Striking a Balance for Future Success

By Ms. Kelly Sullivan (USARIEM)May 10, 2013

USARIEM's Strategy Map
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The U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine's Balanced Scorecard is a measurement-based tool developed to manage our strategy and track our fulfilled mission requirements. The purpose of this initiative is to execute a coordinated, synchronized and integrated BSC that is aimed at improving USARIEM's mission effectiveness.

The BSC not only measures the institute's ability to complete important research objectives but also informs the commander of shortcomings by ensuring that there is harmony between skills, processes and resources. Without it there is no effective way to measure if USARIEM is meeting the strategic goals set by the commander.

The BSC is the principal tool that USARIEM's employees will use to guide the command to improve operational and fiscal effectiveness and better meet the needs of our customers and stakeholders.

By implementing the BSC into all facets of USARIEM's planning, research and execution we will strike a balance aimed at overall institute success. This includes a balance between financial and non-financial indicators of success, external and internal constituents, performance drivers and indicators of performance, and short and long term measures of success.

In short, we are seeking to gain equilibrium across four perspectives; resources, learning and growth, internal processes, and customer and stakeholder confidence.

Some personnel within USARIEM may think, my work is at such a low level, there is no way I have a role to play in the Balanced Score Card.

"The truth is that the Balanced Score Card not only affects the leadership within the institute," said Ellen Fletcher-Goetz, BSC action officer for USARIEM. "It is an important tool to measure our collective success, therefore we all have role to play in this initiative."

Fletcher-Goetz said that the BSC will link organizational goals to each division's products and services, ultimately driving yearly personal performance objectives.

"The Balanced Score Card identifies and records cross-organizational performance metrics from articles written, to contracts agreed upon, to inventions reported," said Fletcher-Goetz. "This integrated examination underscores that strategically there is not just one subject area that will lead to our success as an institute."

Fletcher-Goetz said, we must all work together to ensure USARIEM is set up for success and is properly aligned with Army Medicine Command's goals.

It is easy to think you cannot support the BSC because it will create additional work. Time and resources are already so limited and this will take away from my primary function here. Plus with the addition of metrics this can negatively affective my yearly performance review.

The USARIEM BSC Frequently Asked Questions sheet explains that most of the metrics used in the BSC are in areas that are already being measured for historical documentation purposes and performance review. The BSC is simply a way to incorporate what you do into USARIEM's strategic planning.

Metrics include the number of peer reviewed journal articles by researcher, money spent per research division and number of inventions that are granted copy rights. Additionally, only a handful of people will have to access the Balanced Score Card tracking website to input this information, creating minimum extra work.

Finally with an ever changing Army one may think, the Balanced Score Card is a fad. There are too many changes and assignments that are introduced and this is simply another pet project that will go away in a couple of years.

"It is important to recognize that this will be a cultural shift in thinking for many of us here," said Lt. Col. Robert Roussel, deputy commander, USARIEM. "The Balanced Score Card has not only been an initiative within the Army Medical Command since 2001, it is incorporated into the Surgeon General's strategic Army Medicine 2020 plan."

The BSC's process is endorsed by leadership at all levels, from our institute commander all the way to the Surgeon General. While there will be slight adjustments to USARIEM's BSC as we fine-tune and meet our strategic goals, the metrics have been vetted and approved by the division chiefs and they will not significantly change.

Further, the BSC is a continuum that will be implemented in three phases, adoption, institutionalization and finally personalization, over the next two years.

"The first phase, adoption, is where we are currently," said Fletcher-Goetz. "In this phase our BSC Working Group is garnering the institute's support, building communication tools and avenues to disseminate information and comprehension, and identifying metric owners."

Fletcher- Goetz said that by July, USARIEM will enter into the second phase, the institutionalization phase. In this phase metric owners will be regularly entering information into the BSC tracking website. This is also an important date because this is when metrics will be incorporated into yearly appraisals.

The final phase of implantation is personalization of the BSC. We will enter this phase at the time of midpoint appraisals in February 2014. Here we will survey personnel on the use of the BSC in appraisals, adjust where we need to go strategically and share successes.

The USARIEM Balanced Score Card is the way that USARIEM will measure the strategic success of the institute. It will show us as an institute where we are lacking in terms of mission accomplishment, while helping us to highlight our successful research initiatives. The BSC is important to everyone at USARIEM because the metrics measured in the score card are going to be incorporated into everyone's yearly performance appraisals.

It is important that everyone at every level becomes familiar with the Balanced Score Card, no matter what your job here is. Even employees who are not researchers or leaders affect the progress of a reported metric. Everyone has a role to play in the institute's strategic success, talk with your supervisor to understand contribution and help USARIEM successfully accomplish our mission requirements.