Nsempiisms: When “on-going” means “going nowhere”

When I started my career, learning to stride the Unicorn in the city that Osagyefo built, I had a Technical Director whose brother still remains the spokesperson of the President who married a Ghanaian and who speaks the language of the country he lashes each day like a native parrot of that nation. He is reputed to have reminded people who asked him to step down that the monarch of that nation was as old as he was and wondered why they were not asking her to relinquish power too.

During my first week, per custom, my Director called me to his office to chat with me and give me some tit-bits for life. One of his key points was that I should stay away from stating ‘On-going’ under timeline or update columns in any minutes of meeting I sent. He indicated that by so doing, I would showing that I wasn’t a serious manager and not keen on delivery. He said the least I could do was to state the extent of delivery per the intended deadline, and to give a tangible update at any given time.

This key advice never left me. It reminded me of a statement by one of my lecturers at UST who said that seeing ‘et cetera’ in an answer or essay by a student made him angry and that indicated a lazy student who didn’t want to exert himself to research or think. He used to blurt out ‘Who is to find out the et cetera – me?’

The no-ongoing stance by Charamba made me wary of promising deadlines I wasn’t sure of. It made me very careful of promises. It helped me remember my promises because it pushed me to make few of them, knowing that I had to track them and deliver. Within the Unicorn, I learnt that efforts meant nothing; only results counted.

It is with this attitude and training that I made it a pastime to track a couple of the promises given by our politicians and our leaders. They have a penchant of pouring out promises like water from burst Ghana Water pipelines, not caring where the water flows to, knowing that no one will follow the gullies or gutters the water creates. If our leaders and officials knew that we would track and measure what they say against actual performance, they would say little and deliver on what they say.

Let me just leave you with an exercise: just go through speeches given over the past year on what was said would be done on housing, roads, schools and the economy. Just take three such stories and find out about performance versus promise. Keep tracking. That could be your civic responsibility.

That would be measuring performance. We require performance monitoring not only in our private spaces. We need same in the public arena. We need that in our politics.

For we cannot improve what we don’t measure. No on-going here, anymore.

Nsempiisms. My mouth has fallen.

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