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  • 1. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveForewordWorking in lions clubs and districts offers a rare opportunity to sharpen skills that belong tothe realm of management and leadership. Although the vision of non-profit and nongovernment organizations is pretty different from that of for-profit ones, the basic businessmodels remain the same, albeit with some adaptations and adjustments. More specifically,the concepts of innovation and drive for excellence, group dynamics and working in teams,planning and execution, feedback and evaluation, and the like remain the same. These areissues which have differing perspectives for varying situations, and also depend on thepersons involved in each case. But learning from each other, from success and challengesalike, has become the life line of our times. As we deal with thousands of members in eachdistrict, and since we also influence allocation of various community resources and utilizeman-hours that may have an astronomical valuation, it becomes even more important tokeep this process of conversations within ourselves stronger.The various issues dealt with in this compilation of personal views and experiences are like abeginning of a story. I would urge you to share your spontaneous feedback and comments onany topic that you may desire. It will give us the opportunity to further make revisions andexpand the scope of discussions included here.Although I have had the good fortune of inter acting with lion leaders from across the world,and that has continually changed my personal lens through which I view the contribution thatwe make (or have the potential to make) in our communities, I have no hesitation in statingthat it has been an experience of transformation for me. I believe that this process will go onso long as engagement in our activities continues. Change is a constant that we must accept.I must also state that the comments and strategies suggested in some sections are mypersonal observations and deductions. Although I have bounced these ideas with a number ofmy colleagues, you may still have your viewpoints which may be at variance with what isincluded here. And that’s a welcome feature. Write back, it will give us another chance torelook, review and improve.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 1
  • 2. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveContentsWhy Governorship? ................................................................................................................................... 3Whose Governor are you? ....................................................................................................................... 10Financial Discipline ................................................................................................................................... 16What is leadership? ................................................................................................................................. 18The Popular District Governor ................................................................................................................. 23Competent Governorship ........................................................................................................................ 28Your role as a trustee for tomorrow ........................................................................................................ 33Launch the ship and then steer it ............................................................................................................ 41Walking The Tight Rope ........................................................................................................................... 43From The Atom To The Atom Bomb ........................................................................................................ 48They Want To Be Heard ........................................................................................................................... 51What Will You Achieve? ........................................................................................................................... 54Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 2
  • 3. 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 thematters of framing of policies and execution thereof for a particular year. The person is givendue honour and recognition from the clubs of the district and the leadership of theAssociation. But there is a price for leadership-there is nothing called a free lunch. If you wantto enjoy the glory that is generally associated with the office of a district governor, you mustbe prepared to make the sacrifices. A governor’s views and opinions always matter, and areoften sought by the Association. However before the person reaches this position, he or shemust ensure that one possesses the kind of experience and exposure that must be a pre-requisite for making studied and sustainable decisions. One must have the ability to weigh alloptions, accept criticism with an open mind, offer oneself for scrutiny despite what we maybelieve to be successful completion of initiatives, and most importantly encourage contrarianviews to develop. A leader is essentially a facilitator, one who is responsible for developing anenvironment where the members could contribute their best. One must realize that progresshas come often from designs that emerge from diametrically opposing viewpoints ascompared to the generally accepted trends. One needs to balance between what is thecurrent stand point and what demands of the future are. Leaders in lionism are trustees ofthe future generations in their own communities and countries. He, in fact, becomes anofficer of the Lions Clubs International to implement the plans and projects, for whichdecisions may have been made.Every leader with potential in the District aspires to become District Governor one day. This isa praise-worthy ambition provided the candidates motives are clear at least to him or her.Since this is a high office in the Lions set-up and carries both an enormous amount of dignityplus onerous 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 evenEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 3
  • 4. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivefeel that you could be more effective than the present or past incumbent; or you may bepowered 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 dynamicschange so rapidly as you occupy or even prepare to occupy that office. The vision shifts from apersonal perspective 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 whatyour "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 theduties and responsibilities of the District Governor which are clearly laid out in the DistrictGovernor’s Manual. They include the ceremonial installation (of club officials, creation of thecabinet, creating project teams, managing funds, membership acquisition and retentionmeasures, 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 andwhat others expect from you in that position. The difference between job and role can easilybecome clear, if we take an example. The job entails the minimum standards without whichyou cannot be allowed entry at this level, the role sets the bench-mark for leaving a legacy.The role come more from the heart, even the soul. It leaves impressions that time cannoteasily erase. If not realized, it is bound to cause aches in the deepest corners of your heart inthe years to follow-what some may like to call the prolonged pangs of conscience emanatingfrom the regrets associated with losing major opportunities. If properly realized, it is thisEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 4
  • 5. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivefeeling only that remains within each person’s mental and spiritual realm as it would forever“flash upon the inward eye, which is the bliss of solitude”.We could take the classic example of Florence Nightingale. She joined the Services to servethe wounded in times of war. Gradually, she redefined the concept of nursing. That was, infact, a stage where she developed her role. Today, she stands out as a role model for everynurse in the world. Defining moments in life are those when one leaves a mark on the sandsof time. One does not have to a Florence Nightingale or a Mother Teresa, but one candefinitely be an individual who has lived a life of purpose, and occupied the public office of adistrict governor with a head held high, and a spirit soaring even higher. There must be atleast some impact that such person ought to make, beyond making annual visits to the clubsand 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 retainthe loyalty of the investors (our members). Each member must have a life enrichmentexperience, and the district governor is like a gardener who must ensure that plants in thegarden continue to flourish; the gardener gives out no good fragrance-it is the flowers that doso; but the gardener must maintain the quality of the soil and the water levels, and adequateand just enough sunshine for the flowers to bloom; similarly, the great experiences will comefrom within the clubs, but the district governor must maintain and sustain the momentumand direction of the association.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 5
  • 6. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveSo, 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 districtgovernors almost half way though this office, who are still not certain what their prioritiesare. They confuse statutory duties with the purpose of life. How could I explain to them that itis important to breathe if we are to remain alive, but do we remain alive just to breathe? Theyare the ones who would regard reproduction as the purpose of marriage, not understandingthat it is only the fruit of a much more purposeful communion.The story of leadership essentially never ends with the conclusion of Governorship. For therest of his life, the person continues to be the Past District Governor of his / her district. As aPast District Governor, it is definitely the duty of each individual to continue to work for theplans of the Association at various levels where he is placed, and the quantum of respect thatthe person would command as a Past District Governor would, to a large extent, depend onthe quality of the leadership that the person portrays during his year of Governorship. Hence,one single year of Governorship would determine the image of a Past District Governor to alarge extent for many years to come. Does one really have to help you to take a brief momentand try to remember each great district governor that your district had? Do you re-countevery PDG in that category? If not, why? Each one of them had similar emotions and thedesire to be a successful DG when they got elected; each one had worked that hard, even runaround asking for support to be elected in those parts of the world where the elections arefiercely fought; then what went wrong that you do not include them in the category of suchgovernors who made 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 haveEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 6
  • 7. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivea set 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 tolead the clubs to where they want to go, or where they ought to go? Do you allow yourself tounderstand that you are driven by the circumstances that exist in your district, or whetheryou are responsible for the way things are at present? Are you ready to accept status quo as aprice for comfortable leadership, or do you believe that leaders must always reside in thezone of constructive demolition? Actually the choice is simple: You will definitely enter themuseum of lionism, but whether as a curator of that museum or an exhibit to be placed onone of the shelves 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 PDGsof the 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 suchwhose bodies are alive while the soul is dead. This is usually because we see the office of theDistrict Governor as a destination, and not as a high point in an ongoing journey of service. Ifyou have a Master Plan for your year as Governor, that should continue in the forthcomingyears as Past District Governor, and should be a shining beacon of inspiration to yoursuccessors to the post of District Governor. Remember that the "4-minute-mile" in athleticsused to be seen as an impossible target. Then Roger Bannister of UK broke the barrier. Afterthat event, breaking the four-minute-mile is standard. It is being achieved at all internationaland even in some national meets all the time. So the fire that ignited your drive to this highoffice should burn undiminished during your year as governor, and throughout all your futureyears as Past District Governor, shedding bright light to inspire generations of future Lions. Sothe allied question that should arise in your mind as you design your master plan is "How canI be, not just a District Governor, not just a good District Governor, but a great DistrictEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 7
  • 8. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveGovernor, a memorable District Governor, whose year as District Governor will illuminate thelegends of the Lions International?You will, of course, attend the pre-District Governor training and orientation programme.They will 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 differencebetween the adequate, the good and the great governorship.The difference between the average and the outstanding governor is usually in the passionthat the latter brings. The average governor "manages" the job - the "nuts & bolts", and thedaily routines. He may even enhance some practices and introduce something new. As herises above the average, he develops strategies, integrating changes and making connections,and finally raises his peoples capabilities to move the district forward effectively, not just forthis year 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,the candidate undergoes a long and strenuous novitiate. The priest has to be celibate andmust take the triple vow of poverty, chastity and obedience. Because the decision is soonerous, during the first few years the candidate is encouraged to examine, re-examine, andtest his motives.A very similar exercise has to be undertaken by the candidate for governorship. What drivesme in this quest? If I am elected, what will my contribution be? When I become Past DistrictEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 8
  • 9. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveGovernor, will I look back on a stupendous year of achievement? Will the promise that firedmy ascent to the post be fulfilled when I actually have the post?If 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 9
  • 10. 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 theprotocol that has been established so strongly. Hence, when an individual becomes a districtgovernor, that person automatically assumes the highest office in the district hierarchy and isgiven adequate respect. But there is a subtle, and rather important, difference betweenrespect that is demanded and that is earned. The former may be a result of the badge that anindividual wears for a period of one year; the latter is what comes from the hearts of themembers who develop a rapport with their leader and wish to show respect for the sacrificesthat the person may be making in leading the district. Even further, as they say, “The world isbecoming flat.” The concept of rigid hierarchy is outdated and all modern associations have tobe hyper-linked. There has to be direct connectivity between constituents of the organizationirrespective of the offices they occupy, and that has to be accompanied by transparency andinformality. Information flow is the life line in the modern world in any set up like ours, andinformation can never ever be elite commodity as it was in the past. It will rather beinterpretation of the available information that will distinguish the visionary and effectiveleaders from the common lot.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 butalso has a highly visible style throughout the District. Any pronouncement or instruction,whether on policy, programme or practice, uttered by anyone, is assumed to have the explicitand prior consent of the Governor. He is the fountainhead, the focal point of every project,programme and function of the District. In other words, though you have many advisors, theresponsibility is yours, and yours alone. Do not regard this even for a moment that any districtgovernor has dictatorial powers. That can never be the truth. Rather, each DG is required toEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 10
  • 11. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivebe able to build opinion behind ideas that are important to the success of the plans of theorganization. In doing so, many formal and informal meetings may be required to be set up,and even various diametrically opposite views may have to be considered. The ability to keepone’s cool even when opposition surfaces to what one considers primarily crucial to thesuccess of certain initiatives will be the hallmark of a good leader. It is in listening and beingable to appreciate diverse views that the seeds of a sound decision are sown. The governorshould never allow oneself to be disconnected with the ground realities, as that wouldamount to snapping of “leadership” lifeline. Yet, the announcements that are made need tobe coming from the district governor, that is what is meant by being in command of thesituation.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 regularquota of “trash” criticism which needs to be just dumped; but there is also a third variety thatis genuine. It is this kind of criticism that promotes and prompts ideas and visions for thefuture; it is this criticism that is the mother of true introspection. And as for advice andcounsel that is always available, the district governor needs to differentiate between what issound advice and what is straight forward sycophancy that can be fatal for the leader and theorganization.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 creativeEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 11
  • 12. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivechanges and paths for the future. The price paid for disregarding them or shutting them upmay be too heavy. But is always dependent upon the leader to be tackle such situations.Why 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 plansand programs of the governor alone. If as a DG, you cannot make them buy into your ideas,and rather cause the emergence of roadmaps and compasses that are born out of jointdiscussions and deliberations, it will be difficult to retain the enthusiasm level of the cabinetofficers through the year.This implies that you see a vision for the District and then convince others of its viability, sothat you provide the goal, the direction and energy. You remain open to include, delete andalter plans 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 whatthey ought to be, and help them to become what they are capable of being." But the successor failure will still be of the leader. "An army of sheep led by a lion would defeat an army oflions led by a sheep." First believe in yourself and in the principles that guide you; put them toEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 12
  • 13. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivetest to check on their contemporary validity; believe in the power of the organization; believein the strengths of your team; and only then lead them into believing and realizing theirindividual strengths to the maximum.Lets 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 thatcase even communication with the appointees may be indirect. This is an organizationalreality. Along the long and twisting road to Governorship, you had to enter into alliances, takehelp from people and perhaps, promise them high office. This can never be justified, but attimes it may 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, youmust probe their motivation to find that trigger which can, and will, make them productivemembers. If you dont, they will be on your liabilities list, and your Governorship will suffer.The ideal interaction 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-going task. If it is there, then the horsepower of the co-leaders will be focused; otherwise, itwill get dissipated and lost. Obviously, the very first requirement is in very clear, progressiveand challenging plans, programmes, policies and the road map for your year of governorshipand beyond. Individuals who are nominated to the cabinets and do not appreciate any rolethey could play will most probably not even be found in the cabinet meetings through theyear. They may well become a demotivating force for those who are there for a larger andconstructive purpose.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 13
  • 14. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveOf course, as intelligent people, your team will have disagreements, diverse points of viewand, occasionally, criticism. It is a sign of great leadership to ensure diversity of viewpointsduring discussions and plans, moving towards needle-point focus in execution and follow-up.Above all, be politically realistic, leading a coalition, if not a massive mandate. You may haveto accommodate people not committed to your cause, but politically important.Sometimes, fatigue and pre-occupation makes availability less. 3,000 horsemen of theMoghul Army lay exhausted on the banks of Sabarmati. The soldiers had traversed 960 Km ofdifficult terrain in 9 days. The rebels lay beyond the swollen river. Suddenly, a warrior chargedinto the torrent - it was the emperor Jalal-ud-din Akbar - with a roar! The soldiers followedhim and, within 2 days, suppressed the rebellion. (Extracted from "Inspiring people: Fifty whomade a difference~ A Readers Digest Selection).How will you lead? Emotional Intelligence is a fairly new discovery. Until recently, we onlyknew I.Q. (Intelligence Quotient). Now we talk of E.I. (Emotional Intelligence), which consistsof knowing 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 isa challenge 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 andis logical 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.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 14
  • 15. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveYour 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".Other 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 anactivist leader.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, whatyou need 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 youresults.(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 15
  • 16. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveFinancial DisciplineDuring your term, large sums of money may flow in and out: Grants-in-aid, Donations, &Ticket Sales. The projects, both old and new, could swallow funds. Ensuring strictaccountability and complete transparency in all transactions should be the hallmark of yourGovernorship. Nothing besmirches a crystal reputation like ugly allegations of financial irregu-larity.Funds cannot be raised in panic or against exigencies. People are always willing to fundlonger-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.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 16
  • 17. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveIf 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, anda manipulator. The ideal is to be politically aware and ethical- though wise and credible. *******Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 17
  • 18. 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 againstEngland with a leg injury. He scored a century without asking for a runner, though he limpedthrough his innings. While fielding, he spent the whole day without a substitute. This type ofleadership prompted his teammates to remark that they would run through a brick: wall for .aleader like Steve. This is leadership by example. More recently, Mahinder Singh Dhonidemonstrated leadership by example in the finals of the world cup against Sri Lanka. He wasready to expose himself to the most critical situation when he could have easily held himselfback in the batting line up; rather he promoted himself in the batting order even above Yuvrajwho was in the running for the Man of the series award. This way he showed that there is noway out except to assume 100% responsibility.Nelson Mandela recalled a lesson he had learned as a boy. "When you want a herd to move ina certain 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 encouragethose of 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? said that Indian Cricket Coach helped Virender Sehwag reach his full potential. He used toEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 18
  • 19. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivemake 40 - 50 runs in quick time and chuck his wicket. He would still get cheered. Wright satwith him one 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 particularlythe young 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 aninterview with JRD Tata. "Of course, Sir, you believe in excellence". JRD retorted sharply, "Notexcellence. Perfection. You aim for perfection, you will attain excellence. If you aim forexcellence, you will go lower." So if you aim always for the highest level to be achieved, theactual will be well above average.And how will you lead? "To lead, people walk beside. Then…..As for the best leaders, peopledo not notice their existence. The next best, the people honor and praise. The next, thepeople fear; and the next, the people hate. When the best leaders work is done, the peoplesay, We did it ourselves" - Lao-Tzu, Chinese Philosopher. All followers need to feel that youare always with them. Not taking the credit, but giving them the credit. This way, they willfeel they own the task. This is also the way you build potential leaders. If you handle everyinitiative, then you will 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 ofDirectors. They unanimously approved it. He promptly adjourned the meeting saying "ifeverybody agrees there must be something wrong with the plan." Encourage opinion,particularly dissent. You must have the ability to listen to contradiction and arguments tomove towards the best course of action. Remember that unanimous approval may mean thatnobody has scrutinized the proposal, or that all are trying to please you instead of studyingthe course of action. So encourage contrarian views and such arguments. That way, everyidea is examined before acceptance. In all meetings of lions clubs, we seem to havedeveloped a special kind of liking for unanimous views. Sometimes we take pride in sayingthat all decisions taken during a particular year were unanimous. More important thanEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 19
  • 20. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectiveunanimity is unity. The discussions should be frank and candid. Each participant should beencouraged to speak out one’s mind, even the most revolutionary and imaginative ideas.Once that is done, we will succeed in creating ownership of decisions. Otherwise people maykeep quiet during the meetings but their commitment to the decisions taken will bequestionable.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 everyperson could be invoked to awaken; on Mandela with no prejudices or pre-judgments, onewho believed in building South Africa as a safe nation for its citizens irrespective of the colorof the individuals even after such long stints behind bars. Or initiate relationships likeVajpayee; radiate wisdom like the Buddha, or be flexible and willing to change like Gorbachevfor who can forget the challenge he faced when he introduced the radical changes thatdramatically brought down the iron curtain. These are all leaders who provide us models. Foreach situation a different model may be appropriate.It is a common phenomenon that the whole district is dependent on you. That real test iswhen you mature your members from dependence to independence and finally to inter-dependence. This means, initially, people depend on you. Gradually they may findindependence. But the highest level is when they realize how much they need others andothers 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 ofperformance far exceed what may even have been thought of.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 20
  • 21. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveYour 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 thecommunity, the risk is the despot or tyrant. If there is value and purpose, and also vision andstrategy, but no degree- of community involvement, the risk of anarchy is high. If value andpurpose... vision and strategy, and the community, all are taken together, performance canresult.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 reactionthat may 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 influenceEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 21
  • 22. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectiveevery activity and each individual. We never get to see these fields, but we know that theyexist and that every planned initiative needs to be validated as per their properties.Even before you take office, you will become aware that there a thousand issues - sometrivial, some routine, that need your time and attention. How you will rise beyondadministering to transformation will test your abilities.Communication is the life blood of a Non-Government / Non-Profit Organization. Whenpeople dont know what is happening, why it is happening, when and where - the usual fall-out is speculation, rumor and lack of involvement. This can lead to alienation and evenhostility. You must encourage free and frank information-flow, whether pleasant orunpleasant. Transparency is not an option anymore; that is the only way organizations workand survive today. At one point of time, information was elite commodity; today it is availableat the click of a mouse; and in this scenario, it is interpretation of information that is morecritical.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 22
  • 23. 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 backon the 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 firstgroup. There is much less competition." So dont use your year as District Governor to seekapplause - 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. Duringthe year, 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,the concerned person has to take a call. The rightful decision may temporarily annoy anindividual but will definitely benefit the association. I have seen important changes in longterm appointments, at times the best performers being removed on flimsy grounds just tosend out politically strong messages. This kind of a strategy may work out in the short ormedium term, but in the long run it only helps in institutionalizing mediocrity as anorganisation’s culture. The moment this process starts, be prepared to accept average resultsand decline of reputation as a top class association.Stop worrying whether people like you or appreciate you. Your work is your best spokesman.In the game of cricket, let the bat do the talking, or as they say, let the bottom line speak foritself.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 23
  • 24. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveJim 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.”Selecting those who deserve power is a very important task for the District Governor. Hebegins to plan his key people even before taking office. To achieve, in the limited period of ayear, his chosen few need to be empowered. If all are empowered, few will perform. Somewill be enamored of the post and the status at the cost of effectiveness. Empower, empaneland endow only those who can and will deliver. Kiran Bedi once said, " I like to be on the shopfloor to understand what is going on. This drives the enthusiasm." Picking your key peoplewell, and then giving them the trust and confidence to perform, may be the differencebetween success and failure. Although I have used the word “power” above, it may not be thebest choice. In an organization like ours where we believe that each individual is as importantas the other, power may be replaced by influence. A good leader should try and enhance hislevel of influence that will stay on for a long time. If one is wedded to an official position, thenthe respect for that individual vanishes as soon as the term of office is over. They say that asyou go up the ladder of hierarchy, keep smiling, shaking hands and winning over friends; ifyou have no time to invest in relational chemistry as you are going uo, no will have time foryou as you are coming down. I once met a lion leader who said that the real test of popularityfor a district governor is how many clubs want you among them 5 years after your term ofgovernorship is over. During the year of office, there will be many who will crowd around you;but you must have the ability to sense who is holding on to you as a person and who ishanging on to an officer in an official position.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 thatEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 24
  • 25. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivewould determine how 48,000 man-hours are invested. Can you value the worth of such alarge investment, where the persons concerned could be lawyers, engineers, businessmen,architects, scientists or just plain simple good human beings whose intrinsic valuation isbeyond mathematical calculations. A friend of mine once defined lions as “the trustees offuture generations in their countries”. What a great salutation for lions, and the leader of thedistrict must 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 portfoliocarefully against the candidate. It will never do to assign a key task to somebody only becausehe 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 approachaltogether. In cases like this, faith ina leader increases. But if a person is driven by pettyconsiderations and awards are made on extraneous considerations, the result is that thevalue of the award diminishes. Witness the number of distinguished Indians who havepolitely, but firmly, declined the Padmashri, Arjuna Award, etc., because they felt these wereindiscriminate or politically motivated in many cases. Quite sadly, I have witnessed highawards in our association being recommended for individuals who have hardly been seen atEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 25
  • 26. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivethe ground level and rubbing shoulders with the lions in programs and projects that are ouridentity.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 getstrung 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 moreclub level, local community driven projects, to create ownership and pride of. membership. Inother words, rather than organize spectacles, he goes to grass roots and makes clubs owntheir projects and develop a sense of pride in their membership.This chapter has given you some tips - sometimes appearing mutually contradictory.Achieving a judicious blend between loyalty and merit is a real challenge. But achieving thisblend is a must 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;particularly when 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,that will be recognized.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 26
  • 27. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspective A great deal of discretion is needed to differentiate between those you want toreward and those whom you have to reward. *******Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 27
  • 28. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveCompetent GovernorshipThe District Governor in our Association is the Chief Executive Officer for the District. It is nota ceremonial office. In his role, he has to meet the expectations of the stake-holders, LionsClubs International, members of the clubs in his district, elder lions, Past District Governors,his cabinet, donors and well-wishers. Further, the governor shall be assisted by othermembers of the 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 28
  • 29. 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 andseeking various approvals? And then the direct and indirect costs that have to be met mustalso be matched by appropriate fund raising and donations; that too is a mammoth task. Howcould all this be possible without the burning desire that alone be our guiding light as we walkthe roads of our association? You will find that every district has individuals who have neverbecome governors, nor do they have such an ambition. But they are at the fore front and mayeven be the primary person behind a program to which they are 100% committed. They servein that capacity without a badge or a medal of recognition. In fact, it is the glory of suchindividuals that we reflect on our head tables and reap the dividend of their labour as thecommunity recognizes 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 ofpeak performance. Executives, on the other hand, and District Governors included, dontpractice at all, but jump into fulltime performing. This is why, in our hierarchy, you wouldhave held other leadership posts before becoming District Governor. The introduction of theoffice of 2nd Vice District Governor was meant to provide a platform and time to prepare forthe year of governorship while continuing to assist the current year’s incumbent.High achievement is never static. As things change, what seemed like Everest becomes merelya hill. In early computer days, kilobytes were impressive. Now we have crossed megabytes,giga bytes, and are talking of terra bytes. So, as you progress during the year and beyond,needs will change, 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 29
  • 30. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectiveteach them. Those who know, but dont know that they know, they know they are asleep,wake them. And those who know, and know that they know; they are wise, follow them.”Making such choices may not be easy, that is the challenge of leadership. The years that anindividual spends as the 1st and 2nd Vice District Governor should ideally be utilized for this indof talent identification and human resource building. You may be amazed that we havetremendous talent available amongst our members but we may not be aware of them. Wehave often spoken of the power of networking in our association. It refers to establishingcontacts with those who are located in other parts of the world and also includes buildingrelationships who are existing in our own clubs but we are bliss out what they can do to fosterour aims and objects. We were planning to hold a snooker tournament for fund raising butalways felt the absence of a technical person to assist us in this regard. It was when the AsianGames were played that it came to our notice that the silver medal winner at these gameshappened to be a member of a club in Kolkata for past many years, but he had hardly beeninvolved in the programs at club or district level. Not many in his club even knew that hepossessed such talent. On yet another occasion when the board meeting of LCI was beingheld in New Delhi and the then president wanted a local civic leader to inaugurate theopening session, wefaced a tough challenge. This meeting was being put together in almostless than a month because it had been shifted to Delhi due to law and order disturbanceselsewhere. While we were brain storming to find some leads, a most unassuming lion in asemi-urban club of eastern India happened to visit my office in connection withsome issuesrelating to his club’s hospital that was undergoing expansion. When he overheard sometelephonic discussions, he chipped in with his possibility to help by asking the Speaker of theParliament of India to join us for the occasion. I wondered if he could really help, and then heinformed that Mr Chatterjee, the then Speaker and a brilliant parliamentarian for over 30years, was a member of his club and a regular donor to his club’s hospital project as well. Ittook only a day to have the chief guest tied up, who came in with a background knowledge ofour association and related wonderfully to our mission in his address.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 30
  • 31. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveAnother version is of unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, consciouscompetence and unconscious competence. What this means is that, through sheer practice,the great 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 aresmall, your accomplishments can never be big."And even a vision is hopeless if it is too early (Leonardo Da Vincis vision of Helicopters!), ortoo late. Shakespeare says it well: There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at theflood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows andmiseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves,or lose our venture". You have to strike when the iron is hot. Choose the occasions forannouncements, 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 cannotbe a critic, you are a performer. And people want, not promises, but performance from you -the bottom line. As a member, you must have heard others who prefer to observe, commentand criticize. As the on-field captain, you have no time to comment, only to perform. Yourteam, and all the clubs and members want to know, need to know where we are going? Howwill we reach there? How will we know that we have arrived? Are there milestones in ourjourney? Are there roadblocks, diversions, rough tracks? Leaders take people where theyought to go, not just 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 compassfor them to focus on the critical change areas. In today’s fast changing scenario, it may havebeen easier if a leaders job was just to provide directions to follow a road map; rather thechallenges are much more as they include tracing new paths based on the expertise of usingthe compass. Many of our destinations may be such as have never been planned earlier; theyEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 31
  • 32. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivemay be a new concept altogether. The compass here represents the validation on the scalesof the association’s code of ethics and statement of purposes. Each time we are confrontedwith a situation that calls for choices between alternatives (and that is the purpose ofleadership), let us remember that ultimately the quality of such decisions alone willdetermine the future of our association. How well is our research about our capacity toundertake the challenge that confronts us, what kind of involvement have we been able togenerate in the team, how prepared are our colleagues to unlearn and learn as the situationmay demand, what shall be the impact of any changes we wish to introduce, how are suchchanges viewed by the constituents, and so on, are some questions that must be answeredbefore any radical and long term policy decision is made.Are you a thermostat or a thermometer? One sets the temperature required. The othershows the temperature. The thermometer is passive. It merely states the temperature withno comment on whether it is too high or too low; nor will it advice on what can be doneabout the temperature. The thermostat sets the temperature limits, high or low, whensomething must happen. So, it is a more active participant. It is said that there are three typesof people. There are those who make things happen. There are others who watch thingshappen and, finally, there are those who wonder what happened. To which category do youbelong? Leaders make things 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 32
  • 33. 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 thanthe last. 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, butthe intelligent leader develops influence, and that is both a softer and stronger force. Howdoes one 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, theFather of the Nation began to sweep the glass and excrement. In a Non-Government / Non-Profit Organization, humility, and not ambition, is true greatness. Demonstrate true humilitywhile facing 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 33
  • 34. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivemay be the first among equals. But success comes by appreciating the leadership mantrastates, “Walk not ahead, as I may not be able to follow; walk not behind, as I may not be ableto show the way; walk beside me so that together we may serve as we lead, and lead as weserve.”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. Mostdistrict projects begin with a grand vision based on great enthusiasms, but rapidly dwindleinto low energy, low participation activities. Just think of the last eye surgery camp or blooddonation drive in developing nations, or a fund raising campaign in a developed part of theworld for rehabilitation projects in areas hit be natural disasters. How many members turnedup at the site regularly? How many brought friends and future Lions? How does the numbercompare with the turnout for a club picnic, and dinner get-togethers? This means thatfellowship takes precedence over service, or inclination for hands-on involvement is on thedecline. It may also mean 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 drivingforce. In one case, the leader may promise certain benefits in exchange for support and in theother case, the leader would empower his followers to take up leadership positions in futureand be a part of solution providers. This is exactly what each district governor would beexpected to do. The strength of a leader in an organization like ours is not determined by thenumber of followers he has, rather the number of leaders he creates. The governor wouldEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 34
  • 35. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivefoster development of a learning environment wherein the vice district governors feelcomfortable as they prepare for future leadership, and at the same time the next level ofleadership too begins to blossom through opportunities of service and knowledgeenhancement by attending various institutes 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 thepetty wrangling and their day to day preoccupations in order to be associated with somethinggreater than themselves. When the transformation leader is at work, people do somethingbecause they 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 resultswill be mind boggling. Then, the funds and public infrastructure that is also entrusted in theirhands is no mean matter. Have we not seen the highest of civic officers and communityleaders deeming it a privilege to address lions conventions? The Heads of states across theworld meet our lions officers, the Pope always grants audience to our President os theAssociation and the celebration of Lions day at the UN is a salutation by the highest placedindividuals for what lions continue to do. This legacy can be maintained and grown furtheronly if we understand our trusteeship role, a fact that we are answerable by the ethical spiritof fraternal living to our stake-holders which includes the government agencies, people ingeneral, or donors and supporters and the beneficiaries of our programs. We need no legalprovision to be transparent in our conduct that is the minimum price any organization has topay to be sustainable in today’s world.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 35
  • 36. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveWe have all seen great projects bedeviled by crises. Fund shortages, government permissions,lackluster field force, poor planning. The great leaders pre-empt problems. They anticipatedifficulties; 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 studiedto anticipate any impending challenges. A leader is not one who solves problems when theyarise, he should be prepared with solutions even before they raise their heads. As the averagelife-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 gettingprepared for this? As mobility of human beings increases with the world becoming a playingfield for the new generation, how long can we expect that lions will continue theirmembership in the same club for 30 or 40 years? Are we prepared to meet this situation? Asassociations like ours are joining hands with global bodies to assume projects that may havebeen inconceivable even a few years ago, how many of our districts are gearing up for suchcorporate partnerships where the impact will not be marginal, rather monumental? If we raenot doing this, then what kind of trustees are we for the legacy of our movement? We hadstruck a chord with the realities and expectations of early, mid and late twentieth century;but now the socio-economic dynamics are different. How do our plans match the communityneeds today? We will definitely find a place in the grand museum of human civilization; ourcontributions can never be denied. But what is debatable and challenging is: Will we be thereas a curator of the museum or a museum piece?But, to anticipate problems, one must have great practice-adaptability to change. We live inan era of constant and turbulent change. Todays youngster grows up with MTV, AXN, CellPhones, Internet and SMS. For many of us, even computers and e-mail are wonders. For thisgeneration, space travel holds no great excitement. To a credit card and ATM generation,change is the only constant. While we plan each year’s activities, continuity is a must but thatEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 36
  • 37. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivedoes not mean that was done in the earlier years automatically finds a place in the currentyear’s curriculum as well. It has to be validated by the needs to today and tomorrow; itsinclusion is not justified by reference to needs of yesterday. That will mean we are not beingcautious and vigilant as a trustee with the resources that are placed in our hands. Manyprograms that had undoubted value some years ago may have become redundant today. Justbecause something has been a continued success is all the more reason to evaluate whetherit is time to move on. The greatest example in this relation is the way our Sight First programhas developed. The figures for millions of surgeries have come from the activities conductedin make shift operation theatres in parts of Asia and Africs, But over the lastr decade, as peradvice from WHO all such surgeries have been phased out with the development of basehospitals. Now even the base hospitals are being encouraged to move ahead from cataracttreatment primarily to the more challenging fields of diabetic retinopathy and childophthalmology. This does not mean that what we did earlier was not correct, but that there isa time for everything. We need to grow our program for it be sustainably effective andproduce the kind of results that will make our association stand out as a leading fighter forrestoration of sight. Support from Sight First is expected to be available for social enterprisesthat bring greater stability to the lives of the sight impaired by making them more employableand assisting them to stand on their own feet and be positively integrated into themainstream of society. This may be far removed from just physical treatment of blindness,but the new position papers of Sight First contain reference to such funding that may beavailable. As a rule, our Foundation (LCIF) does not provide support in response to man madedisasters, only natural disasters. But in case of 26/11, it is only natural and rightfully so thatexceptions were made. Thje extent of loss and the enormity of the situation demanded thatthe Foundation takes a call, and it did. Trustees act today based on the experiences of thepast, but make investments that are justified for future on a scale of inter-generationalequity. Every application of resource today must be evaluated in terms of the returns it willgive tomorrow; and what the ground realities tomorrow will be can be anyone’s guess; theonly thing certain is that it will be far removed from what the realities today are, Thus thetrusteeship function demands leadership to pierce through the fog of the present, assisted byEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 37
  • 38. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivethe vision of tomorrow. Our clubs and their projects must exist not only today but for manymore years, perhaps many decades. The leadership at club level will need motivation andvision that must come from the slightly more experienced.Re-examine your values and attitudes. How relevant are they to the dynamics of today? Ifthey are not, if you are not with it, then you are Jurassic. And we all know what happened tothe dinosaur. 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 andadmire our 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 modeof video conferencing either to personally address the lions from a distance or invite a topleader to speak to a convention from maybe thousands of miles away. The lions are alwaysready to accept the process of change, but they must see the actual demonstrations andsuccess models, not be merely lectured in that context.The greatest leaders of today - the Jack Welch of General Electric, Ratan Tata, Aditya Birla -are always scanning their horizons with the intention of picking out, from mountains of ore,Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 38
  • 39. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivethe nuggets of gold - the performers. Find them in your environment, identify them, publicizethem and you will set performance standards to which others will aspire and rise. People willalter their behaviour towards those things that are rewarded. In Management, this is knownas Positive Reinforcement. So, find the leaders in your district. Each time they do well,publicly compliment them.Perhaps the most frequent explanation for mediocrity and nonperformance is the statement"I didnt 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, whereupto 500 officers meet with top management for informal information exchange. “Verticleslice” communication with associates from all levels-executive officers speaking to the LCIstaff at Oak Brook is just one example. Everyone is encouraged to speak up and express his /or her views without fear or favour. Important issues raised are noted and acted on quickly.Have we not heard of whistle blowers in the corporate world? This is the NGO face of similarwhistle blowers. This has made the exercise worthwhile in peoples eyes and not merely an"adda" (an empty 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 ofleadership, there is a danger that you miss the big picture. Our eye for detail must never hidethe big picture - 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. QuiteEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 39
  • 40. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivefrankly speaking, district governorship is sometimes management oriented and sometimesleadership oriented. Its called turn-coats, but that is the level of adaptability that is expected.Both, 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,to do so in time and even unsupervised. No one should be peeping over the shoulder of anyleader in action. Why only the district governor or vice district governors, even the zone andregion chairpersons or district chairpersons, or club officers must all be responsible forthemselves, That is the kind of integrity that is expected of any professional, one who has theattitude to walk 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 thatwill give 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 andnon-participative.There is the risk that meetings and conferences consume most of your previous year. Keepthe meetings to the minimum, and miserly in time. Is it compulsory that all officers speak atevery meeting? 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 40
  • 41. 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. Doit by 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.And ensure that the ownership of the project is shared by every team member. The projectsshould be owned by all involved. Free India is not just Gandhi. It is our collective andindividual treasure.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" thetide and the storm, changing neatly and quickly to adapt your vessel to its environment. AsChief of the district, you always strive to adapt, keeping the voyage in. mind lire-presenting"as often as necessary and responding to the winds of change. The District is large andpopulated. As you respond 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 usedswords called "sabres", which were big, and heavy, and strong - could split a rock. The Arabsfought with fine, light, extremely sharp and flexible swords of the famous Damascene steel.Their challenge to the Europeans was always, .See if your sabre can cut this soft silk pillow". Itcould not. A leader has to have not only the strength and courage to preserve, but the abilityto adapt, to review, reconsider and change. Neither extreme is of much use - too stiff toEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 41
  • 42. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivechange and 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-inspiretiring troops.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 42
  • 43. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveWalking The Tight RopeThe Wallers were a famous family of high-wire walkers. They frequently walked on a singlewire strung between the 60th floors of two buildings. They even walked on a wire high abovethe Niagara Falls.The tight rope that you must walk is the constant balancing act between all the stake-holdersof the district. There will always be views, divergent, contradictory and conflicting betweenPast District Governors, Past International Directors, local administration, well-wishers anddonors. Your tact, diplomacy and the ability to lubricate the friction points will be fully tested.There is no doubt that you are the recognized leader, but the leader of a group of proud,intelligent and outspoken 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 issuesin the entire district. When you are pulled and pushed in different directions, what should youdo? First, be sure in your mind what you think is the right thing to do. Second give eachcounselor / critic a patient hearing before explaining your viewpoint. If the situation isintransigent- people are sticking to their points and not willing to change, then diffuse thetension by appointing a committee to go into the situation and submit a recommendation.Distance yourself from the committee so that it is seen to be objective, and your acceptanceof the recommendation is not automatic. Not only must the district governor be fair, but alsoappear to be fair.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 43
  • 44. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveDuring World War II, the Allies initially suffered grievous losses against the German DesertFox, Rommel. He used Shivajis famous tactics of moving fast and killing the enemy indifferent places, so that they just could not regroup and fight a set piece battle. Then camethe British General Montgomery. After carefully studying the situation, he realized that,against such guerrilla tactics, something dramatically different needed to be done. So, insteadof facing these random attacks, he concentrated on hitting Rommels base depot whichmaintained and supplied his vehicles. We call this situational leadership - improvising,innovating your response to 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.Means to success are very important in an organization like ours. Even when membership isgrowing, what is equally important is to check that such growth is sustained. Attrition rate hasbeen a cause of concern to us for long and every district governor needs to be careful. Yetthat is no excuse for not producibg growth by saying that more stress ois being laid on qualitycontrol and hence the speed of induction is slow. We have to recognize the challenge: loss ofmembership will always be there due to death, transfers, ill health, economic issues and thelike. Hence, the process of inducting new members and extending new clubs must alwayscontinue, of course with all associated controls. It must always be remembered that we are aservice organization and that more clubs and members will mean greater resources andopportunities to serve. Naturally this would also mean that the members and new clubs aredoctrinated into service culture of our association; anything without this is redundant andbaseless.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 everythingEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 44
  • 45. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectiveis possible. Unless you have been explicitly forbidden to do it, do it and say sorry later(sometimes)! There is so flexibility in our association and we can design the programs to suitour needs. All that needs to be done is to validate the programs on the scale of our code ofethics and objectives. If that is fine, and the members are willing, we can always proceed if weare convinced that the program involves making life at least a little better than what it hasbeen before in the respective community.During the American Civil War, some of the generals complained to President Lincoln that oneof his Generals was drinking too much. Since he happened to be one of the most successful,Lincoln replied "I must find out what brand he drinks, and recommend that brand to my othergenerals." WE need to allow freedom to our lions, let them have fun and enjoy theirmembership so long as the limits of decency are maintained and results are obtained.Criticism is a tribute that the mediocre pay to the great. Handling criticism positively is also adistinguishing factor between the mediocre and the best. When someone told PanditVidyasagar that somebody was criticizing him, he replied, "I wonder why. I have not doneanything good for him", During your Governorship, there will be criticism. You must learn toignore it, contemplate and learn from it, or react to it. There must always be a purposebehind criticism. Find it. It may be jealousy or envy, or it may serve to improve you. Lay asideyour ego and evaluate criticism honestly.Funneling and filtering information is a real skill. Whenever you receive information, the testsyou must apply are: Why now? Why from him? What is the inner meaning? Should I get itconfirmed or ignore it? Again, examine the information, informant, timing and context. Setaside your ego and evaluate objectively. It may be important to differentiate betweeninformation which needs to be taken seriously and one that needs to be ignored. The rightjeweler is one who can see the difference between the best cut crystals and diamonds.You must create free information-flow from and to, and between clubs, leadership Lions andthe community, beneficiaries and government, civic authorities, well-wishers and donors.When people are "in the picture", they are more involved and likely to actively participate.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 45
  • 46. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveIn unarmed combat like Judo or Kung-Fu, the minute you get angry you lose. It is in convertingreactive anger into internal combustion to power your efforts that you truly succeed. As aleader, conserve your anger even if you feel insulted. Use it as a fuel to power your actions forthe future while you keep cool and allow others to make mistakes. I may be bordering closeto politics but then sharing some positive thoughts on that count may not be a bad idea. Afterall, we have seen and do even participate in political matters of our district. So long as wecontinue to respect others for their view points and accept diversity, be flexible and remainprepared to accept our shoret falls, we have every reason to impress hard for our own viewsand work for their acceptance.Sometimes you will face an unpleasant decision that you dont want to take. Occasionally, youmay need to diffuse a tense situation, or postpone an action. The wise leader appoints acommittee to examine the issue and recommend a course of action. By distancing himselffrom the committee, the wise District Governors retains the image of objectivity, and alsoretains the right not to agree to the recommendations. However, procrastination can be aserious issue also. As a district governor yoy will be called to take decisions, and it is expectedthat you will make a choice by evaluating all alternatives and taking a course that is bestsuited to our association. Some leaders feel that they can just pass off an entire year and nottake decisions which may hurt some people. They can choose to follow that path but that isnot what leadership demands. Only taking politically correct decisions (which includes nottaking a decision at all) can be fatal to any organization. We cannot be treating the best at parwith non performers at all; similarly we cannot postpone decisions simply because everyonemay not like them. Change is the law of survival and every change cannot be acceptable toeverybody. But for the benefit of our clubs and our districts, the governors will have to take acall. There will be challenges that are involved, and some new initiatives may call foreyebrows to be raised; this is bound to happen as people are shaken from their comfortzones. Take an example, when we started asking the governors to make membership plansand be accountable for them, everyone was not comfortable. May be, addition of othercomponents has made planning process more meaningful, but this stage could be reachedonly because the first step was taken. If the leader involved in taking the first step would alsoEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 46
  • 47. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivehave preferred to stay quiet and not make district governors and various others in MERLteams accountable, this important paradigm shift would not have taken place. There is a priceto pay for everything, and there is a price for the centre chair in the district as well. Lions willrespect and admire every governor, but at times the governor may have to pass through aperiod where people question his decisions. Even if the result of new initiatives is a failure, itdoes not matter because no experiment can succeed in the first attempt. What is moreimportant is whether we are taking steps to move ahead and whether we are learning fromour results. *******Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 47
  • 48. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveFrom The Atom To The Atom BombThe atom was known in the nineteenth century. By 1912, its awesome power was describedin Einsteins elegant E = MC2 formula. But it took thirty years, a team of scientists andengineers, the World War II, and an aircraft called the Enola Gay, to deliver the Worlds firstnuclear holocast over Hiroshima. That was a catastrophe! But it took many more years torealize how atomic power could be harnessed for peaceful and developmental purposes, andmake human life more meaningfulSo, the lofty ideals with which you took office have to take material shape in detailedexecution for your Governorship to succeed. There will be a time lag. People will be moresluggish than you thought. Obstacles will appear. There is inertia.To ensure they do succeed, you wm have to place the yoke on both strong and willingshoulders. And remember those shoulders are those of volunteers, not subordinates. Theyare not obliged to take responsibilities. They have to be made aware, trained and motivated.And you are not to be their boss by any stretch of imagination. At best, you are a first amongequals. The period that you spend as 2nd and 1st vice district governor must be used toprepare yourself, to know the lions and their preferences, to build working relationships withthem and determione who would be best suitable to your style of leadership. Yet, you mayhave to accept diversity of styles and some individuals with long term appointments wouldalso find a place in your team. It is a challenge for any person to build bridges, but does onehave any option? Life is not a tale where one just desires and gets; rather the cards are dealt,and it is up to each individual to make the best of the hand that is dealt to him.However, much as one would like to use only capable and trusted "henchmen", the realitiesof our large organizations must be recognized and a strict hierarchical, role-based protocolmust be observed. This may mean having to carry some "baggage" and "passengers" fortactical and diplomatic reasons. This is part of the Governors burden. In other words, it has tobe a coalition, not necessarily a mandate or dictatorial monarchy. In a Non-Government /Non-Profit Organization hierarchy, only posts are provided, not positives. Managing all is yourEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 48
  • 49. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivechallenge. We often give importance to hierarchy and protocol. But let us always rememberthat protocol exists to make things smooth, not to complicate them. It is not to create layersof leadership as one one is above any other in this association. We are all equals, but playdifferent roles and accept leadership of certain individuals for a limited period; essentiallyleadership is to circulate. You may have to accept few persons in some cabinet positions forpolitical reasons, but be wise enough to place them where they can fit best. You cannot putthem in charge of technical matters without first ascertaining if they have adequate skills.Hence, balancing between loyalty and capability will always be a challenge that every districtgovernor will face.The astute leader may often speak little or not at all at meetings, but may facilitate others todiscuss, argue, cajole and convince. The leaders task is neither to dominate nor to lecture,but to create the environment of achievement. At the end, it does not matter if people say,"we did it ourselves". So your stance at meetings need not be of the all-important or "know-all". The task is to get commitment, not just to impress. Your listening skills should be as sharpas your speaking skills, perhaps even more. Receiving and interpreting feedbacks is moreimportant than sending out messages from a leader’s position. A great example is seen at USCanada Forum: we have the international president and LCIF chairperson speak during twomeal sessions, but the other two executive officers do not address the entire house. Theyspeak during seminars. But some of us believe that being a part of DG team means that wemust speak at every meeting, even if we are repeating what has been said earlier or notsaying anything releveant. That sends a wrong message-a lion leader should be one whoengages in conversations, not just makes speeches.Perhaps the most appropriate parallel to our task is of a cricket captain. His team will havehitters and sluggers, fielders and bowlers and wicket keeper. And each of them has a personalagenda and a personal constituency. Each is driven by an over-sized ego. Each would like arecord expressed in runs, catches, wickets, stampings and runouts. The most successfulcaptain achieves "synergy". Synergy is defined as a situation where the combination ofresources achieves a result far greater than the total of their individual skills - think of IndiasEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 49
  • 50. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivevictory in World Cup 1983! You have to earn the right to lead. It is neither resident in yourdesignation as Governor, nor in the vote count. We call it "Power", or your personal ability toweld different personalities into a team.Next to generating and propagating a vision, the real test of your leadership as DistrictGovernor will be the ability to synergize disparate elements into a coherent, cogent team.Believe us, the task is not easy and, more important, it is not "one-off. You have to keepworking at it through your year as District Governor, and well beyond. True power in a Non-Government / Non-Profit Organization like ours is the ability to combine people of differentbackgrounds, commitments, enthusiasms and abilities into an effective team. The army doesit through regimentation. In Lions we motivate. *******Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 50
  • 51. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveThey Want To Be HeardEvery level - the regions, zones, clubs, individuals Lions, Past District Governors, PastInternational Directors, senior members, important donors, local authorities - all of themhave important points of view. You must be accessible and responsive to each and all. Theymust feel that you are concerned with what they have to say, however different from yourthoughts. Unbiased listening may be your biggest challenge. Getting appropriate feedback isas important, perhaps more, than just giving instructions. As leader of your district, it ismandatory that you have access and that there is a free flow of information from all quartersto you. Your leadership qualities will be put to test through your term: how you interpret theinformation that is provided to you. Communication is like a live wire in any organization,specially as the contemporary ones become flatter.And, to all of them, you must radiate hope and opportunity. To all of them you must appeardecisive and committed. To each, his self-respect is sacred. Anyone who goes away feelingunheard is a potential dissident. You may be astonished that people do not always expect youto be ready with solutions to all problems, rather they expect that you to lend them an earwhen they are being confronted with various choices and alternatives. At such times, anycandid conversation is the best thing to happen, you can be giving your view point but leavingthe choice to be exercised by the person responsible for the specific job.Encourage opinions, and support "out-of-the-box" thinkers. But finally, be firmly convinced,then decide. Accepting contrary opinion with the right perspective is an important ingredientof leadership today. Most of the successful initiatives are born out of those “ridiculous andimaginary ideas” which some persons had the courage to voice even though they werepresumably anti-statusquo. And make sure, when you communicate your decision, that youacknowledge other points of view.When young President John Kennedy was informed that the neighbouring hostile island ofCuba had missiles that were focused on the USA, he called a meeting of the National SecurityCouncil of USA. They argued for over 48 hours without a break. Suggestions ranged fromEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 51
  • 52. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectiveatom bombing the island to ignoring the threat. At the end, the President thanked them alland announced that he would declare his decision on National Television that evening.Addressing the American people and, indirectly, the leadership of the USSR, Kennedyannounced that, from mid-night of the same night, the US Navy would quarantine Cuba. Anyinbound ship with missiles would be turned away, and any outbound ship with missiles wouldbe permitted to leave. For 24 hours, the World held its breath. Finally, the USSR backed downand dismantled the missiles, a great triumph for a young President! The success itself was notenough. He had to convince each advisor of the merit of his advice.The Governorship of the Lions District is, in many ways, the apex of a Lions career. Althoughsome will go on to become council chairpersons and international directors, but this is thehighest office in the district set up. It is a high post, and no incumbent takes office withoutcreating expectations from everybody. People are watching you, listening to you, and readingmessages in every verbal and non-verbal cue. Many people want to be in your good books;often people want favours from you. You are discussed and gossiped about. Your every frownand smile is dissected and reported. To enter such a maelstrom without a carefully thought-out game-plan is suicide. Your year-end can be forecast from the plan you start with, and theway you carry yourself day in and day out.Your body language is eloquent. How you conduct yourself, when you frown, even when youdoze off, or lose concentration, all this is not just noticed, but remarked and gossiped about.It is said that when Lady Diana was accepted into British Royalty, the most difficult lesson forher to learn was that there is no privilege or privacy for a celebrity. She could not afford todrop her smile for even a second; she had to be on guard against a single remark which couldbe misinterpreted widely. There are incidents when even most experienced and widelytravelled statesmen like Henry Kissinger were moved and impressed by her demeanor. Theway she conducted herself endeared her to the world audience. More recently, MichelleObama has entered this league.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 52
  • 53. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveYou are a public figure as a District Governor. You have no private moments, even whensomebody phones you at 1.00 a.m.! And, in office and on tour, you are under a magnifyingglass always.In this chapter we have looked at two important concepts.Each constituent among your stakeholders has a point of view, wants to be heard, and wantsto feel he has influenced your decisions.Yet, you are personally and solely responsible both for the decisions and outcomes. But withthe introduction of DG team concept, you must remember to carry and include yourcolleagues. Their additional points of view will add weight to the decisions, and also preparethem for governorship in the years to come. Gone are the days of solo leadership; it is a teamthat steers the district and the governor plays the role of a facilitator.So, while you are available and patient, the final decision may be yours. However, everypersons contribution, whether important or not, whether relevant or not, needs to beacknowledged.You are a public figure. Every word you say or dont say, every action, and behaviour andcomment, even your body language when you are silent, is eloquent and liable to beinterpreted or misinterpreted. *******Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 53
  • 54. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveWhat Will You Achieve?As District Governor, you must set the pace and lead by personal example. There is noreplacement for leadership by example. Your video and audio must match, or else theabsence of integrity becomes too evident. If you communicate your grand vision in glowingcolours to those who matter, if you involve them in that grand vision, if you anticipate anddeal with the blocks, and set moral standards, and if then you decide and act, success isyours. But still none of them are essentially your own (personal) decisions. You have to beplaying the role of a facilitator in a district. View points from all quarters of the district needto be considered, but of course choices will have to be made. In doing so, never shirk fromthis all important responsibility of a leader. We have seen enough district governors whoprocrastinate over decisions that they believe may hurt a few senior members or their closefriends, and there are others who are wedded to “politically correct” decisions only. Boththese varieties of leaders may not be suited for a public office like that of a district governor.We do have to be careful about respect ting conventions, values and long standing practices;we do have to show gratitude for those who provided leadership many years ago; but thatdoes not mean that contemporary ground realities have to be sacrificed and ignored. That willbe too much cost to pay, almost suicidal and definitely counterproductive.Each meeting you call should be purposeful and clear. Spokespersons will move the proposalsforward on your behalf. You may consider accepting opinions to initiate pilot programs, eventhough you may personally not be of the same bend of mind provided there is a strongargument for it. Develop the courage to live your decisions, but always keep some optionsand alternatives ready so that contingencies can be handled. Where the outcome is foggy, getadvice, form committees. And, once your purpose is achieved, give your team and all thevolunteers the right to closure and celebrations. When you constitute a committee, you areachieving two things: one - you diffuse the issue and reduce any heated feelings; two - youdistance yourself from the recommendations of the committee so that you can suppressthem or modify, depending on the situations. Make sure that the committees includeindividuals from all constituents of the district. Ignoring or purposely omitting persons withEastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 54
  • 55. Towards Excellence – DG Team Perspectivepolitical inclinations that are not too acceptable to you as the district governor may be oneoption, but that is not a good parliamentary practice. Inducting leaders of the opposition inimportant committees of the parliaments of best democracies are a clear cut example. I havenot seen this practiced in most quarters, may be because our concerns are not so wide as thatof any nation, or also because we do not have a historical record of our decision makingprocesses either at district or higher levels (and this record is not just limited to minutes ofthe meetings) that can be studied and gradually refined. Though I would not like to start thatdebate at this point, the fact is that we are not an absolute “republic”, we have elements of“principalities” in our organization’s DNA; as a simple example, we just elect the DG team butthe rest of the cabinet is nominated (except for a handful of districts in the world where zoneand region chairs are also elected). Hence, ultimately despite the team concept, the districtgovernor must assume responsibility for the quality of decisions taken, and those not taken,during his term of office.When times are tough, be there in middle of the actions. Whenever Alexanders soldiers weredejected or dispirited, they could see his helmet, his banner and his sword in the hottest spotof the battle, and their spirits would soar. You should be there, whether it is an eye camp or afunction. Dont be "invisible"."Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitudes and in actions."In trouble, be right in front. In success, let others dance in the lime light. "A good leader takesa little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit." the secret ofmotivation lies in assigning credit and taking the blame.Allow people not just the liberty, but the power to do, by delegating wisely, balancingauthority with accountability. When you delegate, do remember to give people decisionmaking authority, resources and evaluation strategies too. We cannot delegate justresponsibility; rather we expect prople to act with responsibility once we have delegatedauthority. I cannot delegate to you what has to be your character; I can only delegate some ofmy constitutional or conventional powers. How you will behave in response to that has to bea product of your perspectives and priorities.Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 55
  • 56. Towards Excellence – DG Team PerspectiveOur notes for you have been long and arduous. But we hope that you will accept it in thespirit in which it has been developed. We distilled the successes and failures of literallydozens of District leaders to find those things which differentiate the average from the good,and the good from the great District Governors.So, we end this note wishing you all the success that you deserve. You have agreed to wearthe robes of a District Governor. When the time comes to drape them on anothers shoulders,may you feel in your innermost thoughts and feelings that you have truly achieved, and thatwhen legends of District Governors are talked about, your name and fame will be oneveryones lips.All the best in Lionism!! *******Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy Page 56