SWIMMING AGAINST THE CURRENT
By DR. JESUS P. ESTANISLAO
IT may be relatively easy to put forward a few transformative changes our country needs to bring about, e.g. that instead of being looked down upon, the Filipino should be looked up to with some
reasonable respect, at least in the next five decades.
But it is another matter, and much more difficult, to start specifying strategic priorities that our country needs to focus on pursuing, if we are to bring about those dreamed of transformative changes. But there is no other way; we just have to face up to this governance challenge, and start specifying strategic priorities.
Under the Learning and Growth perspective of any governance and transformation program, we are reminded of the fundamental importance of human resources: we have to nurture them, husband them, invest on them, and make them yield highly significant returns over time.
There is always the danger, however, that in the case of a country, we take “human resources” as one more macro-economic element, i.e., as one to worry about: how do we provide for it, feed it, send it to school and provide livelihood opportunities for it, and manage the footprint it makes on our limited natural and economic resources. In fact, this has been the mind-set of many, who are under the influence of economists.
In governance, however, there is a more natural tendency to cascade down to the last individual. Thus, the human resource perspective is brought down to the most micro-economic level, i.e. down to the level of an individual. And the question here is no longer one of worry; it is in fact a more positive outlook, and the question becomes: how can we make each individual the ultimate governance asset. In terms of our country, that question becomes, how can we make every Filipino the ultimate governance asset of the Philippines.
To such a positively challenging question, governance practice has an answer: get every individual – ndeed, get every Filipino, or at least as many Filipinos as is reasonably possible – adopt and use a personal scorecard as a concrete and specific tool for personal betterment in all the key aspects of life. And it is this answer that brings up the first strategic priority we need to focus on as a country: get the use and observance of a personal scorecard as wide and as deep as possible.
Wide: our ambition has to be to seed every institution and every enterprise in all sectors (government; business; and civil society) with a commitment to promote personal governance, i.e. get governance principles and best practices adapted to the multi-faceted circumstances of individual Filipinos.
Deep: adoption of a personal scorecard is not a matter of superficial pro-forma compliance. Rather, it has to lead, prod, and motivate every Filipino to take on the challenge of continuing personal development in all aspects of life. These aspects start with the material, i.e., physical well-being and obtaining a reasonable level of income, with which to live a decent and more than humane life. They include all the aspects related to one´s personal development: education, professional knowledge and skills, and cultural enrichment. Then, they rise to include all aspects of personal relationship: the family; citizenship within a community; stewardship over the environment, and the all-embracing acceptance of God as father and provider.
The good news: personal scorecards are already being used in enterprises with active governance and transformation programs, and to very good effect. The bad news is that up to now there are still too few of such enterprises.
The coast is thus clear for this first strategic priority: simply multiply the enterprises actively promoting the use of personal scorecards.