FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker Leading Change Team met May 19 to finalize the team's vision statement and strategic initiatives that lay the groundwork for future change endeavors.

The all-volunteer, 41-member team, a vertical slice of USAACE and Fort Rucker's military, civilian and contractor workforce, formally met for the first time last March. Since then, it has met regularly to chart a course that results in the Fort Rucker community adapting a new culture of innovation and change with the objective of producing better warfighers, improving efficiency and enhancing quality of life.

Last week, the team approved the vision statement - Our change vision is to empower you to take ownership and share responsibility for change that produces and supports the best warfighter for the present and future - the group began developing in early May.

"Our vision statement focuses on a collaborative effort in which everyone is heard and each person owns the future of Fort Rucker and USAACE," said Wes Hedman, mission safety manager with the Aviation Branch Safety Office. "This vision is our future and serves as a framework for a strategic plan to identify and implement new practices and innovations in support of the very best warfighters."

The LCT further defined the strategic objectives embodied in the Change Vision:

Empower individuals throughout the workforce;

Build a culture of collaboration;

Promote participation in the change effort;

Produce the best warfighters; and

Improve the quality of life.

"If we look closely at some of the inefficiencies that evolved here over the past 10, 20 or even 50 years, I'm absolutely certain they stemmed from a lack of or disregard for one or more of these strategic initiatives," said LCT member Dan Farley, Warrior Hall Operations manager for Computer Sciences Corporation. "These strategic initiatives will help USAACE and Fort Rucker to further identify critical shortcomings that inhibit or restrict our ability to perform optimally both at the organizational level as well as the individual level."

Improving collaboration efforts across the command was seen by the LCT as one of the greatest needs. While the business world has generally embraced the aspect of collaboration in order to improve processes through creativity and information sharing, the military culture of "command and control" requires a paradigm shift and one in which leaders occasionally lead from the side rather than from the front.

"One of the greatest challenges we face today is our inability to truly collaborate," said Sgt. Maj. John Hendricks, USAACE G3. "We have to get past our stovepipe mentality and think outside the box. We have to empower our Soldiers and civilians to think as if they were king or queen for a day and ask them, 'what would you change to make your product or service better in a more streamlined system'' We have what we need to succeed - intelligent people with the proper skill sets. We now have an environment of change and that makes for an incredible opportunity."

Empowering the workforce is another strategic initiative identified by the LCT. According to Lt. Col. Mikael Ash, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment commander, it is fundamentally critical that leaders at all levels learn to empower their subordinates, while at the same time seek ways to be empowered by their supervisors.

"Empowering the workforce is not only critical to the success of creating a culture of collaboration and change, but is the only way any significant change will happen," he said. "We have some very gifted professionals who know what is wrong and want to be told 'fix it.' That is what The Big Opportunity is all about; all of us fixing it, whatever it means to you."

Over the course of the next weeks and months, the LCT identifies operational issues that relate to the five strategic initiatives and identifies barriers that have the potential to impede success. In the near term, the team's efforts revolve around articulating the vision to the USAACE and Fort Rucker workforce.

"You (the LCT) are the group that is really going to bring things forward and be the impetus behind the driving of our efforts," said Maj. Gen. James O. Barclay, USAACE and Fort Rucker commanding general. "What's going to matter is how you portray what we are trying to do and where we are trying to go."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16