In the Bapu Trust, soon after inception in 1999, we learnt that personal motivation, effective team collaboration, aptitude for creativity and innovation and leadership are not 'natural instincts' that staff bring when they join. They have to be diligently cultivated, refreshed and mentored, within a value based framework on a continuing basis.
The World Center for Creative Learning Foundation (wcclf.org) mentored our organizational development needs by creating a "HR manual" for us (2003-2004)
A leadership driven organization
A value based organizational culture
Respect for all, whatever the functional levels
Self-determination and motivation at all levels
Collaboration within staff and teams
Team effectiveness and optimizing usefulness to oneself, to one's team, the organization, and to communities
Bapu Trust, over the years, has maintained an OD culture throughout. We have created spaces and processes for positive and proactive exchange between team members, people and organizational values, harm reduction in working together, non-violent communications, filling out roles while maintaining boundaries, 'letting go', 'leadership' over 'management', etc.
Art Based Therapy
With the introduction of Arts Based Therapy trainings (www.baputrust.in also www.bt-abt.in) for BT's leaders, programs became more colourful, lighter, more contemplative, and centered within aspirations of each person, while forging deeper connections in each team and with the larger organization and communities. Words like "Partnerships", "Networks", "Ripple effects", etc. became more frequently used within the team establishing our interdependence. We continued to be wonder-struck by the large wave-like, expansive effects that even small gestures of generosity and caregiving can have. So, BT people partnered more closely together with tens and hundreds of people in a way to build collective aspirations for a world free of suffering; and we became more and more expansive in our wish to be useful and in our collective actions. The process of 'scaling up' began!
Will we be able to safeguard our people centric work culture, our compassion, our sense of justice, our wish to be useful, and our strong ethical value base?
The 'Leadership' language has been very handy, continues to be useful, especially the tools and the techniques. However, it does not go deep into people, touching their very existence and transforming them from within. It does not give moral questions for everyday life. Working in mental health, with a vast diversity of people this is what we need.
We rechristened our HR program as :
"Manifesting Compassion in Leadership Development"
Pradnya Smriti : Paramitas
With intensive trainings and mentorship by WCCLF, and soaking in the wisdom of all the Buddhist Teachers, Bapu Trust has started "Pradnya Smriti" (Remembering the Wisdom).
Prajnya Smriti is woven around the 6 Paramitas (Ways to transcendent wisdom)-
Prajna Smriti : Objectives
The objectives of Prajna Smriti across all levels of BT are:
To value and practice impermanence
To articulate everyday moral questions and to create a shared value base
To break 'binaries' (senior / junior; old / new; literate / illiterate; etc.
being more respectful, tolerant, accepting and interdependent BT community
To cultivate fitness and mind training at all levels in the organization
Prajna Smriti : Programs
Two different PrajnaSmriti programs are presently being run in the organization.
One set of 8 and more sessions are being facilitated by Bhargavi Davar for the senior and middle management staff (in English / Hindi);
Another set of 8 and more sessions are being facilitated by Kavita Saju Nair for the supervisors and the field staff (in Hindi / Marathi).
Presently,other than a continuing OD/HR program, we are pursuing research on culture building practices within other NGOs in Pune city; offering OD/HR modules to those working in the social sector; and fostering partnerships with various stakeholders on the importance of building up a culture of work based on compassion and justice.