Pursuing excellence

Always articulate, Dzongsar Jambyang Khentse Rinpoche has spoken his heart out on several pertinent themes, including the roles and responsibilities that we shoulder. Rinpoche has said and reiterated that at the end only we, the Bhutanese are responsible for Bhutan. Further, Rinpoche mentions that the present inertia or lack of striving for excellence seems to pervade all aspects of life in Bhutan. This is also something that His Majesty the King reminds us at all possible occasions; we should not be content that we are doing as well as our neighbors, but strive to do better with excellence as the target. Further, His Majesty has constantly spoken about the need to make up what we do not have in numbers, through quality. 
While there are several reasons for the civil service reforms, inculcating the spirit to pursue excellence in our civil servants is definitely one of the reasons. Though, senior civil servants were assessed and managed out, the cascade affect is still there, trickling down to even the support staff. Civil servants and employees from other agencies and corporations today say they have no time to attend social calls and that they cannot just walk out of a meeting. Reports on any event which earlier used to be accepted without any comments from the superiors are now scrutinized and if not up to the mark, people  are made to work again. Some are also worried that the hammer would fall on them next.
From these responses, we can at-least conclude that there certainly were deficiencies in the ways the civil service functioned and that excellence or striving for it was left at the doorsteps. If civil servants today say that their tables are full, it means that the same tables were either empty or just half filled earlier. It means that there were responsibilities which were either not delegated at all or left at the sidelines. In simple words, there was sufficient work. While some gave everything, others relaxed.
With the media unable to literally penetrate into the rooms of the reform team, we do not know what is happening. Perhaps, in the next few days we may get a one-page redundant press release, reiterating that the exercise to make the civil service excellent is ongoing. But from what we hear and also witnessed, everyone is on their toes. Critics of the assessment exercise still tell their tales. However, looking at how almost everyone in government agencies are working, it indicates that lessons have been learned. Those who earlier thought that tasks given were beyond their capacity have realized that there is nothing that cannot be done. Young civil servants are learning and they are guided, which is very vital as they are the future of the country.
Thus, from one prism we can also say that the pursuit of excellence is on board. And excellence does not just mean doing one’s job and resting. It means finding the innate strengths one has; imbibing those that one does not have and utilizing this to the optimum level possible. It may be difficult, but not impossible.