Fort Rucker garrison works to improve customer service
May 27, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- To better serve its customers, U.S. Army Garrison-Fort Rucker members began developing an Integrated Strategic Sustainability Plan during a workshop May 11-14 at Kelly Hall.
The members were guided by Sustainability Project Manager Michael La Duc from the Center for Sustainable Solutions, and Sustainability and EMS Program Lead Robert Chartier from U.S. Army Environmental Command, to create initiatives the garrison will use for an ISSP.
"We're here to help the garrison in developing their strategic plan and to incorporate sustainability concepts across all spectrums of their operations, which is the people, equipment, funding and the environment. It's the triple bottom line you've heard of - mission, community, environment, plus costs savings," he said.
The major concepts involved in conducting the ISSP, according to La Duc and Chartier, are integration, change management and cross-functionality.
"The single most important reason to undertake strategic planning is to shape and manage change," La Duc said. "By integrating sustainability into strategic planning, we want to make sure change is managed in full view of all the resources."
Those resources are more than just financial and integrating input from different offices, he added.
"A lot of people are used to thinking in terms of just financial capital," La Duc said. "Practitioners of sustainability will talk about human capital, financial capital and natural capital as basic categories of resources and we're concerned about all of those to make sure the garrison can always move ahead and do its job."
Strategic planning allows the garrison to take a long view of managing change.
"We're so accustomed to fighting fires or fighting the battles of today within the parameters of today, and what strategic planning does, is afford us the opportunity to look out 25 years and beyond to think about where we need to be 25 years out and then incrementally attack those issues," Chartier said.
The integrated planning process grew out of a need to avoid problems that occurred in the past, La Duc noted.
"You have to have everything working together," he said. "You can have all the money in the world, but if you don't have a skilled workforce you're still going to fail. The financial capital has got to be supported by the human capital."
The single integrated process empowers the garrison to better serve its customers, Chartier said.
"When you take all of those processes together, it allows the garrison commander, in concert with the mission commander and their requirements, to develop a prioritized list of what will receive the resources necessary to accomplish the mission and, in turn, assess where they can take the most risk because we know resources are finite," he said.
Cross-functionality is breaking down those "stovepipes" within organizations and even between the installation and local communities, Chartier said.
"When you bring people together (who) are from different functional areas and you provide a cross-functional approach to solving problems, you get a better infusion of ideas. It gets people out of their stovepipes so there's cross-leveling of ideas and ongoing initiatives that can be supportive of each other," he said.
One example from the workshop was a discussion between the installation safety office and the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
"Cross functionality isn't only across the garrison components or the mission units, it's also inviting the external local community partners, because there are community concerns," Chartier said.
This garrison ISSP works in conjunction with the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence Culture Change Initiative, according to post officials.
Cynthia Ranchino, lead plans specialist in the Plans, Analysis and Integration Office, said she sees parallels in how USAACE defines its Leading Change Team as a cross functional slice or vertical slice of its organization.
"That's the same thing we're trying to accomplish through this planning process," she said. "Like understanding who our customers are and what it is they need from the garrison (and) getting that cross functional communication between customers and garrison leadership going so they can collectively develop solutions. That's the exact same thing the Culture Change Initiative is trying to accomplish."