FUNDAMENTAL values apply not only to individuals. They also apply to institutions. In both instances, whether for individuals or institutions, any center for governance and leadership should create the necessary conditions conducive for those values to become virtues.
For values to become virtues, individuals within governance units should give flesh and substance to those values in their day-to-day actions and decisions. Individuals need to observe them habitually in the discharge of their daily duties. Indeed, they have to make a habit out of translating values into concrete deeds in the ordinary course of carrying out their assignments and trying to meet their targets in their personal governance scorecards.
The four fundamental values that apply to institutions, particularly those that can be building blocks in the bigger task of nation-building, are the following: Commitment, competence, professionalism, and patriotism.
Commitment is loyalty to the institution of which we are a part, and to the bigger and higher cause (i.e. its core values, its mission and vision) it is trying to serve and pursue. It demands fidelity, or more simply faithfulness to our duties to act and perform according to the standards and targets that we have agreed to observe. It is to get ourselves counted due to our strong determination to deliver according to our word.
Competence is the higher ability to carry out our duties, using the knowledge and expertise that we can obtain as well as the technology and human networking that we can access. In a dynamic environment, the level of our competence needs to keep rising so that we can cope with the higher demands of a rapidly changing world.
Professionalism involves the special expertise we acquire through previous and continuous training in a given field of endeavor. In using such expertise, we need also to observe the standards of professional practice: These standards extend to specific ethical behavior, which always takes into consideration our need to be of service to those in need of our expertise and attention and our duty towards the institution we work for as well as the wider community we belong to.
Patriotism is love of country and of people: Their long-term needs and demands should always be on our radar screens. It calls for selflessness and big-heartedness to take into account the manifold challenges of the communities we live in, the sectors we are a part of, and above all the nation of which we should be responsible citizens. It asks us to contribute our utmost to the strengthening of institutions in our midst so they can become more effective and relevant instruments for promoting the general welfare of all of our people. Indeed, our love of country is a concrete manifestation of our love for the Almighty, the source and destination of everything we have and are.
Each institution is free to choose which specific aspect of these four fundamental institutional values it wishes to underscore. Each institution also has naming rights for those specific aspects of these four values it wishes to highlight. However, the center for governance and leadership in any institution can use these four values of commitment, competence, professionalism and patriotism as the reference for the core values it chooses to nurture and propagate as components of the institutional culture that it takes responsibility for.
By DR. JESUS P. ESTANISLAO