwith fine, light, extremely sharp and flexible swords of the famous Damascene steel. Theirchallenge to the Europeans was always, .See if your sabre can cut this soft silk pillow". It couldnot. A leader has to have not only the strength and courage to preserve, but the ability toadapt, to review, reconsider and change. Neither extreme is of much use - too stiff to changeEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 39
  40. 40. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectiveand too flexible to prevail. You should be known not only for the strength of yourcommitments, but also for your accessibility to opinion and criticism.And while events unfold and, perhaps, dazzle the teams, the leader must always be scanningthe further horizons, anticipating well beyond the immediate. It is said that Alexandersgreatness lay not only in seeing the far frontiers that were yet to be conquered, but also in hisuncanny ability to inspire his legions whose vision was limited and to repeatedly re-inspire tiringtroops.The lesson for us is crystal clear. While steadfastly keeping our long term goals clear in ourminds, we also have to charge and recharge the team towards bashing on regardless.In this brief chapter, we have looked at sets of so-called contradictions.Keep the initial enthusiasms from dying out. Initiate projects but let others own them. Reactswiftly to change but ensure others are aware. Review progress frequently, but as a wellwisher, not an auditor.Show constancy and strength, but coupled with being available and willing to change. *******Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 40
  41. 41. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveWalking The Tight RopeThe Wallers were a famous family of high-wire walkers. They frequently walked on a single wirestrung between the 60th floors of two buildings. They even walked on a wire high above theNiagara Falls.The tight rope that you must walk is the constant balancing act between all the stake-holders ofthe district. There will always be views, divergent, contradictory and conflicting between PastDistrict Governors, Past International Directors, local administration, well-wishers and donors.Your tact, diplomacy and the ability to lubricate the friction points will be fully tested. There isno doubt that you are the recognized leader, but the leader of a group of proud, intelligent andoutspoken volunteers.So, how will I learn to walk on this tight rope, where conflicting forces are pulling me indifferent directions?Some lessons are waiting to be learnt from history. It is said that "those who dont learn fromthe past are destined to repeat it." But the past and the present are not the same, and thefuture is even more different. What worked once may not apply today. Or, it may need to bealtered to suit todays issues. And all of this cannot be a rule-bound guide book to the future.The only truth which time cannot rust is that the leader is responsible for the results, thoughnot in control of the conditions. The clubs are independent identities, and yet the districtgovernor must assume responsibility for the service activity levels and administration issues inthe entire district. When you are pulled and pushed in different directions, what should you do?First, be sure in your mind what you think is the right thing to do. Second give each counselor /critic a patient hearing before explaining your viewpoint. If the situation is intransigent- peopleare sticking to their points and not willing to change, then diffuse the tension by appointing acommittee to go into the situation and submit a recommendation. Distance yourself from thecommittee so that it is seen to be objective, and your acceptance of the recommendation is notautomatic. Not only must the district governor be fair, but also appear to be fair.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 41
  42. 42. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveDuring World War II, the Allies initially suffered grievous losses against the German Desert Fox,Rommel. He used Shivajis famous tactics of moving fast and killing the enemy in differentplaces, so that they just could not regroup and fight a set piece battle. Then came the BritishGeneral Montgomery. After carefully studying the situation, he realized that, against suchguerrilla tactics, something dramatically different needed to be done. So, instead of facingthese random attacks, he concentrated on hitting Rommels base depot which maintained andsupplied his vehicles. We call this situational leadership - improvising, innovating your responseto your unique situations.The end point of your year as District Governors is, and will always be, "what was achieved"?Has our membership grown, is the member "stickiness" more? What projects have beencommissioned? All gold medals and trophies are given at the end of the race, neither before,nor during. The price of applause is accountability. And every recognition must be rightfullyearned. I would rather deserve a medal and not have it, than have it and not deserve it. Meansto success are very important in an organization like ours. Even when membership is growing,what is equally important is to check that such growth is sustained. Attrition rate has been acause of concern to us for long and every district governor needs to be careful. Yet that is noexcuse for not producibg growth by saying that more stress ois being laid on quality control andhence the speed of induction is slow. We have to recognize the challenge: loss of membershipwill always be there due to death, transfers, ill health, economic issues and the like. Hence, theprocess of inducting new members and extending new clubs must always continue, of coursewith all associated controls. It must always be remembered that we are a service organizationand that more clubs and members will mean greater resources and opportunities to serve.Naturally this would also mean that the members and new clubs are doctrinated into serviceculture of our association; anything without this is redundant and baseless.Some of historys greatest leaders were faced with innumerable barricades. Often they had toseek others permissions to proceed. One option many used was to go ahead and do it, andretrospectively, seek forgiveness, rather than to sit and wait for the green light. So everything ispossible. Unless you have been explicitly forbidden to do it, do it and say sorry laterEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 42

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