Big wins through small teams » Manila Bulletin News



Dr. Jesus P. Estanislao

By Jesus P. Estanislao


It is amazing what small teams can accomplish; they can win big.

In the case of the Department of Trade and  Industry (DTI), particularly its Office for Strategy Management (which until today is still referred to as DTI’s Corporate Planning Service or CPS), this saying was substantiated. “We took this adage to heart,” says Jeanne Pacheco, the head of the CPS. Jeanne narrates: “We looked at the multiple demands of the performance governance system we decided to adopt, and we focused on the need for external (and internal) communication. We then organized a small creative team within DTI to take on such a critical assignment.”

This small team, which drew its membership from the CPS itself, the Knowledge Management Information Service, and the Human Resource Administrative Service, had to take the first step, i.e. fully absorb and understand the strategy map DTI adopted under its governance and transformation program. After the members of the team got to know each other better, they agreed to test whether they could meet the first hurdle, which is that they all should have a full grasp of the DTI strategy map. Moreover, they had to make sure that they had a common understanding of what the strategy map demanded. It soon became very clear to every member of the team that they had “to prepare a strategic communications plan, and to establish protocols or systems for regular communication, including feedback mechanisms, to communicate the Prosperity Plan to both internal and external stakeholders.” Jeanne noted:

“The team got to appreciate its main role, which is to “lead the advocacy for the DTI Prosperity Plan,” which is how the DTI governance and transformation program was called.

  • “This small team was cognizant of the change agenda: transform the organization from a “Do and Do” enterprise to one which is more like “Do and Tell.” In other words, “DTI had to communicate and share with all its stakeholders what strategies it was pursuing, what metrics of performance it was using, and what performance standards it was meeting during each relevant reporting period.”

No one else at DTI would take up the cudgels for such a wide-ranging communication initiative: The team had to be in the forefront. This meant that the team had to work, in close solidarity with other DTI offices, such that “DTI would increase its visibility, and in the process also provide meaningful and useful information about the DTI Prosperity Plan, with its more specific components. For instance, DTI needed to make consumers more aware of their rights and responsibilities to protect them against unscrupulous businesses, and let them know of their options for redress. DTI also needed to spread the good news about entrepreneurship so that many more Filipinos may venture into it and thereby create jobs and generate income. Moreover, DTI needed to keep businesses competitive by providing information and other facilitation services that could increase their profitability, productivity and efficiency, and access to new markets.” By going into the specifics of its communication challenge, the team was awed by its magnitude.

This was the time — the time of awe — to bestir the members of the team, and to remind them of the DTI adage under its governance and transformation program: “Doing good; being felt; and making a difference.” This looked to them as the perfect description of the job the team had to take on; and indeed, they decided to take it on.

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