Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The efficient but ineffective PAP



                                          Memory of Deyi 4

The efficient but ineffective PAP

At the Deyi Nomination Centre, you could see the organization efficiency of the PAP and the inefficiency of the oppositions. However, when came to effectiveness, it seemed to be the reverse.

Peter F. Drucker, a 20th century Austrian social scientist and author of many books on organizational management said that businesses should strive for effectiveness in contrast to mere efficiency. A quote from Drucker's book, The Effective Executive, says that "Efficiency is doing things right, effectiveness is doing the right things."

Doing things right

Efficient supporters doing things right
Efficient supporters doing things right

The PAP has an excellent grassroots support and is able to send many people to the nomination centres on the nomination day. They did it in an efficient way, dividing into different GRC, SMC teams and arranging different time for them to march into the nomination  centres.  Days   before the nomination day, the PAP already did the planning asking supports from the PAP branches, NTUC and even RCs or CCCs. 
LKY even said that PA was also part of the PAP.
                                                                       
These people (I don’t like to use the word ‘supporters’ as I believe some may not vote for the PAP eventually) were given some incentives to attend the nomination day event. Transport and food were provided as the PAP could get sponsors easily.

Due to efficient management, these people were disciplined and obedience.  Some could not take the heat and ambulance had to be called. And most of them are not working like housewives, retired persons. Of course, there were some die-hard supporters who took leave.

Doing right things

Effective supporters doing right things
Effective supporters doing right things

On the other side, you could see supporters of the oppositions coming in alone, 2 or 3 or in a group 5 or 6. Although some supporters came in blue, however, most of them wore different colours.  

They could only form part of the school field at Deyi Secondary School. However, when came to shouting for supports. The opposition supporters were united and cheered for RP, SPP and WP candidates.  If you look at the YouTube video, you will know what I mean. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsJtBeQLvgE

Almost all the PAP candidates only looked at their own supporters when they made their speeches.  That included PM Lee. Sometimes, the shouting was so loud that you could not hear the speeches of the PAP candidates. 

While there were many PAP people there, but they were ‘speechless’, “soundless’; there were no cheer leaders; and they did not even look like a united force even though all wore white.  

2 examples of efficiency and effectiveness

You can find many descriptions and examples in modern management books and publications about efficiency and effectiveness. Here are 2 examples:

<<For example 1, think of a company that was successfully making buggy whips as automobiles became the mode of transportation. Assume that the processes used to make buggy whips were perfect. The relationships of internal and external suppliers and customers were perfect. The suppliers and customers teamed together to make perfect buggy whips. The buggy whips were delivered on or ahead of schedule at the lowest possible cost. This company was very efficient. However, the company and its strategists were not very effective. The company was doing the wrong things efficiently. If they had been effective, they would have anticipated the impending changes and gotten into a different market.

Let's consider a surgery example 2. A surgeon is very skilled, perhaps the best in the country. The impending job is to operate on the patient's left knee. However, the surgeon doesn't perform all the steps of the process leading up to the surgery. Someone else marks the right knee for surgery. However skilled this surgeon is, however fast he performs the surgery (i.e., however efficient he is), this process will not be effective. When the patient awakens from the surgery, he will not be a happy camper. And what about the HMO? Who will pay for a surgery performed on the wrong knee? >>



If you link the 2 examples to the PAP

Example 1:

The buggy whips (like the PAP people) were delivered on or ahead of schedule at the lowest possible cost. (It might be no cost at all as they are many willing sponsors). This company (like the PAP) was very efficient.

However, the company (like the PAP) and its strategists were not very effective. The company (like the PAP) was doing the wrong things efficiently. If they (the PAP) had been effective, they would have anticipated the impending changes (expectation, desires of Singapore voters) and gotten into a different market.

Example 2

Someone else (like the PAP CEC) marks the right knee (wrong strategies) for surgery. However skilled this surgeon is (the powerful PAP), however fast he performs (getting people to nomination centres) the surgery (i.e., however efficient he is), this process will not be effective. When the patient awakens from the surgery, he will not be a happy camper. (When the Singapore voters awake, they are very angry)

Why rally turnouts were so different?

The first example is about manufacturing - hardware and the second is talking about care – software (hearts).

There is a limit to the PAP’s efficiency.  When you need a participation of 10,000, 20,000 or 100,000 people, you need effectiveness.  There are common values or meanings for people to participate in a mass rally.  Just like a football match, you could see the difference between Singapore lion vs. Malaysia tiger and the S-league matches.  Why the former could get a big turnout?

There was no problem for the PAP to get 1,000, 2,000 or even 5,000 to their rallies.  But there is a limit on hardware (sponsored logistics) and software (willingness to come).  

If you consider Jasmine revolution, people who stood against the authority were equipped with poor weapons or no weapons at all.  But how come an inefficient group of people could become an effective force to overthrow the establishments? 

Any implication for PE2011

Singapore voters expect a contest for the coming PE.  If we do have the opportunity to vote, candidate(s) who stand against the powerful Tony Tan may have to take lessons from the GE2011 and turns the inefficient disadvantage to an effective emotional campaign
 
Among the potential candidates, Tony Tan has the best support and most efficient campaign machinery, but whether he also has the effective software to attract voters and win their hearts or not, we will have to wait and see.  He has already begun in his soft approach by caring for a child, giving speeches, lunching with bloggers and even attending religion event.

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