Leading the future with good governance

Wednesday, 21 January 2015 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Leadership inspires. Leadership create futures. New leaders have been chosen, some leaders have been re-appointed. Some are still waiting to be selected. They all share one thing. One beautiful vision! During the recent presidential election, Sri Lankan people united to vote for change; to change the way things are done, to welcome a leadership that promoted good governance   They all are willing to lead the country forward. Only to pay back what they have gained as citizens of this country, not to make money out of it, or not to make a name out of it. They do not expect anything but the commitment and support from everyone who can help to implement the vision. It sounds like a dream. It is the beautiful dreams of good governance creeping through the air, above this small island. Changes don’t happen overnight. They take time. But good governance can start now, or it may already have started. Let the wind blow through every little corner of the country calling for good governance, and ensure the need is realised by people at every level.   The need for change During the recent presidential election, Sri Lankan people united to vote for change; to change the way things are done, to welcome a leadership that promoted good governance. Government pledged to uphold good governance and build a new country with fairness, law and order and no corruption. It is true that some Sri Lankans might not even have had proper understanding what good governance is when they were crying or it, but they all screamed for one thing, a complete transformation in the system that governed them. Citizens of Sri Lanka voiced for ethics, fairness, responsibility and unity in diversity. They called for an environment where corruption is just a word in the dictionary and where law and order is maintained. They screamed for one thing and only one thing, a paradigm shift towards a new system, to stop the system that existed where fairness have been questioned continuously with favouritism and nepotism, and the law and order was treated as decisions taken by few individuals.   What is good governance? As highlighted by W.A. Wijewardena in the Daily FT My View on 4 May 2011 in his article ‘Good governance should come from the heart,’ governance is simply the way, an individual, an organisation, or a company or a government relates himself or itself to those who are interested in his or its affairs. The world famous economic strategist Kaufmann defines governance as the institution building and tradition that end to distinguish how power or authority is exercised in a country. International authorities define good governance in terms of social, political and economic structures, and policy development for eliminating corruptions, providing equal rights, establishment of ethical code of conduct, and cultivating fairness. Here we are looking for simple changes in the system. People feel good or bad based on the way they are treated. How a government relates to them and how they treat them is what contributes to the sustainable development and peace. Kaufmann confirms that economists and development experts have proven good governance as a pre-requisite for sustainable development, even though some experts argue that dictatorship has also helped in achieving accelerated economic growth, in countries like Uganda, Singapore, China and Malaysia. But it has been proven that pure dictatorship will never bring a long lasting solution, if there is no team established to take the country forward.   Good governance starts from the family Think about the family, where good governance starts. Think of you as the individual influencing others in the family. Think how you would take actions to ensure happiness of your family. Would you dictate your views on your children, your partner? Would you misguide them, hide actual situation and present something else? Would you ignore your responsibility to provide a good governance system? If you encourage good governance in the family you would have a system where everyone has access to the truth, everyone is treated fair and with respect, where accountabilities are clear, you can be happy you start the process of upholding good governance at home.   Good governance at work Workplace is where individuals are affected by the behaviours and attitudes of the others. It is a place where diversity is encouraged, and the fairness and respect leads. Accountabilities will be clear and the communications happens smoothly with transparency to the employees and the shareholders. Leaders who appreciate good governance will build it in to the system and the followers take it down through the hierarchy and ensure it’s implemented. In establishing organisational policies, leaders will focus on the key governance issues such as accountability, transparency, structure, roles responsibilities and the human rights and minority concerns. Work place complaints about absence of good governance will no longer be raised when it’s applied at the organisational level. People will complain less about governance and instead will actively get involved in craft strategies that entertain best governance practices.   Governance practices at community level In our interactions with others at home, at work, and also in the larger community and our country, good governance has to be maintained as it is a key pillar for success. With every little thing we do, if we can demonstrate that we are doing the right thing, we will be simply meeting the requirements of good governance. People need assurance that their questions are answered with fairness. They also need access to accurate information, justice, law and order, maintained for them to enjoy freedom. This is something we need to do at the community level to ensure good governance. Most of the incidents are reported today could have been solved locally, if they are managed in a fair and effective manner under a good governance framework.   Good governance for a new country With the recent change of the government of Sri Lanka, promises have been made to bring a new country in 100 days. Many questions were asked and answered. The most common question is: Can a country build a system where good governance prevail in such a sort time period like 100 days? As scope is not detailed yet, it is very much likely they meet the objectives. But the question still remains. Rather than having a negative thought that it is an unachievable target, there is another way to look at this. The 100-day work program might not bring solutions to every problem, but will build the foundation for introducing a change. It has many promises. If you put them all in to a logical framework, and analyse the purpose, outcomes, outputs and the inputs, you can see it all linked to a one big purpose: Creating a new country where everyone can live in peace and harmony. The plan should also detail the importance of green energy for sustainability. There is no doubt that this is a change that will transform the future of Sri Lanka, with support and commitment from its citizens, as establishing good governance has to be a collective effort of every citizen in the country. It is also important to note that good governance must start at the top, and then spread all around. The journey has started, let’s get in the bus or scream around it, to make our voice heard, until the good governance is in place for a sustainable future.   [The writer, PMP (USA), DBA (Australia), MEng.(Australia), is the Chairman of Global Institute of Project Management – Project Management Campus and the CEO of Innova Strategies Ltd. Dr. Fernando can be contacted via +94 714 447 447 or [email protected].]

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