Corruption together with misuse, misallocation and waste of resources is primarily due to lack of accountability, according to the financial expert. “Accountability is the most important element in the public as well as the private sector for a country to be an effective democracy,” A.S. Jayawardena, retired governor Central Bank told Business Times on the sidelines of Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) Charter Awards 2009 on Wednesday.
He noted that there is a desire by all governments to end corruption, but it cannot be done by just identifying corrupt practices and punishing the wrong doers. “These will keep happening if there is no accountability,” he said adding that financial accountability in the public and the private sector is of paramount importance.
“There are billions of public money spent in the public sector, but how it is spent is not adequately explained to the public nor is how much is spent divulged,” Mr. Jayawardena said, delivering his address as the chief guest.
He noted that accountability in the financial sector is most important, because it is a sector which deals with money. “The main reason why this sector is so regulated is because there is a tendency (as was seen in the past) for these institutions to go overboard and collapse.”
Delivering the CFA Oration Dr. Mahesha Ranasoma, Country Chairman Shell Sri Lanka advised the CFAs to take accountability seriously and make a difference to their particular industries and professions.
He said the ability to accept change and effectively embrace change is a very important aspect that all must strive to achieve. Drawing from his personal experience Dr Ranasoma noted some critical success factors that worked for him such as a good, early education which had given him self confidence. “Self confidence must be built in one way or another as it actually goes a long way to stand for time valued principles such as integrity and respect for others,” he said, adding that it is paramount to have commitment to what you are doing.
“One needs to be ready to go through up and downs (with more ups than downs) be a team player, grab team leadership opportunities and sharpen leadership attributes, be a contributing member, learn from failures, be courageous and brave,” he said.
He noted that it is also important to acquire competences and use them skillfully. “Application is the most important thing and this is about making decisions and taking actions. It is by doing that we learn most. This cycle of doing and learning (and un-learning) helps us to be skillful and tap into our untapped capacity,” he said.
He also said that it is important to look for radically different ways of working, challenge assumptions, using diversity and inclusiveness as a source of strength, and not work in isolation, engage and collaborate with stakeholders for even more innovative decisions and actions.
“Nurturing emerging leaders, talent development actions are important. Own these activities, not leave to the HR department. Cultivate a sense of human resource management ownership with the line managers and hold them accountable.
This has helped me significantly in playing to strengths of people rather than trying to fix weaknesses of them. It is amazing how the same team of people can deliver a dramatically different result by re-organising their roles to play to their strengths,” he added.