Frequently Asked Questions About the Process Team

This document records FAQs about the Process Team as received and answered by the Transition Task Force, which was the body that convened the Process Team. It was originally posted on the Transition Task Force website. Thus, the pronouns “we” and “our” below refer to the TTF.

People have asked the following questions of the Transition Task Force via email, our Zoom calls, or on the Transition Task Force website. We are responding to the best of our ability and knowledge. We are checking for answers to the questions for which we do not know the answers. At the same time, there are no answers for some questions; they will need to be answered in time.

This FAQ is an evolving document. We have answered questions to best of our knowledge and tried to be clear, but we expect updates will happen.

Questions and Answers

Q: What exactly is the work of the Process Team? A: The Process Team’s job is to consult with the entire Shambhala community and propose how Shambhala can restructure itself and its leadership. The Transition Task Force currently envisions the scope and work of the PT to include, but not be limited to, four primary areas: 1) community healing and learning; 2) culture change; and 3) new governance structures and organizational development, and 4) community building.

Q: Do you have to have expertise in all of the above areas of qualifications? A: No. However, it would be good to have expertise or experience in at least one of these areas.

Q: What is the role of the Sakyong after one year with regard to the PT? A: It is unknown what the Sakyong will do after one year.

Q: Will the Task Force provide any structure to the PT, or will they figure it out on their own? A: The Task Force has recommended that the PT work with a four-fold approach to organizational development for Shambhala: community healing and learning, culture change, new governance structures and community building. The TTF will pass on recommendations we have received in order to spark the beginning of the team’s work together. As the PT continues its work, it may find other areas that need to be addressed, and the PT is fully empowered to adjust and adapt its work accordingly, and/or to invite others into the process as needed.

Q: How long will the Process Team’s work take? A: Several organizational experts say the work will take longer than one year.

Q: It seems like a long process for the PT to do its work. What will happen meanwhile with community healing and trust if the IB is only focusing on finance, legal matters, etc.? A: The listening, healing and learning process is already underway in many places and environments. The PT will build on this and foster communication with the community and also with the IB. The IB and PT are encouraged to work in tandem.

Please Note: The following Q&A is the last addition to this FAQ by the Transition Task Force.

Questions About the Following Statements by the TTF

The PT is not a mandala[-wide] decision-making body. Its job is to listen, sense, and explore, to prototype and eventually make recommendations.

The term of the PT is one year – Shambhala Day 2019 to Shambhala Day 2020.

The TTF is also creating a Mandala Linking Network to ensure ongoing communications between the PT and the leaders of key areas within the Shambhala mandala.

Summary of Key Points

  1. The PT is not an administrative body. It has no decision-making authority over any other part of Shambhala. Importantly, no other body has decision-making authority over the PT, including the IB. This is an unusual situation in Shambhala. But we believe this liberates the PT to be a voice for the wisdom of the community.

  2. While the TTF created the PTSC to coordinate the activity of the wider PT, and offer guidance, the overall PT will have to establish its processes, set its scope, and care for its own members.

  3. The role of the PT is to:

    1. be in conversation with the entire Shambhala community,
    2. amplify the wisdom of that conversation, and, based on that wisdom,
    3. make recommendations and collaborate with various parts of the whole mandala. The PT can and should work with center directors, regional directors, the Interim Board, acharyas, pillar leadership, the potrang, and/or any other groups within the worldwide Shambhala mandala.
  4. The Mandala Linking Network was designed to be a conduit for communication between the PT, as coordinated by the SC, and leaders around the mandala. The network was created in response to suggestions from PT applicants with experience in organizational change – that there should be formal communication links between the PT, leaders, and other constituencies in Shambhala. Creating such facilitating mechanisms was within the purview of TTF. The MLN does not supervise or otherwise direct the work the PT. Rather, it is a resource for engaging leaders and representatives of constituencies within Shambhala in the overall process of the PT. [Please note: the PTSC is still discussing how or whether to consult with a particular “Mandala Linking Network,” as suggested here. Updates will be posted.]

  5. The Sakyong has legally given up his authority to appoint and remove members of the board until the one-year term of the Interim Board ends. As far as the TTF knows, he has made no statement about what he plans after that. It is anticipated that at the conclusion of this year-long period whomever is designated to lead the Sakyong Potrang, will work with the Interim Board and the Process Team toward the result of a strong, healthy, and diverse organizational structure for Shambhala.

  6. The PT has decision-making power within its organizational work, which will arise from a collaborative process. It does not have decision-making power to implement or institute change at a mandala-wide level. The role of the PT is to identify and amplify the wisdom that exists in our community and to bring forward approaches that could be implemented. The PT will engage the community in a process of dialogue and exploration. From this, wisdom and models to prototype will arise. This will require cooperation within the PT, with the sangha, and with key leaders and other Shambhala voices. The more “Like a star in the sky” recommendations are, and the more the voices of the community and key leaders converge on any given recommendation, the more likely they will result in eventual implementation.

  7. Time Frame of PT. The one-year “term” of the PT indicates a time for review, not dissolution. In consultation with members of the SC and other organization change consultants, the TTF chose one year. Rather than have an open-ended term, the TTF determined it was important and kind to set some sort of time frame to ground the work of the PT. We recognize that some recommendations may be ready in less than a year, some in more than year. One year is a checkpoint for assessing where the PT is and what needs to happen going forward. In all likelihood, some of the work of the PT will need to continue beyond this time frame.

Specific Questions

Q: Why has the TTF decided that “mandala wide decisions” around changes to our culture and governance are not the purview of the PT? If they aren’t within the PT’s scope, than who is the decision making body? A: There is no decision-making body at this time for mandala-wide change in the topic areas of the PT: healing, culture change, governance structure, and community building. The IB is responsible for the fiduciary and legal oversight for Shambhala. The PT’s purpose is develop processes for listening, exploring, and discovering local, regional, and mandala-wide voices and needs toward effective change. The SC is about helping to coordinate these processes toward mutual agreements and recommendations and to help create the best possible conditions for implementing them.

Q: To whom do we make our recommendations? Without the Sakyong, and without a Council (The IB’s scope is limited) it is not clear where our work leads. A: This is a complex question. The PT can work immediately with the current institutions in Shambhala: the IB, the center directors, the acharyas and shastris, the Kasung, and directly with the community and the potrang. Moreover, through the process work of the PT, it is likely that certain ideas will become recommendations that are clearly helpful to implement. The SC is the coordinating body for these recommendations. Some may be mandala-wide, some regional, some local. It is anticipated that the steps needed to realize this will be through the PT’s work, the SC’s coordinating efforts, and ongoing open communication with sangha, key leaders and voices of Shambhala. It will require mutual effort.

Q: The Interim Board is in place until October of 2019. What then? A: The Sakyong has stepped back from the legal and financial decision-making now held by the Interim Board. It is unknown what will happen after the IB’s one-year term.