In as much as all components of every system are equally important, some components are strategically formulated to strategically oversee a continuous improvement in business operations.
A Performance Improvement Coordinator (PIC) is one such office whose mandate can either improve effectiveness and efficiency or resign a business to such a normalcy without any hope of continuous improvement of clientele satisfaction.
At the highest level, the National Strategic Office coordinates the performance of national business programs, Ministerial PICs oversees business programs at a Ministry level, down to departmental PICs. In schools, such an office is referred to as a staff development office. This arrangement is very welcome as it reflects the significance of the office to any organisation. In the private sector, they are referred to as ‘Business Process Specialists’ or ‘Organisational Development Professionals’.
At a time when there are lots of reforms in our education system, aiming for improvement in the quality of education and training in order to strengthen the relevance of education and training so that we can be able to meet the demands of labour market, these strategic offices ought to come to the game.
The office cannot afford to relegate itself to ‘reporting progress’ as its main task. Predominantly, office bearers (PICs) turn to occupy themselves with matters of reporting at the expense of evaluating business performances and recommending improvements to achieve operational goals.
PICs ought to develop and implement performance improvement initiatives to meet business objectives. In my view, this should form the larger part of what a PIC must do.
They do it by reviewing existing business programs, policies and procedures, and recommend improvements. They also have to identify knowledge gaps and provide educational trainings for professional growth for the organisation human resource. PICs ought to facilitate the analysis of root causes of performance issues and suggest corrective actions.
Who then can effectively discharge these 21st century highly valued duties? I must state my opinion categorically that a person with only managerial qualities would add less value to this office. Someone who plays by the book will slow down implementation of
We need pragmatic leaders. We need leaders who can assess business risk and challenges and offer well calculated equivalent risky mitigating plans.
PICs must be ‘marketers’ in nature. One ought to convince staff members to implement reforms, believing that they would add value to an organisation. Thus, a performance improvement coordinator has to have some knowledge on change management.
In character, the office needs a good-natured, easy-going, cordial and affable character. An open-minded person who is willing to learn from others. A researcher who can cascade processes from one environment to the other.
I believe wholeheartedly that the transformation from a resource based economy to a knowledge based economy should first start within the basic education. It is this department that ‘catch them whilst they are young’. It is us who can lay the foundation for knowledge creation. It is us who can shed some light that our natural resources can be processed locally and create jobs in the process. This is the department that can help put our indigenous knowledge to good use.
By this, I am trying to encourage the business development professionals in the Ministry of Basic Education (MoBE) to introspect further as to what they can be doing to improve the department that they are leading. Staff development officers (schools) should be the source of inspiration to other staff members.
These officers must be ahead of things. They must oversee programs that increase efficiency, strengthen employee knowledge and abilities, improve school leadership and maintain health of these schools and departments.
In conclusion, allow me to acknowledge and appreciate the officers currently occupying the offices. Note that you are the ‘movers’ of your departments. Keep on developing yourselves professionally so that you can inspire others to do likewise especially at a time when implementation of a competence-based curriculum is in the offing. Remember, a Performance Improvement Coordinator is the cornerstone of any organisation.