It was Samuel Smiles that once said:
“Sow a thought, and you reap an act;
Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap a character;
Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.”
Today, August 21, 2012, the nation mourns the loss of a well-loved man. My Facebook news feed is filled with news articles, anecdotes, and statements of regret for a man, many feel, had gone too soon.
Junior Chamber International (JCI), an organization I belong to, gave him two awards: The Outstanding Young Men in the Philippines in 1990 and Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World in 1994. These are awards given to those who have excelled in their fields. Their contributions should be significant enough to create a positive change in their communities.
What Made Sec. Robredo Special?
First, Metrics, Transparency and Accountability.
He believed that the citizenry has a right to know about its government’s transactions. Transparency allows people to understand government. The people can exact commitments from its servants provided they know what the success metrics are.
In short, government enters into a contract with its people on the things that it promises to deliver. Government also tells its citizens by what standard success or failure is to be measured.
Second, Citizen Engagement.
He believed in customer service. In the video below, he emphasized that the services are need-based. Government develops processes and capability so it can deliver those needs.
He also stated that PROCESSES are just as important as the OUTCOMES. Translated, it may mean that if I were the citizen, the manner I was served is AS IMPORTANT as the service I received because I have a stake in it.
Citizens have to be empowered, consulted, and be allowed to participate in the process of delivering outcomes. He not only wanted a government that was working, he also wanted to develop responsible citizenship.
This is a fresh perspective about government service, especially when the temptation is to be average and top-down.
Third, Loving Father
On the day his plane went missing, he was hurrying so that he could catch his daughter compete in a sporting event. He would have moved heaven and hell to be with the ones he loved on this long weekend. Part of his option was to take the bus going home if he took his previously-booked-commercial flight.
The consequence of leading using these paradigms.
In an article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Secretary’s concrete gains in local governance included, among others:
- strengthening local government with aptitude and competence;
- establishing a transparent merit-based hiring and promotion system in his local government unit;
- ridding the city of illegal gambling, smut, and jueteng; and
- winning the confidence of his constituents because he consulted them.
Just how is destiny created?
Stephen Covey has a proposition for it in his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind.
This habit is the habit of vision. It recognizes that mental creation PRECEDES physical creation. It is like that blue print we create before building the house of our dreams. It is what your child answers when you ask him or her what he wants to be when he or she grows up. It is that vacation you write down at the beginning of the year, that promised-spouse that you have been praying about, that career you have wanted to build, that community that you wanted to empower in more ways than one.
If none of those pegs were there, then routine takes place. Everyday living would then become total circumstances dictated by the external environment. The Locus of Control would cease to be internal and therefore, become less directed.
Sec. Robredo created a unique brand of government service first in his mind. He stuck by it even when he became part of the National government.
I guess that is why we feel his loss. Not many think like him.
Gone Too Soon
Yes, he has gone too soon. But his legacy stays on.
Rest in peace, Sir.
PS> Attributing the original photo of the Secretary from Team Robredo. Thanks