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On the right track

Mar 04,2023 - Last updated at Mar 04,2023

The distinguishing pattern of most of our institutions, especially in the public sector, is regression, then decline, then incompetency. And this is sad.

Some institutions, however, proceed in the opposite direction, i.e. moving forward, keeping abreast of new developments, functioning effectively, and maintaining their quality performance. And this is pleasing.

Within the former context, that of regression and decline, the institution is born elegant, having the correct vision, the will to succeed, the right management, and the ambiance and glamor. 

It stays like this for about a decade or so, becoming an important societal arm, performing efficiently and bordering on being a success story.

Soon, however, and due to a lack of ongoing sustenance and development, as well as incompetent or bad management, it begins to slacken, regress, and then decline; often becoming a burden.

We have experienced such a pattern for so many years and in respect of so many of our institutions in so many key sectors: Health, education, the press and media, sports, scholarship and research, transportation, and services of all sorts.

Had it not been for such an unfortunate pattern, our society will no doubt be among the more advanced regionally and internationally.

As for the latter context, that of institutions that keep moving forward and performing effectively, we do have a number of these, thank God.

Some are born elegant and maintain such elegance, despite the challenges and inhibiting factors which affect all of our institutions; others are born with many crippling problems and challenges, but they soon overcome them, uplifting their level of performance and fulfilling their mission, goals, and tasks superbly.

Such success is primarily attributed to their enlightened management or leadership teams.

Among these institutions, to name a couple, are the Civil Service Department and the Department for Licensing Motorists and Vehicles, which offer quality services to so many people all year round and round the clock. 

When one is able to renew one’s driver’s license in under 10 minutes, the personal ID in 20, and the passport in an hour (for some, depending on how many people are requiring such services at the time, it could be a bit less or longer), and when the procedures are both clear and easy, when the work is conducted efficiently, and when the experience is pleasant; one knows first-hand that one is dealing with a successful institution.  

It is important for us to shed light on such success stories for a variety of reasons. One is to recognise effort and encourage those concerned to continue to push for excellence and quality services. Another is for us to know that there do exist several outstanding institutions in our midst, that the picture is not all grim, and that when we make it a priority and choose the right management teams, we are able to manage our institutions effectively.

In the case of the aforementioned two institutions, a great part of their success is due no doubt to the fact that they have been managed over the years by excelling officers from our security forces, who are known to be disciplined, efficient in what they do, desirous of development and capable of employing advanced technologies in performing tasks.

The most important reason for shedding light on such success stories is to enable us to study carefully the reasons that made such institutions successful so that we perhaps can transfer the good procedures, systems, and practices they have to the lesser successful institutions so that we reverse the regression and decline and uplift their performance.

After all, the transfer could be more easily implemented because it is internal, from within the same country and culture, and not from a world country whose experience might be difficult or even impossible to replicate.

Our successful institutions, which are on the right track, are a great asset; they should be identified, protected, supported, and enabled to transfer their success to other institutions.

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