Today was the puja for Swamijis Ashram,this ceremony is called the shanku sthapana where a shank(sea shell) is buried in the ground.
Before the puja had to remeasure the puja spot according to the feedback from a temple expert, it should be 9.5 inch square with 2.5 inch walls.
Anyways nothing spectacular about the puja, what made my day was an interaction with some farmers kids.They were of about 5-6 years of age.
Was able to befriend them easily and had them posing for the camera in no time, thats when I decided to do an experiment, I gave them my camera and complete freedom to play with it. To my utter surprise these kids turned out to be amazing,they learned to take pictures with almost no instructions from me, mind you they don’t know hindi and I cant speak a word in telegu. These kids learned everything by observation, within no time they were making others pose for pics and even figured out how to zoom in and zoom out.
They understood technology as well as image composition and things like half press focusses and full press takes the picture mostly on their own. These were the kids who have barely been exposed to technology,even electricity is a recent phenomenon for them
It reaffirmed my faith that the kids are smarter, all they need is a little exposure and a little push and they can do wonders. Looking at these kids I felt safe ,these people will be running the country in the future and it feels right.
It reaffirmed my faith in organizations like Lead India 2020 which work with them to help them realize their potential.Most of the pics below are taken by those kids
Bid adieu to them after the puja,felt bad as I had just made some new friends, taught them a new way of good bye…a High Five 🙂
At night attended a south indian wedding, did you know the girl changes clothes 3 times during the wedding :O:O….dont know how they manage makeup etc…
Finally crashing at narothams place..Big days ahead.
Day 4 starts with a ride in HOT HOT hyderabad weather at 1:PM.What better start
My repeated request to server team of lead india 2020 seem to have fell on deaf ears and have not received any response, but mein bhi dheet hoon…Lead india is conducting a master training camp in Oasis school on saturday and sunday and it was essential that we give them proper training of the system.
So finally installed all necessary plugins on my test website http://www.linc.indiateaches.com
and conducted a small training session for some of the trainers.
Its been a great experience interacting with Acharya. He speaks on a very big level,but abstract,he has the vision and speaks with emotion and passion. I have the dirty job to rid all requirements of any kind of emotions,passion and abstraction and break it down to the basic level that is fit enough for the system to intreact.
Acharya talks about how we can track progress,showcase to the world what these training programs are doing,how students questioning power is increasing etc and we finally tell him :ok you need a form to fill up with these questions in them.
Perfect learning experience for me,maybe i am on my way to become a consultant
Planning to go to Yaganti to meet Narothams,spiritual leader and also make measurements and finalize the structure/dimensions of his upcoming ashram. Reached Asias biggest bus stop at around 12:30 AM
We changed 3 busses before finalizing on our Vahan :P, bus 1 was direct but uncomfortable,bus 2 was comfortable but charged 1.5 times and finally we went for bus 3. Man we have tantrums…..
So those who have been following the first 2 days…i Have been trying to develop a basic social networking site for Lead India 2020.
Was trying to install some plugins on Lead India site but failed because of some FTP error. Still trying to go back an forth with the tech team who doesnt seem too keen on helping 🙂
Have seen this with all teams that control the server,they just don’t want to give up any access. Anyways the pressure is On 🙂
But it was a fun day,finally met Yamini and rohit . Its ben a long due meeting,have known her for 5 years now.Planned to spend the night at their place in Hyderabad.
Watched the movie called “You dont mess with Zohan”. This is a must watch,this guy is like Rajnikant :P….fight scenes are out of this world.
Yamini ,Rohit you are a good Hosts :)…had a wonderful time ,and yes Yamini you can cook :P…..
On a side note,hyderabad heat is killing,worst part is i am roaming on a bike that too at 1:00 PM…how bad can it get .
First day @hyderabad turned out to be pretty hectic but productive, went directly to ISB from airport to meet Narotham.
After having a sumptuous meal in ISB got a chance to interact with Chakrawarti one of the founders of Slateindia.in and discuss about various strategies.
Also got a chance to hear about a workshop being conducted for teens by one of ISB Teaching associate. Truely remarkable. It seems everyone here is up-to something. If you live in a place like this how can you stay unaffected.
The place does have a certain aura about it.Later in the evening stopped at Oasis school to meet with Sudarshan Acharya.
Though unplanned ,was able to demonstrate the “Lead India national Club” website I had developed. Was able to get his input and it seems the pilot roll out is going to happen very soon,probable a day or 2.
After that had a Long tiring 1 hr back seat bike ride back home with all my luggage.Narotham’sMom cooked some awesome food and was kind enough to cook me special Paranthas, 🙂
Crashing now,,,,,.have to meet “Vande Mataram Youth Front” representative tomorrow 8 AM . Have been working with them for 6 months,finally will get a chance to meet some.
On a personal note,it was really embarrassing to see that I was not able to cross a road in Hyderabad. I prided myself on crossing roads in the busiest areas of Delhi and Faridabad and here I was stuck in Hyderabad.Poor Narotham had to cross back to help me cross.
Either the traffic in Hyderabad is worse or i have lost my touch and US has made me Lazy :P..What do you think?
And also,this is my 50th blog post,thanks a loot to all the people who subscribed and actually read my blog.Its a huge encouragement 🙂
Had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine over team and people management in NGOs/ voluntary organizations . NGO is a basically a non government non profit making organization,dedicated to a social cause and majorly supported by volunteers.
We have been working with various volunteers for organizations like Lead India 2020 ,Vande mataram youth front etc for past 5 years and one thing we have learned is that everything we learn about team skills,team management and people management breaks down in a voluntary organization.
Its much harder to sustain a voluntary organization than a business. Yes it seems counter intuitive because when we say NGO,it brings out an image of volunteers working tirelessly to uplift the society,people working for satisfaction rather than money.
Well nothing wrong in that imagery,most part of it is right but then why it is so hard to sustain an NGO,why don’t voluntary organizations work with the same level of maturity and professionalism as many corporates do.
Well here is my Take on it
Lets forget NGOs and voluntary organizations for a moment
Why do people work the way they work? What drives them to work better and harder
a. Money: Only objective is to sustain. Eat Live Die. Better work=better money
b. Ambition: Have a goal in life ,want to reach somewhere someplace pretty soon. Could be power,prestige ,respect or anything else
c.Work ethic:/Conscience: Yes you smiling people,many people still have it,actually most people have it to varying degrees. There is a level/quality of work you expect from yourself and if you don’t do it you feel guilty. Its that irritating voice which asks you to correct that small little HTML,correct that simple image on your site,keep your record books organized.
d. Need for appreciation: This is closely related to point c and d. We all like to be appreciated for our work .
Most people have one or many of these drives
Now the strongest of these forces is Work ethic and conscience,something that tells you what is the minimum you would expect from yourself. This is exactly the factor that prevents NGOs from achieving what they can and what NGOs need to research more on.
When volunteers work for an NGO all of them work with good intentions, a need to do something good and satisfy their conscience . I do not doubt their intentions,what i believe happens is that their level/minimum self expectation suddenly becomes LOW in a an NGO. Anything that they do is extra work and this satisfies their conscience very very early on.
I call this Short Changed Conscience
Since it is a voluntary work,it was never expected of them and hence anything they do directly adds to their conscience as good work,thus making them feel good about whatever they do even if it is shoddy work from their professional standards.
I may receive brick bats for saying this but most NGOs stand on the half hearted works of many volunteers. and half hearted work ,irrespective of intentions can never match the professionalism.
Now dont get me wrong here,i am not writing this paper because i am frustrated with anyone, I am trying to find out what goes wrong. It is these volunteers only who make things work,it is these volunteers who keep the wheel of development turning,but my point is that this wheel can turn faster.
If you need to create a website for your business,or maybe your client you will spend considerable amount of time to find the best possible technology,best possible interface,you will take feedback and implement it . But what if you are building for an NGO, you will still make the website,but you may not be willing to consider changes based on feedback,you may not research too much and most importantly you may not polish all the edges.
Is that true or is it just me?????
Yes there are exceptions to this,people who take this work more seriously then their professional work also,these are the people who form the nucleus of any voluntary organization,hats off to them. But their percentage is relatively low
Before you guys tell me how dare i question the pure intentions of volunteers who spend their time with NGOs helping them ,let me clarify,I do not question that,I Respect people who want to and do spend time,this paper is to identify areas where we go wrong,why most voluntary teams don’t work the way they should/could and maybe identify what can be done to improve them.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Defined structure: Have a clear structure and role division like any corporate team with clear objectives and responsibilities. More you bring people in that zone,better results you may get
2.No Reliance on the nucleus: Generally the nucleus of the group or you may say the most dedicated person drives everything. He/she handles all activities. This definitely needs to stop. Have clear cut owners of every activity and try and stop this nucleus from working everywhere. The reason is simple ,the nucleus is a GEM but if he/she handels everything you loose the chance of creating more nuclei. Every team should have a nuclei .
Try this in one important activity or a movement of your organization,do not involve your best volunteers. Yes explain them the reasoning,its important
3. Implicit feedback mechanism: Irrespective of what work a person is doing, how dedicated he/she is to the cause or even how old a member he/she is have a compulsory feedback system. the moment people know that their work will be commented upon their productivity goes us. The Work ethic of their corporate work kicks in and standars improve. I would suggest always have 1 compulsory improvement point for every every feedback.
4. View volunteers as leaders and not as temporary workers: No explanation required,try doing that and see the result
So this was my take on teams in Voluntary organizations,…if you have any comments/suggestions/criticisms please do enlighten me.
Today i fulfilled my long cherished dream of doing some social service my way. I joined lead india .My work is in career development aspect. my job is to train people in things like public speaking …wooow…i always wanted to do dat…did it in my college but only briefly…but wat i did today really changed me
thanks to my friend narrottam….i went to this school called oasis…there were 125 students waiting for being trained..i mean seeing their enthusiasm…i was shocked…i mean pleasently surprised……wen i atarted my session…it was a revelation for me…it went sooooo goood….i used some of my own techniques dat i had invented…most famous one was blah blah technique…..it became sort of anthem…and best part was wen i could actually see diffrence in students withen 4 hr session……we broke their jinx…helped them overcome the stage fright…that first time fear…one girl on 9th standard who was so terrified to speak in public initially was volunteering to speak by the end of session….dat was something…maybe we did something right 🙂
and wen the session ended the students did something unthinkable….they asked for my autograph…omg….i was like wooooooow….soooooo much respect…i was awed….i mean i learned more than them…these students really changed me….i was on cloud nine
now the mission of lead india is to train 25000 engineering students in areas like physical,mental,carreer,social and spiritual development this year..ill be handling carreer… ..and i pledge to help them in that…just pray i m able to give back something..lets see…even if i change one life ill be satisfied