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Real Strategists

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By: Claudia Debler Berentsen
English translation by: Marta Patiño Capdevila
September 5, 2013 

What we, as Mexicans, need is real strategists. The Chinese philosopher, Sun Tzu, emphasized in his masterpiece “The Art of War”, that the art of strategy is essential for the country. It is a matter of life and death, the road to security or ruin. He was convinced that if rules were followed and people were sincerely loyal and committed, plans and arrangements could be firmly implemented. Facing the setback, what Mexico needs is public servers who are experts in planning and leading operations, not improvising magicians.

We are certainly not at war, but we face a drifting unsuccessful state. The people who govern, judge and organize, based on their issued norms ought to be able to serve according to an accurate assessment which enables them to establish clear, viable, unique, and tenable goals.

Major companies and organizations carry out this planning on a daily basis; I don’t see why Mexico, since it relies on public resources, shouldn’t feel compelled to do the same.

Moreover, it is no surprise that the scarce planning will fail for being unsuited: wrong diagnosis are made, the core of the problem is unknown, misguided goals are set, the budget does not cover the needs, follow-up work detecting major errors in order to readdress actions are rarely done, and clear indicators that allow an overview into the future are far from being established. The implementation of the scarce planning is inadequate because time, financial and human resources and skills are generally overestimated; either because of lack of knowledge or lack of will, and, truly, to buck the system.

The Federal Executive Branch, in my opinion, has made much progress in this regard, unlike the state and municipal governments and the other two branches of the Federal Government. In 2011, the Centro de Estudios Espinosa Yglesias (CEEY) assessed the Puebla State Development Plan, giving it a 4.33/10 grading. The experts who conducted such evaluation agreed that the plan lacked an accurate diagnosis, and poorly defined priorities, deadlines and people in charge. The same results are highly plausible if the exercise were to be carried out in other states.

Recently, it was made public that approximately 4 out of 10 municipalities in Mexico report a high debt rate and lack the funds to pay it off. In the face of this very poor scene, I am certain that an important part of the actions that the municipal councilors committed to lead will not be fulfilled.

The Federal and State Legislature, on its behalf, defines its function based on party interests, which are not always the same as the citizens’. With the exception of the Congress of the State of Puebla, which recently modified its Fundamental Law to force representatives to introduce an action plan before they start their parliamentary term, congressmen hardly translate their campaign proposals into specific, planned, or measurable actions by the end of their term in office.

I don’t know if it is an issue of professional deformation, but I am convinced that to the lawyers, who should be strategists by nature, it’s difficult to plan, especially because they don’t feel the need to give explanations and refuse to be scrutinized. It is my opinion that something similar happens to the Federal and State Judicial Systems, which are run by lawyers.

Although it’s true that The President of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, consequently Chief Advisor of the Federal Judicature Council, introduces some general lines of action according to which he will perform his function, this document is far from what would formally be referred to as strategic planning.

Without planning there is no certainty, only setbacks and in rare cases, strokes of luck. Mexicans cannot afford to keep supporting a State that will not take seriously the duty of guiding the Country towards a better future.


* The author (@Caludia333) is a researcher in the area of Public Policies in the Centro de Estudios Espinosa Yglesias (CEEY); Lawyer with two Master’s degrees in Fundamental Rights and International Development.

All opinions expressed are those of the author. Strategy Business Group Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.

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