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Hats off to UAE's quest for excellence in governance

sheikh mohammed, uae, excellence, governance

Far exceeding the global best practices, the UAE's pursuit of excellence is quick to reward merit as well as reprimand mediocrity.



By Vicky Kapur (From the Executive Editor's Desk)

Published: Sun 15 Sep 2019, 9:12 PM

August 28, 2016, is etched in the living memory of UAE residents with reverence and deference. Who doesn't remember those powerful images of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, making surprise early morning spot checks at various Dubai government departments on the first day after the schools' summer break?
A video of HH walking around an unmanned room with his portrait on the wall and an empty desk was later shared by the Dubai Media Office. That visit sent an unmistakable message: No one, barring no one, is above the discipline and a culture of punctuality and accountability that the government wants to instil among its cadres. Heads rolled the day after his visit when nine senior officials in a government department were ordered to retire by Sheikh Mohammed.
That exercise, undertaken more than three years ago, wasn't out of the blue. It is part of the Sheikh Mohammed management style: it's hands-on, it's participative, it's empowering, and it works. HH's progressive model of leadership, often referred to as the grassroots leadership style by management gurus, empowers every individual to share the responsibility of achieving excellence. Following his footsteps, the UAE government is aiming perfection in this model of collective leadership, where despite helming the quest for excellence, the leader not only empowers his team but also holds them accountable for excellence. What began as surprise checks by the respected leader three years ago has today culminated into a thorough benchmarking of 600 government service centres, with HH yesterday announcing the country's five best and five worst service centres.
Far exceeding the global best practices, the UAE's pursuit of excellence is quick to reward merit as well as reprimand mediocrity. HH announced a two-month salary bonus for the employees of the country's top five service centres while, at the same time, a change in management of the worst five centres. The UAE government has successfully implemented an exemplary service model nation-wide, diligently auditing the government departments and ensuring that their leaders are no less - actually more - engaged with their customers than private entities. In most nations, the private sector is a role model in customer satisfaction and excellence for the government sector to emulate. In the UAE, however, it is not a happy coincidence that it is the other way round. HH's tweet on July 1 this year was clear when he announced the benchmarking initiative. "My message to officials: We will not accept anything short of the 1st position globally in our services & facilities."
And that's exactly what the government centres have been aiming for. The UAE is a unique country where even our police stations and municipality centres ooze hospitality. It is not uncommon for tourists to mistake such government centres for a hotel or a tourist spot and walk into them to click selfies! Come to think of it, Arabian hospitality runs like blood in the veins of Emiratis. It is that hospitality, for visitors to ministries, government-run medical centres, post offices and social affairs centres, among others, that the government wants to showcase. As the UAE gets ready to welcome 25 million visitors in the 25 weeks between October 20, 2020, and April 10, 2021, there's no doubt that the country's pursuit of excellence in governance will continue to pay rich dividends in the future.


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