By Jason B. Cutshaw, USASMDC/ARSTRATApril 30, 2014
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- A team from the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command is coming together to solve workforce issues and make the command a better environment for their colleagues.
At the beginning of the year, Lt. Gen. David L. Mann, USASMDC/ARSTRAT commanding general, directed the formation of a command Tiger Team, and the group had its first meeting Jan. 23. The team includes 47 military and civilian personnel stationed at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., and at Redstone Arsenal. Since the first meeting, the team has met biweekly via VTC.
The team is organized into three working groups that focus on key issues, and each working group has members in both headquarters locations: The Senior Leader Communications Working Group, led by Tisha Crespin in Protocol and Donnie Ghee in G-3, focuses on improving communications between workers and leaders; The Mission Accomplishment and Resource Management Working Group, led by Mike Miller in G-4 and Tom Potter in G-6, looks for ways to improve the command's internal processes to eliminate duplication of effort, save time and reduce costs; The People-Focused Working Group, led by Jim Schlichting in the SMDC Army Space Personnel Development Office and Letitia Weaver in G-6, seeks ways to improve employee morale, strengthen accountability and professionalism at all levels, and make this a better place to work in every way.
"The Tiger Team reflects a commitment from the commanding general to improve workforce relations across the command," said Col. Dewey A. Granger, SMDC chief of staff. "When the commanding general saw the workforce survey, he said, 'I want to know what we're going to do about it?' From there, the Tiger Team was born. The folks on the team are volunteers from across the command. They have other jobs but chose to help in addition to their primary work duties. If I were an employee and saw them, I'd say thanks," he added.
Granger talked about why the Tiger Team is important to the SMDC workforce.
"The idea of a Tiger Team is not new," Granger said. "It's always been a way for commanders to address wicked hard problems. This team is unique because it's something we've never done here in SMDC. But it's all about the issues identified in the workforce survey: people focused, mission accomplishment/resource management, and senior leader communications. Based on the team's hard work, employees can probably see some of the ideas in the form of brown bag lunches, SharePoint redesign, Activity Career Program man-agers, relooking the town hall question format, more leader engagement, and so on. And there are at least six other recommendations still under study by the working groups."
Candace Holcomb, chief of the Business Initiatives Office, said one of the key findings of the SMDC workforce survey conducted in September was that the command's personnel are tired of providing feedback on surveys, but not seeing anything change from their input.
"It came through loud and clear that people were not happy about being surveyed over and over while nothing ever changed," Holcomb said.
When briefed on the survey's results, the commanding general directed the chief of staff to assemble and lead a Tiger Team to develop improvement recommendations for the problems and challenges identified by the workforce.
The working groups meet as necessary to identify and prioritize improvement opportunities, discuss the recommendations they are working on, and refine recommendations based on their research. When a recommendation is ready, they present it to the full Tiger Team at one of its biweekly meetings. If the recommendation is accepted by the full team, it is either implemented by the chief of staff or, if necessary, forwarded to the commanding general for approval. If it is not accepted, the working group revises the recommendation and presents it again for review.
"The real work is being done in the working groups. Without their efforts, nothing would be happening," said David Crouch, who assists Holcomb with the coordination and management of the Tiger Team. "They're the ones who get into the nitty-gritty details and find solutions."
There have already been some changes as a result of the Tiger Team's efforts. For example, weekly "Brown Bag" lunches with Col. Greg S. Bowen, SMDC deputy commander for support, at Peterson Air Force Base, and Granger at Redstone Arsenal provide an ongoing opportunity for workforce members to express their concerns and learn about what is going on with their leaders.
Also, for the upcoming town halls, workforce members will be able to submit questions anonymously, rather than having to stand up and ask during the meeting.
The Tiger Team has also been closely involved in the ongoing redesign of the SharePoint front page to improve its usefulness and make it more user-friendly.
Some of the issues currently being researched by the working groups are requiring supervisors to complete a periodic 360-degree assessment; improving leadership training and development; assessing the conflict resolution process; and streamlining the travel approval process.
The in-processing process and the availability of training opportunities at Redstone Arsenal versus Peterson Air Force Base are also under study. The work of the Tiger Team is just getting started, and it is not too late to get involved.
For information on joining, contact Holcomb at Candace.L.Holcomb.firstname.lastname@example.org or Crouch at David.W.Crouch12.email@example.com.