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Asking The Hard Questions

Today, I visited NDDB -- the National Dairy Development Board.  They have done a truly remarkable job of supporting millions of farmers.  Their chairman introduced his role to me as, "I work for 300 million buffaloes."  :)

In an auditorium setting, I spoke to many hundreds of their staff about the principles of laddership.  Then, Parag and I had a great interaction with their executives.  At one point, one of their execs says, "ServiceSpace ideals are so inspiring.  I understand how to practice this at an individual level, but what can we do as an organization?"  And my response to them was, "Ask the hard questions.  You can measure the fat content in a liter of milk, but what are your metrics for the well-being of the cow?  You can optimize supply-chain process for economic gains, but how can you build non-market capitals?  Those are hard questions, but if you push the envelope in that direction, it can yield some very transformative innovations."

By the end, they wanted to send their staff to Moved by Love retreats, they wanted to Parag to visit as a guest faculty and they want to brainstorm how to bring ServiceSpace values to rural India.  I'm hoping to introduce Ari (a vegan giftivist :)) for some creative co-creation, along with Preeta to pilot her circle-app with their cooperative circles.

Beyond the breadth of ripples-in-motion, the depth of resonance at the level of values was incredibly disarming.  At lunch, NDDB's executive chairman, a devout Jain (and hence resonant with non-violence), shared a very beautiful story: "Growing up, I used to have a cow.  Then one fine day, I had to move and would have to leave everything behind.  I hadn't told too many people, but four days prior to my move, my cow started crying -- literally. She knew I was leaving."   

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"Service doesn't start when you have something to give; it blossoms naturally when you have nothing left to take."

"Real privilege lies in knowing that you have enough."