Re: Theos-World Why the membership has become so miniscule
May 02, 1999 06:28 AM
by M K Ramadoss
Dear Martin: Thanks you responded. I have added my comments below.
At 07:29 PM 5/1/1999 -0700, you wrote:
>Dear brother MKR
>I also spend time thinking about this issue.
>You wrote: "I do not see any charismatic leader in sight even today."
I am just making a factual statement to the best of my assessment. If there is someone on the horizon, it would be nice to know.
>But how do you brainstorm about who is the charismatic leader?
I am sorry there is some confusion. A charismatic leader has to arise naturally. The brainstorming, I was referring to relates to what activities and efforts that can be made by members, lodges and study centers and what kind of encouragement as well as activities that can be encouraged from the international/national level.
>But I see it in another way. I see that people in the TS do not want or shy away from leadership.
If past history is any guide, it is during charismatic leadership that TS grew by leaps and bounds. So a charismatic leader can definitely have an effect on the organization and its branches. The opposite is also true by analogy.
>What is your opinion about how to attract more membership, and turn some of them into great leaders?
Some things can be tried to attract membership. I know many lodges and study centers rarely have public meetings. While study classes in closed meetings may have an effect on inner planes, to attract new membership, public meetings are necessary. Another line of approach is the travelling -- not shuttling - lecturers. I recall that after the American Section split from Adyar TS, Annie Besant made a lecture tour around the country which was mainly responsible for rebuilding of membership and lodges and study centers. These lecturers travel from city to city and do the lecturing. This kind of approach, I have not seen for years.
As one theosophist mentioned to me some time back, from early days of TS, the approach from the top towards the lodges and study centers seems to be sink or swim. That is the lodges and study centers are left to fend for themselves as far as building them up.
Also what comes to my mind is the approach that Sam Walton took towards his Walmart stores. As the major shareholder and President of the company, he made it a point of personally visiting each * store* at least once a quarter to observe its operation first hand and improve its operation. This is in addition to their having an on-line uptodate management report on how each store is doing. It is in the personal visit that one is able to see and recognise issues and problems that any amount of formal reporting cannot reveal. Why did he do it. He spent his life *full* time in building the business and he was very successful and we all benefit from Walmart's range of products and prices and 24 hour operation.
May be once something is done at the grass roots level, a charismatic leader may naturally rise.
Lastly but not least important is the need for top-down planning about the long term objectives and strategies. If there is any such long term objectives and strategies with goals and timelines, I am not aware of. Also there should be more top-down and bottom-up communication so that everyone can intelligently contribute and work together.
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