L-R: Prof. Pat Utomi, Dr. Benson Oke, other top government officials in group photo with the trainees on Thursday.

By Kazeem Ugbodaga

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode and political economist, Prof. Pat Utomi on Thursday charged top civil servants in the state to acquire behavioural skills in order to change the way they use information and the way they create and evaluate options.

The duo spoke at a training for civil servants in Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria, saying that acquiring new skills and behavioural skills would enable them perform effectively in the discharge of their duties.

Speaking while declaring the training open, Ambode said to climb the corporate ladder and be effective in new roles, civil servants needed to learn new skills and “behaviours—to change the way they use information and the way they create and evaluate options.”

“Decision makers must gather and consider data before making a choice. Problem analysis involves framing the issue by defining its boundaries, establishing criteria with which to select from alternatives, and developing conclusions based on available information. Analysing a problem may not result in a decision, although the results are an important ingredient in all decision making,” Ambode said.

The governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions, Dr. Benson Oke said there was the need for senior level executives to appreciate the fundamental differences in the character of their decision-making responsibilities and to develop a decision-making style that was unique to their responsibilities and job description.

“Indeed, it has been observed that, “decision-making styles differ in two fundamental ways: how information is used and how options are created. When it comes to information use, some people want to mull over reams of data before they make any decision. The result is a well-informed decision, but it may come at a cost in terms of time and efficiency,” he said.

However, Ambode said every responsible government placed premium on the establishment, maintenance, and sustenance of a modern, robust, effective public service.

He stated that in most democracies, the public service represented the ‘permanent government’ that must be equipped to adequately advise the government of the day, implement government programmes, and effectively communicate the reasoning behind government-sanctioned programmes to the citizens.

“The net effect is that, if public servants are well-equipped to discharge these tasks, the programmes of government will be effectively implemented,” he said.

Also speaking, Utomi said in a competitive world, the need for civil servants to possess behavioural and communication skills could not be over-emphasise, saying that civil servants must be information inclined.

He said being abreast of the latest happening meant creating a public service that aligned with the needs of stakeholders.

Utomi added that semantic noise blocking meaning could lead to blockage of effectiveness, while pursuit of power could impede effective performance of participants.