The DTI experience of team work » Manila Bulletin News

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Dr. Jesus P. Estanislao

By Jesus P. Estanislao

 

The small Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) communication team formulated a work program, which was evenly split between external and internal communication.

The external communication plank, as Jeanne Pacheco narrates it, had a very simple objective, which was “to increase people’s awareness of government programs” such as those of DTI, “whose ultimate goal was nothing less than helping to create a More Prosperous Philippines by 2016.” This did not look very earth-shaking or new, and so the team decided “to utilize traditional media in promoting awareness about DTI programs, projects, activities, plans, and policies.” In more concrete terms, DTI decided to use: “Quad media, 24/7 website, a DTI Call Center, social networking channels, email, SMS.” But the simple innovation the team made sure about was the following: There would be a dedicated small group that would focus on ensuring that all these would actually be transmitting regular, frequent, and up-to-date information and messages about what DTI was trying to accomplish in pursuit of its Vision, which is to help “create a More Prosperous Philippines by 2016.”

This innovation, however, had one critical, essential ingredient, that such information and messages would actually be available and ready for transmission to the general public. This is where the second plank, that of internal communication, took on great importance.

Before DTI could communicate anything about its internal accomplishments, it had to organize itself, systematically, such that outcomes would be actually delivered on schedule, preferably above target, and below budget, during each reporting period (in many instances specified as every quarter, or at least every semester). This is where the PGS comes in very handily. Each team, each unit within a division, each office all the way up to the Office of the Secretary would have — under the PGS — performance commitments and performance targets for every reporting period. These are assessed, and given a color code: “Green” for above target; “yellow” for being reasonably close to target; and “red” for the need of warning signals since the performance item was being way off target. Moreover, the performance targets were comprehensive. They included outcomes in every major area of DTI operations, from people, to internal core processes, to services to constituents, to financial results, and finally to socio-economic impact. By having such a trove of performance outcomes every quarter and every semester, the external communication group would have plenty of green-coded items to share with the general public. And all this would be possible if internal communications were also effectively being undertaken.

Jean Pacheco reports: “The following internal communication tools were used: DTI website/e-mail system; collateral materials (brochures, manual, posters, etc.); DTI publications and presentations (using AVPs; dialogues, fora, townhall meetings. In addition, there were regular staff meetings; even bulletin boards and elevator posters and other advisories, announcements were systematically put to use to exhort officers and employees to meet their performance targets. Furthermore, DTI used social media and social networking (through Facebook, Twitter, E-mail blast, text messages for internal communication. Even the regular Monday Flag ceremonies were tapped as a venue for internal communication. We took the attitude: “It is already there, so why not use it to good advantage?”

It is clear that the DTI communications team could not have undertaken its multi-faceted communication program, pitched to both external and internal constituencies, without the solid work that the PGS made possible as DTI pursued its long-term governance and transformation agenda. They had something awesome to share, and they proceeded to trumpet such performance accomplishment to the four winds.

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