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Leadership with Simplicity

Tom Schmidt, Global Supply Chain CEO of the world famous FedEx company, has written a very introspective book named 'Simple Solution'. In the book, he mentions that an expert leader eases the situation for all. Highly effective leadership is achieved by simplifying the person's work area and methods.

Gary Rodkin can be said to be a skilled person. He was adept at getting everything in order. In the year 2005, he joined ConAgro, one of North America’s largest food packaging industries as CEO. Though this was a huge company, there were many problems. Mainly there was no coordination within its various departments due to a lack of communication and this led to a whole lot of misunderstanding. Each department was functioning in its own unique way. Hence there was no cooperation in the overall planning within departments. So the condition of the company kept getting worse. Not only were the employees frantic, even the investors were losing confidence in the future of the company. Gary noted all this. He initially focused on simplifying the working methods of the company and made a lot of efforts in this direction. Gradually the complications were resolved and everything started to run smoothly. Over time, employees and investors were satisfied and the company saved crores of money. Thus the entire company benefited greatly from the CEO's spirit of simplifying everything. In order to do this, it is very essential that a man needs to be very upright.

One of the biggest virtues of Pramukh Swami Maharaj was his simplicity. He was not only very straightforward and transparent, but was easily approachable as well. Once Swamiji was in Mumbai. It was time for partaking his evening meal. The attendant saint came to remind him about it. Swamiji's posture appeared a little slant as he was sitting on a cushion, while leaning on a pillow. Of course, Swamiji wouldn't partake his meal in that particular posture, so the attendant asked him, 'Do you want to sit straight? ' Hearing this, Swamiji smiled and said in a very insightful manner ‘I have always been straight and upright all my life. when have I lived flexuously?' Then smilingly he added, ‘I have always led a very straight and upright life.'

Amongst his numerous other virtues, simplicity was one of his biggest characteristics. He always led a simple life and would always simplify other people's problems by providing solutions for their particular situations.

Once, it so happened that various camps for volunteers were organized in some temples in Gujarat. Several volunteers were to participate in it. Incidentally, Swamiji's pilgrimage schedule was also arranged in those places at the same time. The organizers were very confused because when Swamiji would arrive in any temple, a host of other activities would simultaneously be carried out in those temples, which would be inspiring, motivational and a source of immense joy for the huge number of devotees, who would throng the temple in Swamiji's divine presence. Overall arrangements too differ, while conducting a volunteer camp and while conducting various activities during Swamiji's visit. So this could impose an extra burden on the organizers. Volunteers also have to carry out double duty. When Swamiji came to know about the volunteers camps, he immediately canceled his visits, which were organized for those places. This made it much easier for everyone to focus solely on the camps, which were conducted very successfully. Everyone was very pleased and satisfied.

A camp organiser in Nadiad reported these camps' success stories to Swamiji and finally said, 'Swami! this time your schedule was organized during the period when our camps were simultaneously organized in those local temples. But you graciously changed your schedule to accomodate our camps. That made everyone very comfortable and everything went very smoothly.' Swamiji replied, 'After receiving and reading your letter, while I was retiring to bed, I thought that if everything is arranged then my schedule will disturb the whole planning and cause some difficulties in those places. So I changed my schedule.' Thus, even while retiring to bed, Swamiji kept thinking about how could change his schedule to suit everybody. Often, whenever such complications arose, they could be resolved very easily. The reason was Swamiji's simplicity. Swamiji's straightforward and down to earth leadership was the key to the generation of effective solutions to accomodate everyone's needs comfortably. Even if one person in each home lives by Swamiji's simple and down to earth principles, the home will become a heaven on earth.

Sadhu Amrutvadandas

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Thanks Giving

This article is written and submitted to The E Today by Sadhu Amrutvadandas. We thank swamiji for his research and analysis and hope to see the awareness about life and peace being spread ahead to larger mass of our citizens.

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