Friday, October 22, 2021
HomeOPINIONLettersOPINION | BUREAUCRACY: KILLING SIMPLE PROGRESS

OPINION | BUREAUCRACY: KILLING SIMPLE PROGRESS

Management and Operations in this country are sadly in a state of ill-healthy, and no amount of generic treatment with modern tools like computers or social media, will fix our problems.

In fact, the application of these modern tools to our daily operations results in a hit-or-miss chance of generating benefits to the average citizens’ daily lives. Unfortunately, when it works it creates an explanation/impression that we have arrived and a similar level of service can be expected everywhere. Sadly, this has not been my experience to date.

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My recent visits to a number of government and commercial establishments reminded me how much further we still have to go. I was surprised to see a clerk writing a receipt by hand in triplicate, then enter the same information into the computer and await a manual approval by a supervisor. It was mind blowing!!

Another surprising and disappointing reality check was the fact that in one office, we had no way of accommodating someone in a wheelchair. In less than three minutes, I heard that “poor woman” apologize at least five times for just wanting to be herself and conduct a simple business transaction. We cannot allow ourselves to come this far to come only that far.

The number of times in one week I was told, “I only work here” or “I am only following the rule”, was disappointing. Let me now say this attitude is not limited to SVG but nonetheless it still is disappointing.

In today’s environment we must allow our people to understand the principles and processes to be implemented in order to succeed; we must empower our employees to evolve and grow. We cannot continue the practice of making line level employees feel powerless by continuing to allow superiors to override the principles we ask them to uphold. If all it takes to get routine administrative functions complete is to know whom the supervisor is and invoke his/her name, we will continue this heighten level of stagnation.

When discussing my frustration with these systems of patronage, over a Hairoun beer, I said, “I know the feeling.  I am not asking for anything special, all I want is the orientation package.” Well, this sparked a big debate, with a few of the guys on the block articulating the disappointing position that I was getting the orientation package, and I better get used to it.

After a few hours and more than a few more beers, we agreed that our people are not machines, and a top down bureaucratic management style supported by an organizational leadership philosophy of the boss is always right, is one sure way to continue the current level of stagnation. 

While we disagreed on who or what is the reason for our current state of affairs, we all agreed that in order for our people to grow into the transformational workers we need for the 21st century, management needs to set standards for the workers, hold them accountable and get out of the way.

Horatio, SVG 

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