August 11, 2015
COMMENT: Both Prime Minister Najib Razak and Chief Secretary Ali Hamsa are exponents of INSEAD’s Blue Ocean Strategy for our civil service since the day they assumed office. What is Blue Ocean Strategy?
I did not know what they were talking about. So I googled and found out that:
The book is divided into three parts:
1. The first part presents key concepts of blue ocean strategy, including Value Innovation – the simultaneous pursuit of differentiation and low-cost – and key analytical tools and frameworks such as the strategy canvas, the four actions framework and the eliminate-reduce-raise-create grid.
2. The second part describes the four principles of blue ocean strategy formulation. These four formulation principles address how an organization can create blue oceans by looking across the six conventional boundaries of competition (Six Paths Framework), reduce their planning risk by following the four steps of visualizing strategy, create new demand by unlocking the three tiers of non-customers and launch a commercially-viable blue ocean idea by aligning unprecedented utility of an offering with strategic pricing and target costing and by overcoming adoption hurdles. The book uses many examples across industries to demonstrate how to break out of traditional competitive (structuralist) strategic thinking and to grow demand and profits for the company and the industry by using blue ocean (reconstructionist) strategic thinking. The four principles are:
- how to create uncontested market space by reconstructing market boundaries,
- focusing on the big picture,
- reaching beyond existing demand and
- getting the strategic sequence right.
3. The third and final part describes the two key implementation principles of blue ocean strategy including tipping point leadership and fair process. These implementation principles are essential for leaders to overcome the four key organizational hurdles that can prevent even the best strategies from being executed. The four key hurdles comprise the cognitive, resource, motivational and political hurdles that prevent people involved in strategy execution from understanding the need to break from status quo, finding the resources to implement the new strategic shift, keeping your people committed to implementing the new strategy, and from overcoming the powerful vested interests that may block the change.
In the book the authors draw the attention of their readers towards the correlation of success stories across industries and the formulation of strategies that provide a solid base to create unconventional success – a strategy termed as “blue ocean strategy”. Unlike the “red ocean strategy”, the conventional approach to business of beating competition derived from the military organization, the “blue ocean strategy” tries to align innovation with utility, price and cost positions. The book mocks at the phenomena of conventional choice between product-service differentiation and lower cost, but rather suggests that both differentiation and lower costs are achievable simultaneously.
The authors ask readers “What is the best unit of analysis of profitable growth? Company? Industry?” – a fundamental question without which any strategy for profitable growth is not worthwhile. The authors justify with original and practical ideas that neither the company nor the industry is the best unit of analysis of profitable growth; rather it is the strategic move that creates “blue ocean” and sustained high performance.
The book examines the experience of companies in areas as diverse as watches, wine, cement, computers, automobiles, textiles, coffee makers, airlines, retailers, and even the circus, to answer this fundamental question and builds upon the argument about “value innovation” being the cornerstone of a blue ocean strategy. Value innovation is necessarily the alignment of innovation with utility, price and cost positions. This creates uncontested market space and makes competition irrelevant.”‘-wikipedia
So Blue Ocean Strategy is about corporate governance and making your competition irrelevant. Of course, it can be adapted for civil service management.But it cannot be mere sound bytes. Civil service reform is a serious business of making the civil service rakyat driven.
But look at the state of Malaysian civil service. From being one of the best in our region decades ago with English as the language of public administration, the PTD, as it is referred to, is now a laggard. Senior civil servants have become lapdogs of politicians in power.
Why? The reason is simple enough: bad leadership by Najib Razak as Prime Minister and by Hamsa Ali as Civil Service chief. In fact, Ali Hamsa is not an innovator, but just another run of the mill civil servant who got lucky.
Given the legendary excellence, professionalism and integrity of the Singapore Civil Service, what our Prime Minister said in Singapore about Malaysia sharing common aspirations on good governance sounds hollow. A bad joke, if you like. Latching on to Singapore’s success is a bad idea.
1MBD and related matters show that we have become a regional model what governance is not. It may be too damning for me to say that our country is a basket case of corruption and blatant abuse of power, but the truth is that we are under the leadership of Prime Minister. –Din Merican
Malaysia: Forgive Najib and Fawning Ali Hamsa for they know not what they are doing
by Jahabar Sadiq@www.themalaysianinsder.com
Over the weekend, Singapore celebrated its 50th year as an independent nation and both the Malaysian and Singaporean Prime Ministers toasted each other, writing warm messages in the main English dailies in both countries.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak wrote in Singapore’s Straits Times, and ended with the following paragraph.
“The reality is that we share your aspirations for good governance; for a strong, inclusive and sustainable economy based on sound fundamentals; and for stability, harmony and diversity.”
Perhaps Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa, the Chief Secretary to the Government, can then explain what good governance is when two senior officers from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) are treated as ping-pong balls for their “behaviour“.
The officers who were transferred on Friday to the Prime Minister’s Department – MACC Special Operations Division Director Datuk Bahri Mohamad Zin and Strategic Communications Director Datuk Rohaizad Yaakob – have since been reinstated following outcry that the move was a form of harassment amid the agency’s ongoing probe in a former subsidiary of government strategic investor 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
They were to have started new postings at the Prime Minister’s Department yesterday but had instead met with Ali, as well as the Director-General of the Public Services Department, where they were given the opportunity to explain their positions.
“It’s just how public officers should behave,” Ali told reporters yesterday at the civil servant’s Hari Raya gathering in Kuching, Sarawak.
Ali, however, would not elaborate on what sort of behaviour he meant and how it was wrong. The Head of the Civil Service also said that the transfers had “nothing to do with the investigation”, referring to the police’s probe into the MACC for alleged leaks of official information on 1MDB.
The shock transfer has further damaged the Najib administration, a week after the Prime Minister reshuffled his Cabinet, sacking UMNO Deputy President Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as the Deputy Prime Minister and party Vice-President Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal as a minister.
Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail was also removed from his post while the Special Branch chief had his contract ended.
In many ways, the MACC transfers and the July 28 sackings came as suddenly as 1MDB found itself with a new boss, banker Arul Kanda, last January 5.No matter how it is explained, it reeks of a government throwing tantrums and re-arranging the furniture of a sinking ship.
Yes, everything that Najib wrote is something that we all can agree on. But his government’s actions are taking us far and away from that, and confidence has evaporated.
Ali and the rest of the civil service have to do better than arbitrary transfers if they want Malaysians to retain whatever little confidence they have in the government. We have a trust deficit that keeps getting higher every day.
It is time the government walked the talk, be it on good governance or the already discarded catchphrase of People First, Performance Now. Mere words cannot match the deeds done.
* Jahabar Sadiq runs The Malaysian Insider.