Friday, October 4, 2013

Problem-solving and leadership

“Filipinos not only tend to avoid conflict, but problems as well.” That came from a Dane at the “Asia CEO Forum’s Leadership Summit about Filipino idiosyncrasies.” [Manila Bulletin, Tricia V. Morente, 16th Sept 2013] “To make this place sustainable, we need to bring research and development to the country. We need to be engaged in that sector of the business. To make that happen, we need to develop local leaders.” And that’s from a Malaysian.
Problem-solving and leadership. Reflecting on them a bit, that was precisely the culture shock that hit me when my old MNC company moved me to the headquarters. And I didn't automatically get it. I remembered back in PHL we always were proud of “being resilient.” I finally realized that it was a euphemism for our instinct of inaction? And even the OFW and BPO phenomena happened because we didn’t want to pursue industrialization since it demanded opening up our economy to foreign investments and that would mean stepping on the toes of our cacique masters – our definition of patriotism? We like to write our own rules and so about morality, we would denounce in the strongest terms divorce, contraception and abortion but be in bed with oligarchy – to which Francis was critical because of his Latin American experience, while embracing a divorcee, for example, and describing himself as "I am a sinner"? Or to Rizal much earlier, we were backward, anti-progress, etc., etc.? And the proof is all around us?
We couldn’t or wouldn’t or shouldn’t act because we would be stepping on someone else’s toes? But we’re just being compassionate – and/or subservient to hierarchy? In short, is it simply the human condition – of taking the path of least resistance? The bottom line: We are economic laggards owing to our pathetic levels of investment, technology, innovation, education, product and market development – and the ultimate reward being underdevelopment?
Thus the only option left is fatalism because we’ve run away from problem-solving? And consequently we’re not developing leadership in Juan de la Cruz because followership comes hand in glove with our instincts? And so while we supply the greatest numbers of seafarers to the world, the Pinoy ship captain is the exception not the rule? And when we hear that the wealthiest Filipinos are the Chinoys, our knee-jerk is “man does not live by bread alone”? ‘Pinoy abilidad’ could make anything sound good, but it is not about setting higher goals?
It is a worldwide phenomenon that minorities in a country are motivated to excel because the cards are stacked against them. But that doesn’t mean the rest ought to just claim happiness? That is truly stretching Greek philosophy and yet we’d rather claim that we are among if not the happiest people on earth? Who cares if the world has reduced poverty and we can’t? As a consultant from Denmark explained, "We were reported to be the happiest people yet we have the highest suicide rate. It is about all those "freebies" that come with our socialist system, which we in fact pay for in higher taxes. But there must be a big bunch of freeloaders that give us the good rating and enough of those that give us the dreadful image. And Denmark’s population is less than 6 million." While a French-Canadian psychology guru offered, "the goal of our efforts must be the betterment of man."
With due respect, President Aquino’s credibility to the outside world may have gained sympathy but it has yet to win investors – because investment is not just soft, it is likewise hard, like the imperative of healthy returns. And so while we are riveted on the pork scam, we like to think that President Aquino’s “daang matuwid” per se would win the day? In a grade school experiment we first planted mongo seeds before we saw the sprouts? Put another way, some hypotheses or arguments that we may hold dear don't hold water? We need mass and weight to power a select few industry sectors and be globally competitive; unfortunately, we don’t see crab mentality when we spread resources thinly? And consequently we get feeble outcomes? And why in this blog Pareto's 80-20 rule is a recurring theme.
When I presented the case study of my Eastern European friends to the European culture-management community during their recent conference, I warned them upfront that the secret (in the former being named one of the EU’s best and fastest growing companies) was really very simple. During the conference we heard lots of theories and on the final day of the conference my goal was to demonstrate how a few select themes had delivered results – or what in this day and age Google calls analytics. But before the days of computing and communication, it was simply expressed as "separating the wheat from the chaff."

No comments:

Post a Comment