Imran Khan’s Tabdeeli- Change Management and BPR

IK got elected on the slogan of “tabdeeli” (change). He doesn’t know ABC of change management or how BPR (Businesses Process Reengineering) achieves substantial and visible “tabdeeli”. BPR is about reducing the complexity of Inter departmental processes by eliminating 60-80% steps and increasing efficiency by up to 80%, and resulting in substantial reduction of corruption as seen in CNIC process of NADRA, passport process or CDC system for share purchase and sale processes.

تبدیلی کیسے آتی ہے: ڈاکٹر عشرت حسین کی سول سروسز ریفارمز کیوں ناکام ہوئیں؟
1: اسٹرکچر vs پراسیس orientation کے مسائل
پاکستان کی تاریخ میں سول ریفارمز کے 25 سے زیادہ کمیشن اور کوششیں ہو چکی ہیں- ڈاکٹر عشرت حسین کی یہ کوشش کوئی اٹھائیسویں کوشش ہے- ان تمام سول ریفارمز کوششوں کے فیل ہونے کی اصل وجہ اسٹرکچر پر فوکس ہے اور پراسیسرز کو اگنور کرنا ہے-
تفصیل اس ویڈیو میں ملاحظہ کیجئے
منسٹریز کی بیوروکریسی اپنے اسٹرکچرز کے دفاع میں قلعہ بند ہو کر تمام ریفارمز کی کوششوں کو نا کام کر دیتی ہیں- تبدیلی پراسیس فوکس اور BPR یعنی بزنس پراسیس ری انجنئیرنگ کے بغیر ممکن نہیں:


Why IK failed to bring tabdeeli?

I think IK’s lack of knowledge about the ABC of “Change Management” & “Managing Change Resistance” is the fundamental reason coupled with his lack of experience of people management in formal structures.
He refused to acknowledge that change is a complex process. He had a childish cult like belief in the proposition that merely a change at the top in terms of an honest leader will automatically result in a magic transformation permeating down the rank and file down to the lowest levels:
1. He didn’t know that he needed to divide n conquer: Decompose the problem areas into different projects. Strategize individual projects and customize his execution plan according to each project, and its distinctive concrete deliverables. Did you see any such concrete plans with deliverables? Did you see competent project managers?
2. He didn’t know that he is supposed to be solving the problems, and not wreaking vengeance on purported opposition. Unfortunately, IK’s outbursts continued even after becoming the PM. His rants against opposition continued as if he is still on top of the container! He refused to believe that he is now the head of government and responsible for the executive. He refused to come out of the container politics.
3. He didn’t realize he doesn’t have to make every one his enemy. This is precisely what he did and is not letting go of being the leader in opposition. He singled out every opposition leader, he threatened bureaucracy again and again, he castigated FBR and threatened to disband FBR and replace it with another organization, he threatened police, he took on judiciary, he branded ALL people as corrupt while earlier only leaders used to be corrupt, he destroyed small irregular businesses in the name of anti-encroachment, he let loose NAB on all the projects, good or bad, executed by the previous government,…
4. He didn’t know that he has to give ample opportunity to change resistors for a graceful retreat. So that they get out of the way of his strategic projects so that he can achieve his goals. He took his eyes off the ball. He forgot that he had to solve the problem, and not take revenge on people.
5. You identify change agents from among the existing lot from each segment, empower them, and let them run ahead becoming role models for others to follow. You can’t threaten all officers of each segment where you want to achieve your goals. By threatening even the change agents he lost the support of the very people who could have achieved what he wanted. Unfortunately, all the potential change agents were frozen with fear of being made an example like the achievers of the previous government.
6. He forgot the need for short term successes that come with reaching out for the low hanging fruits. The result was stream of never ending bad news coming out of the deteriorating macro indicators.
7. He systematically turned off every segment which could have provided support: Doctors, engineers, IT professionals, telecom professionals, traders, manufacturers, auto industy, etc
Saqib Nisar n NAB led this government as Economic Hitmen: Their witch hunt of greatly respected Dr Saeed Akhtar PKLIC, Dr Ismail Shah PTA, Dr Umar Saif PITB, and other extremely carefully selected targets were designed to create a mass disillusionment of leading professionals in public and private sector. Dr Saeed Akhtar was hit because of his leadership in health sector and his deep links in the philanthropic expatriate resourceful community of doctors in USA and West. Dr Ismail Shah was selected to cripple and stultify the technical bureaucracy and highly qualified professionals in private sector working in telecommunications sector. Dr Umar Saif was selected as a target based on his excellent e-Government initiatices in public infrastructure for e-stamps, e-property registrations, e-monitoring of public education schools, teachers as well as public health and hospitals and e-tracking of medicines supply chain. Each such initiative was instrumental in providing efficiency in government and improving service delivery. However, with a single stroke on each of these highly respected professionals in their circles, IK and NAB turned off the very suport that could have spearheaded this government to success.

Integral Steps of Change Management

Following are the steps of Change Management that IK did not know and did not do because he didn’t have anyone in his team like MIT graduate Dr Umar Saif who was expert of process changes.

  1. Focus on few (5-10 or 20) concrete BPR Inter departmenal projects that can be completed in a couple of years with concrete visible change parameters and impacting large number of people.
  2. Identification and empowerment of change agents from within the existing departments involved in the selected concrete processes.
  3. Training and Development of change participants of those processes.
  4. Managing change resistance. Don’t threaten employees/bureaucracy and create more resistance. Create a critical mass of change agents instead of creating mass protesters.
  5. Study process linkages and automate the linkages (eg birth certificate issuance by UCs integration with CNIC issuance at NADRA)
  6. End to end process automation.
  7. Celebrate Small wins and promote successful change agents
  8. Create a critical mass of change agents and change projects in each ministry.
  9. Create a virtuous cycle of positive change information communication instead of daily polemics of negative blames and threatening of mafias

He could have started with the e-Registrar office for automation and online availability of all land records and could have successfully completed the project which was well on its way to completion.

Fate of Dr Ishrat Husain’s Civil Service Reforms

Unfortunately the task of civil reforms entrusted to Dr Ishrat Husain focused on organizational structures instead of inter-departmental processes. This approach was bound to fail as similar 25+ past such efforts over the last 70 years have failed. Organizational structures are meant to support processes. The focus should have been processes instead of structures. We don’t fit processes to structures. Actually you get rid of obsolete structures to fit lean smart end to end processes. However, this wisdom is beyond the typical bureaucratic thought process. For them change is about structures, not processes ????

The above change steps are from Michael Hammer’s BPR Handbook. This is what Dr Umar Saif of PITB was doing with land records automation and eStamp papers, schools centralized attendance monitoring system for teachers and students, supply chain monitoring of medicines from manufacturers to dispensaries of hospitals, dengue/epidemic /pandemic monitoring dashboards in UCs and their centralized monitoring etc.

I have been teaching and using this change management strategy for last 25 years at various organizations.


  1. Civil service reform
  2. Civil service reforms are old wine in new bottle: observers
  3. The elusive promise of civil service reform


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