Integrity, Simplicity and Asceticism

Lecturer of School of Business and Management Institut Teknologi Bandung (SBM ITB), Dr. Ir. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, MSIE., MSCE. who now leads the Presidential Work Unit for Development Monitoring and Control (UKP4), shared few values that he adopted.
Sabarini Prodita, the Jakarta Post’s journalist digged and served it in Monday, February 15, 2010 edition.
Kuntoro Mangkusubroto: Integrity, simplicity and asceticism
Kuntoro Mangkusubroto is not a minister, but he makes sure that ministries and government institutions work effectively under the presidential guidelines that he helped draw up.
At the first Cabinet meeting in November last year, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said that Kuntoro, the former Aceh-Nias Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency (BRR) head, would, “if necessary, be my eyes, my ears and my hands”.
Two months after completing his five-year task of managing the reconstruction and rehabilitation of tsunami-devastated Aceh in April last year, Kuntoro was back to work, drawing up a five-year development plan for Yudhoyono, summarizing it in a 100-day and one-year program that would be the foundation for the country’s development toward 2014.
He told the President that the task to monitor the implementation of the plan should not be attached to a ministry but should instead be carried out by a special unit to give it more focus. As a result, Kuntoro now heads a strategic unit called the Presidential Work Unit for Development Monitoring and Control (UKP4).
When the 100th day of Yudhoyono’s second term fell on Feb. 1, Kuntoro, whose unit was to make sure all 34 ministries and governmental institution achieved their targets, red marked two ministries for failing to attain their goals.
The Agriculture Ministry failed to complete a large-scale commercial farming and food estate project in Merauke, Papua, while the Education Ministry fell agonizingly short of its target of upgrading the skills 30,000 school principals and supervisors by Feb. 1. Only around 27,000 had received the training.
Despite the Education Ministry updating its report two days after the deadline, highlighting an extra 2,700 teachers’ skills had been upgraded, Kuntoro still gave the ministry a red mark.
“I’m only following the President’s orders. There no goal that’s a half goal. It’s either goal or not, one or nil,” he said recently about the red marks. He said that even if the ministry had fallen short by one, he would still have given it a red mark.
Analysts have said that Kuntoro’s new unit, the first ever in Indonesia’s history, is similar to that of former British prime minister Tony Blair’s delivery unit or the White House’s West Wing. Kuntoro said the comparison was valid, but there are differences.
“Tony Blair’s delivery unit had the right to intervene. We don’t intervene. We only back up [the ministries] and remind them, ask them how they are progressing,” he said.
“We respect their authority. We just remind them by saying ‘Hey, watch out, you might miss your targets’,” he said.
Sitting in his office at the presidential secretariat complex, Kuntoro dressed casually in a short sleeved blue shirt. A graduate from the Bandung Institute of Technology and Stanford University in Industrial Engineering, Kuntoro said he’d had a zigzagging career path. He started out as a lecturer in 1972, worked as expert staff for the government, became director of state-owned mining companies, energy minister under Soeharto’s administration, director of state-owned electricity company (PLN), and head of the BRR.
While at the BRR, he headed a giant agency of 1,500 staff. He now employs 16 staff, most of whom have PhDs. With four deputies and 12 assistants, he said his team worked in a matrix system of management. Each person in his team could be involved in several projects as a team member or team leader. A deputy might be the team leader in one project and be a team member under an assistant in another project.
“No one is without work,” he said.
Overseeing the reconstruction of Aceh, Kuntoro said he had to start from scratch without any guidance. He learned from many mistakes on the job but kept his cool despite the frustrating conditions.
There was no blueprint for Banda Aceh’s master plan. To draw one, it would have to be approved by the City Council, which had collapsed. So we started building without a master plan. When we found that we had built houses on what was supposed to be a street, we had to demolish them. We learned from mistakes,” he said.
In the Presidential Work Unit, however, the work is so strategic that there is no room for errors, he said. “It’s very complex here, because we’re talking sectors such as agriculture, health, transportation,” he said.
“This is the top of government’s programs. We cannot make mistakes, because if we do, the impacts will be huge,” he said.
His staff work in one room and sit facing each other at a large oval table with laptops. He casually introduced his team members to The Jakarta Post: “That’s Tara. This is Aichida, an anthropologist,” he said. He pointed the other members of the team: “These two on the corner are from the Central Bank”.
Newspapers and several notebooks were strewn across the table. “They’re usually tidier than this,” he joked. The team works and holds meetings in the one room. “So that everyone knows what’s happening with each other,” he said.
Kuntoro said his team’s background has a very healthy mix. His members include a doctor in economics, a doctor in engineering, a doctor in urban spatial planning and a doctor in remote sensing.
His egalitarian approach to work seems to echo Kuntoro’s way of life. He said he was not too caught up with hierarchy or position. Kuntoro has always kept a clean image. For him integrity, simplicity and asceticism, are central to his set of values.
“We should live according to what we need,” he said. Kuntoro said he currently rides in his minister’s car, a Toyota Crown. “But after this position ends, I’ll go back to my [Toyota] Kijang,” he said.
“We should not see cars as a symbol of achievement. A car is for getting around.”
Given his busy schedule, Kuntoro said he liked to skip lunch and go for a swim. He spends his free time reading biographies of great men of science and with his family. He has five sons. “Four are married and have given me grandchildren,” he said.
He said he never preached the values he holds to his family. If a father was lazy, he added, no matter how much he preached about hard work, it would never work.
“In a family, there’s never an effective way to preach. They can see you, there’s not one second when they can be fooled.”

KM by R. Berto Wedhatama of Jakarta PostLecturer of School of Business and Management Institut Teknologi Bandung (SBM ITB), Dr. Ir. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, MSIE., MSCE. who now leads the Presidential Work Unit for Development Monitoring and Control (UKP4), shared few values that he adopted.

Sabarini Prodita, The Jakarta Post‘s journalist digged and served it in Monday, February 15, 2010 edition.

Kuntoro Mangkusubroto: Integrity, Simplicity and Asceticism

Kuntoro Mangkusubroto is not a minister, but he makes sure that ministries and government institutions work effectively under the presidential guidelines that he helped draw up.

At the first Cabinet meeting in November last year, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said that Kuntoro, the former Aceh-Nias Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Agency (BRR) head, would, “if necessary, be my eyes, my ears and my hands”.

Two months after completing his five-year task of managing the reconstruction and rehabilitation of tsunami-devastated Aceh in April last year, Kuntoro was back to work, drawing up a five-year development plan for Yudhoyono, summarizing it in a 100-day and one-year program that would be the foundation for the country’s development toward 2014.

He told the President that the task to monitor the implementation of the plan should not be attached to a ministry but should instead be carried out by a special unit to give it more focus. As a result, Kuntoro now heads a strategic unit called the Presidential Work Unit for Development Monitoring and Control (UKP4).

When the 100th day of Yudhoyono’s second term fell on Feb. 1, Kuntoro, whose unit was to make sure all 34 ministries and governmental institution achieved their targets, red marked two ministries for failing to attain their goals.

The Agriculture Ministry failed to complete a large-scale commercial farming and food estate project in Merauke, Papua, while the Education Ministry fell agonizingly short of its target of upgrading the skills 30,000 school principals and supervisors by Feb. 1. Only around 27,000 had received the training.

Despite the Education Ministry updating its report two days after the deadline, highlighting an extra 2,700 teachers’ skills had been upgraded, Kuntoro still gave the ministry a red mark.

“I’m only following the President’s orders. There no goal that’s a half goal. It’s either goal or not, one or nil,” he said recently about the red marks. He said that even if the ministry had fallen short by one, he would still have given it a red mark.

Analysts have said that Kuntoro’s new unit, the first ever in Indonesia’s history, is similar to that of former British prime minister Tony Blair’s delivery unit or the White House’s West Wing. Kuntoro said the comparison was valid, but there are differences.

“Tony Blair’s delivery unit had the right to intervene. We don’t intervene. We only back up [the ministries] and remind them, ask them how they are progressing,” he said.

“We respect their authority. We just remind them by saying ‘Hey, watch out, you might miss your targets’,” he said.

Sitting in his office at the presidential secretariat complex, Kuntoro dressed casually in a short sleeved blue shirt. A graduate from the Bandung Institute of Technology and Stanford University in Industrial Engineering, Kuntoro said he’d had a zigzagging career path. He started out as a lecturer in 1972, worked as expert staff for the government, became director of state-owned mining companies, energy minister under Soeharto’s administration, director of state-owned electricity company (PLN), and head of the BRR.

While at the BRR, he headed a giant agency of 1,500 staff. He now employs 16 staff, most of whom have PhDs. With four deputies and 12 assistants, he said his team worked in a matrix system of management. Each person in his team could be involved in several projects as a team member or team leader. A deputy might be the team leader in one project and be a team member under an assistant in another project.

“No one is without work,” he said.

Overseeing the reconstruction of Aceh, Kuntoro said he had to start from scratch without any guidance. He learned from many mistakes on the job but kept his cool despite the frustrating conditions.

There was no blueprint for Banda Aceh’s master plan. To draw one, it would have to be approved by the City Council, which had collapsed. So we started building without a master plan. When we found that we had built houses on what was supposed to be a street, we had to demolish them. We learned from mistakes,” he said.

In the Presidential Work Unit, however, the work is so strategic that there is no room for errors, he said. “It’s very complex here, because we’re talking sectors such as agriculture, health, transportation,” he said.

“This is the top of government’s programs. We cannot make mistakes, because if we do, the impacts will be huge,” he said.

His staff work in one room and sit facing each other at a large oval table with laptops. He casually introduced his team members to The Jakarta Post: “That’s Tara. This is Aichida, an anthropologist,” he said. He pointed the other members of the team: “These two on the corner are from the Central Bank”.

Newspapers and several notebooks were strewn across the table. “They’re usually tidier than this,” he joked. The team works and holds meetings in the one room. “So that everyone knows what’s happening with each other,” he said.

Kuntoro said his team’s background has a very healthy mix. His members include a doctor in economics, a doctor in engineering, a doctor in urban spatial planning and a doctor in remote sensing.

His egalitarian approach to work seems to echo Kuntoro’s way of life. He said he was not too caught up with hierarchy or position. Kuntoro has always kept a clean image. For him integrity, simplicity and asceticism, are central to his set of values.

“We should live according to what we need,” he said. Kuntoro said he currently rides in his minister’s car, a Toyota Crown. “But after this position ends, I’ll go back to my [Toyota] Kijang,” he said.

“We should not see cars as a symbol of achievement. A car is for getting around.”

Given his busy schedule, Kuntoro said he liked to skip lunch and go for a swim. He spends his free time reading biographies of great men of science and with his family. He has five sons. “Four are married and have given me grandchildren,” he said.

He said he never preached the values he holds to his family. If a father was lazy, he added, no matter how much he preached about hard work, it would never work.

“In a family, there’s never an effective way to preach. They can see you, there’s not one second when they can be fooled.”KM by R. Berto Wedhatama of Jakarta PostDosen Sekolah Bisnis dan Manajemen Institut Teknologi Bandung (SBM ITB), Dr. Ir. Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, MSIE., MSCE. yang kini memimpin Unit Kerja Presiden untuk Pembangunan, Pengawasan, dan Pengendalian (UKP4), berbagi tentang nilai-nilai yang dianutnya.

Wartawan Prodita Sabarini menggalinya dan menyajikannya dalam The Jakarta Post, edisi Senin 15 Februari 2010. Berikut petikannya:

Kuntoro Mangkusubroto bukan menteri, tapi ia akan memastikan bahwa departemen dan lembaga pemerintah bekerja secara efektif di bawah pedoman Presiden—yang ia bantu susun.

Pada pertemuan Kabinet pertama pada bulan November tahun lalu, Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono mengatakan bahwa Kuntoro–mantan Kepala Badan Rekonstruksi dan Rehabilitasi (BRR) Aceh-Nias, jika perlu, “Akan menjadi mata, telinga, dan tangan saya.”

April tahun lalu–dua bulan setelah menyelesaikan tugas lima tahun mengelola rekonstruksi dan rehabilitasi tsunami yang menghancurkan Aceh–Kuntoro sudah kembali bekerja, menyusun pembangunan lima tahun rencana untuk Yudhoyono, merangkum itu dalam 100 hari, dan satu tahun program yang akan menjadi dasar bagi pembangunan negara ke arah 2014.

Dia mengatakan kepada Presiden bahwa tugas untuk memantau pelaksanaan rencana tidak boleh melekat pada pelayanan tetapi seharusnya dilakukan oleh sebuah unit khusus untuk memberikan lebih fokus. Akibatnya, Kuntoro sekarang mengepalai unit strategis yang disebut Unit Kerja Presiden untuk Pembangunan, Pengawasan, dan Pengendalian (UKP4).

Ketika hari ke-100 masa jabatan periode kedua Yudhoyono jatuh pada 1 Februari, unit yang dipimpin Kuntoro memastikan semua 34 departemen dan instansi pemerintah mencapai target, sedangkan dua kementerian ditandai merah karena gagal mencapai tujuan mereka.

Departemen Pertanian gagal menyelesaikan skala besar pertanian dan makanan komersial proyek perkebunan di Merauke, Papua. Sementara peningkatan kemampuan kepala sekolah dan pengawas yang merupakan program 100 hari kerja Departemen Pendidikan tidak mencapai target sebanyak 30.000 pada 1 Februari. Hanya sekitar 27.000-an yang telah menerima pelatihan.

Meskipun Departemen Pendidikan memperbarui laporannya dua hari setelah batas waktu, dengan menyoroti tambahan 2.700 keterampilan guru telah ditingkatkan, Kuntoro tetap memberikan tanda merah. “Saya hanya mengikuti perintah Presiden. Tidak ada tujuan yang setengah tujuan. Itu tujuan baik atau tidak, satu atau nol, “katanya baru-baru ini tentang tanda merah.
Para analis mengatakan bahwa unit baru Kuntoro–yang pertama kali eksis dalam sejarah Indonesia–adalah serupa dengan unit dalam pemerintahan mantan perdana menteri Inggris Tony Blair atau West Wing-nya Gedung Putih. Kuntoro mengatakan perbandingan itu sah, tetapi ada perbedaan.

“Dalam pemerintahan Tony Blair, unit tersebut memiliki hak untuk campur tangan. Sedangkan kami, tidak. Kami hanya mem-back up [kementerian] dan mengingatkan mereka, tanyakan pada mereka bagaimana perkembangannya, “katanya.

“Kami menghormati kewenangan mereka. Kami hanya mengingatkan mereka dengan berkata ‘Hei, hati-hati, anda mungkin akan kehilangan target Anda’,” ujar Kuntoro.

Duduk di kantornya di kompleks Sekretariat Presiden, Kuntoro berpakaian santai dalam kemeja biru lengan pendek. Lulusan di bidang Teknik Industri dari Institut Teknologi Bandung dan Stanford University ini mengatakan bahwa ia memiliki jalur karier zigzag. Dosen pada tahun 1972, bekerja sebagai staf ahli bagi pemerintah, menjadi Direktur BUMN perusahaan pertambangan, Menteri Energi di bawah pemerintahan Soeharto, direktur BUMN PLN, dan kepala BRR.

Di BRR, ia memimpin lembaga raksasa dengan 1.500 staf. Kini, dia mempekerjakan 16 staf, yang kebanyakan memiliki gelar PhD. Dengan empat deputi dan 12 asisten, ia mengatakan timnya bekerja dalam sistem matriks manajemen. Setiap orang dalam tim bisa terlibat dalam beberapa proyek sebagai anggota tim atau pemimpin tim. Seorang deputi mungkin menjadi pemimpin tim di satu proyek dan menjadi anggota tim di bawah asisten di proyek lain.

“Tidak ada yang tidak bekerja,” katanya.

Mengawasi rekonstruksi Aceh, Kuntoro mengatakan bahwa ia harus memulai dari awal tanpa bimbingan. Dia belajar dari banyak kesalahan pada pekerjaan, namun tetap tenang meskipun kondisinya dalam kefrustrasian.

“Tidak ada cetak biru untuk master plan Banda Aceh. Untuk menggambar satu saja, harus disetujui oleh Dewan Kota, yang telah runtuh. Jadi kami mulai membangun tanpa rencana. Ketika kami menemukan bahwa kami telah membangun rumah di apa yang seharusnya menjadi jalan, kami harus menghancurkannya. Kami belajar dari kesalahan,” katanya.

“Namun, dalam Unit Kerja Presiden, pekerjaan ini sangat strategis sehingga tidak ada ruang untuk kesalahan. Di sini sangat kompleks, karena kita berbicara sektor seperti pertanian, kesehatan, transportasi,” katanya.

Kuntoro menambahkan, “Ini adalah bagian dari program pemerintah. Kami tidak dapat membuat kesalahan, karena jika melakukannya, akan berdampak besar.”

Stafnya bekerja di satu ruangan dan duduk berhadapan di sebuah meja oval besar dengan laptop. Dengan santai, Kuntoro memperkenalkan anggota tim kepada The Jakarta Post: “Itu Tara. Ini adalah Aichida, seorang antropolog, “katanya. Dia menunjuk anggota lain dari tim: “Dua orang yang berada di sudut berasal dari Bank Indonesia.”

Surat kabar dan beberapa notebook yang berserakan di meja. “Mereka biasanya lebih rapi daripada ini,” candanya. Tim bekerja dan mengadakan rapat kerja dalam satu ruangan. “Jadi, semua orang tahu apa yang terjadi dengan satu sama lain,” katanya.

Kuntoro mengatakan timnya memiliki latar belakang campuran yang sangat sehat. Anggotanya termasuk Doktor di bidang ekonomi, seorang Doktor di bidang teknik, seorang Doktor dalam perencanaan tata ruang perkotaan, dan seorang Doktor di penginderaan jarak jauh.

Pendekatan egaliter-nya untuk bekerja tampaknya menggema dalam cara hidup Kuntoro. Dia mengatakan dia tidak terlalu memperhatikan hierarki atau posisi. Citranya selalu besrih. Baginya integritas, kesederhanaan, dan asketisme, adalah inti dari nilai yang dianut.

“Kita harus hidup sesuai dengan apa yang kita butuhkan,” katanya. Kuntoro mengatakan, saat ini dia menggunakan mobil Menteri, Toyota Crown. “Tapi setelah posisi ini berakhir, saya akan kembali ke [Toyota] Kijang saya.”

“Kita seharusnya tidak melihat mobil sebagai simbol prestasi. Mobil adalah alat untuk menjangkau sekitar.”

Mengingat jadwal yang padat, Kuntoro mengatakan ia suka melewatkan makan siang dan pergi untuk berenang. Dia menghabiskan waktu luangnya membaca biografi ilmuwan besar dan berkumpul bersama keluarganya. Dia memiliki lima anak laki-laki. “Empat sudah menikah dan telah memberi saya cucu,” katanya.

Dia mengatakan ia tidak pernah mengajarkan nilai-nilai yang ia berpegang pada keluarganya. Jika seorang ayah malas, ia menambahkan, tidak peduli berapa banyak ia menasihati tentang kerja keras, itu tidak akan pernah berhasil.

“Dalam sebuah keluarga, tidak pernah ada cara yang efektif untuk menasihati. Mereka dapat melihat Anda, dan tidak ada sedetik pun mereka bisa dibohongi.”***

–Photo Copyrights : R. Berto Wedhatama of Jakarta Post