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Do not go far!

Sep 30,2023 - Last updated at Sep 30,2023

Sometimes we cite examples from abroad to highlight the high level of performance in various sectors, in order to motivate ourselves to do something similar.

In our quest to develop ourselves and achieve the desired leap, we summon several global experiences that we find exemplary, such as the Japanese, Singaporean and South Korean experiences, and before them all, the Western experience in Europe and the Americas. “They do this and that,” we say, “so why do not we do what they do, or something similar?”

And there is nothing wrong with that, in principle, because one does benefit from the experiences of others. Truth is almost always relative, and things are measured by comparison.

However, the problem herein lies, at times, in the fact that what happens with others may not necessarily happen with us, and what applies to them may not apply to us.

For this reason, we say, let us not go far, and let us draw lessons and insights from what we ourselves have achieved and what we can achieve, and not from what others have done.

The important question here, therefore, is: do we have achievements and successes matching or exceeding those of others that can be a source of inspiration for us?

The answer is yes. There are many examples, primarily from the private sector.

For decades, the sector has been setting one model after another in outstanding performance that meets the highest global standards. Consider the outstanding level achieved by some restaurants, in terms of food quality, service and the elegance of the place. The same applies to hotels, banks, malls, companies, factories, offices, casinos and others.

What is offered in many of them competes with what is available in the most developed countries, and sometimes even surpasses it.

What is telling here is that what is being done is the outcome of Jordanian minds, hands and management; it is our own achievement.

Perhaps the chief executive officer of a hotel, restaurant, factory, or company at some point in time was a foreign expert. But soon enough our young men and women were quick to learn, fully grasping the components of efficient management and excellence, and then excelled in what they offered in terms of products and services.

The first million-dollar question here is: If our sons and daughters have excelled in the private sector and have provided us with what is equivalent to what the Singaporeans, Koreans, Japanese and others have provided, why did their counterparts in the public sector fail to do something similar? And why is the prevailing characteristic in the public sector stumbling and lagging behind?

The second million-dollar question is, can we draw lessons and insights from what our distinguished sons and daughters in the private sector have done, transferring their excellence to the public sector?

Of course, the answer to the first question is complex, and one of the most important factors is that the internal and external incentives for those working in the private sector are much stronger than the incentives for their counterparts in the public sector. Add to this the unfortunate fact that those who work in the public sector consider themselves untouchable regardless of their performance.

Furthermore, there are factors pertaining to the remarkable difference in mechanisms for selection, training, supervision, monitoring, and financial rewards in the two sectors.

As for the answer to the second question, it must be yes, a big yes!

Let us draw from and replicate our successful experiences in the private sector, as it is closer to us than any other international, or even regional, experience.

We are amply aware, of course, that the circumstances are different in the two sectors, as we have just stated, but bridging the gap is not impossible.

In addition, we should not forget that there are several outstanding experiences in the public sector itself that can be replicated and benefited from.

So, do not go far in search of inspiring success stories, as they are already among us.

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