Wake Up, Philippines!

Resolution in Governance

Posted in Governance by Erineus on February 11, 2009

IN the end, a governance scorecard, as a tool for performance monitoring and as a prod for making necessary adjustments, is mainly about taking the next necessary steps. It is about making resolutions and then carrying them out as quickly and as effectively as possible. It is about keeping our commitments fresh and operative. It is about producing breakthrough results.

This has been our bane. We start with grandiose hopes. We make splashy announcements about the programs of action we aim to undertake. We meet obstacles along the way. We lose heart. We let slip from our radar screens the commitments we made to produce results. We end up with very little positive results from the programs of action we had announced. They end up, with no fanfare whatsoever, in the dustbin of history.

For our nation’s sake, we have to do everything possible to do things differently. Based on regular performance reports, we need to determine what we did badly, what we left undone, and what we could have done much better. The first two of these are straightforward: We make a checklist of the corrective actions we must take and then make sure someone is responsible for doing them. The third requires a bit more thinking: There can be a thousand and one ways of doing things better. Are we getting stuck in routine? Have we allowed ourselves to fall into a rut? Are we getting so thick in the head that we are failing to take advantage of opportunities opened up for us? Are we spending too much time on matters that have little relevance to the strategic priorities already laid out? The questions are endless. They can go on and on. However, we should quickly get the drift of these questions and start making fresh resolutions.

Experience has shown, however, that resolutions are broken almost as soon as they are made. The trick, then, lies in the frequency with which we do reviews, which are the occasions for making a fresh determination and renewed commitment to action. Strategic reviews are long and detailed once a year. A shorter, more sharply focused version is best once a quarter. Performance reviews are de rigueur once a month. However, the closer we are to home, the more frequent are the performance reviews. At the unit level, ideally they are done weekly. At the personal level, ideally they are done daily. All these need not take too much time. For instance, the daily performance review at the personal level should take no more than three minutes, preferably towards the end of the day.

Who among those running for president in 2010 would have the ability, willingness, and determination to take on such a systematic approach towards undertaking performance reviews, which are the occasions for making resolutions and then acting on them? Who would have the patience to use the governance scorecards as tools for acting on the resolutions made? Who would have the character and stamina for rallying the people working at different levels of government as well as the different citizens’ groups so they do their utmost best to keep their resolutions and act effectively on them? Who would punish those who constantly fail? Who would reward those who turn in sterling performance habitually?

We need to put in place an accountability system, which rewards and punishes fairly and positively. This is necessary for governance scorecards to help us achieve breakthrough results. We also need a system to help us keep our resolutions and act on them. This is essential for us to get out of the bane that has been bringing us down perennially, and for us to achieve the boon that can bring us up at last.

Who among those running for president is most likely to put in place such an accountability system? Who would be the most committed to put in place a system to help us all to carry out our resolutions?

Author: Dr. Jesus P. Estanislao
Source: http://www.mb.com.ph/archive_pages.php?url=http://www.mb.com.ph/issues/2009/02/07/OPED20090207147528.html