Friday, July 30, 2010

Form to Transform!

Constant cabinet changes is only leading to constant lack of focus.

The continuous change in cabinets has become a source of ridicule and more important a source of agitation to many. This sarcasm has been intensified by the inability of various successive cabinets to speak of any significant achievements at all. If any, there are failures. Most important of all the failure to effect any true meaningful reform aimed at making the necessary adjustments for us to move ahead. In fact, it seems the primary objective of reform today is to lessen the state of backwardness we find ourselves in. It is no longer to make us move forward…at best it is to render us at least current!!!

The way I see it, a cabinet is a group of individuals who come together to effect a comprehensive plan that is interrelated and intertwined. The cohesive power of this group is the common good. A common good based on fact and realistic vision. In order for these individuals (whom we call cabinet) to deliver, they must go though the typical stages of any successful group formation. To borrow from Tuckman’s (and others such as M.Scott Peck) organization theory, the team must go through five stages:

1. Forming: where the team members have some initial discomfort with each other but nothing comes out in the open. They are insecure about their role and position with respect to the team.

2. Storming: where the team members start arguing heatedly and differences and insecurities come out in the open.

3. Norming: where the team members lay out rules and guidelines for interaction that help define the roles and responsibilities of each person. This corresponds to emptiness, where the community members think within and empty themselves of their obsessions to be able to accept and listen to others.

4. Performing: where the team finally starts working as a cohesive whole, and effectively achieve the tasks set of themselves. In this stage individuals are aided by the group as a whole where necessary, in order to move further collectively than they could achieve as a group of separated individuals.

5. Transforming: This corresponds to the stage of true community. This represents the stage of celebration, and when individuals leave, as they must, there is a genuine feeling of grief, and a desire to meet again.

Today in Jordan, we are still grappling with the storming and norming stages. The failure to accept and to listen to others is proving to be a staunch enemy that is preventing us from performing adequately in our plight to transform ourselves and our country. It is unfortunate that our inability to progress to the performing stage has become an all too familiar precursor for a cabinet change.

Therefore, it is extremely uncanny and unwise to dismiss the cynicism surrounding the revolving door of cabinets as simply “silly”. All we see are silos in action and no concerted cohesive efforts coordinated in a way to enable us to honestly speak of a properly functioning team of ministers.

I hope that next time we hear of a new cabinet, we remind ourselves that its formation is closely tied to performances that would eventually lead us to the transformation necessary to keep us not ahead of the game but at least in it.

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