By Robyn Baer, Fort Sill CannoneerFebruary 27, 2009
Fort Sill is working to make its garrison better for employees and customers, and the process starts with the Garrison Performance Improvement Council.
The council first met two weeks ago and is comprised of a representative from each of the garrison directorates the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation; Directorate of Human Resources; Directorate of Information Management; Directorate of Logistics; Directorate of Public Works; Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security; and Directorate of Emergency Services. There is also a representative from Religious Services; Installation Safety; the Plans, Analysis and Integration Office; the Equal Employment Office and the command group.
The group meets weekly and plans to brief the garrison commander once a month.
"What we do is we evaluate the garrison's organizational performance," said Bea Floor, a program manager with Plans, Analysis and Integration, "based on the Baldrige Criteria."
The Baldrige Criteria began as an organizational performance evaluation and improvement tool for corporations, but the Army adopted it for the Army Communities of Excellence program, she said.
Using tools that are either already in place or being implemented, such as Town Hall, State of the Garrison and the Army Suggestion Program, the team measures the garrison's performance.
"We look at our leadership, how our leaders communicate vision and values; we look at our strategic plan, how we implement it, how we communicate it. We look at our customers, how do we understand our customers needs, how do we build relationships with our customers. Then we look at how we measure our performance as an organization. how do we develop our workforce, how do we engage them, get them motivated. How do we evaluate and improve our processes. And then we look at the results.
She said those are exactly the seven categories used for Army Communities of Excellence leadership, strategic planning, customer relationships, measurements, knowledge management, workforce focus, process management and results.
The team members gather information within their own directorates on how they meet the Baldrige Criteria and return to the next meeting to consolidate information.
"We use the Baldrige Criteria, and we look at what do we need to do to be aligned with the Baldrige criteria. How do our processes need to look' They have to be deployed throughout the entire garrison, not just 'you do it your way and I do it my way.' It needs to be integrated. Whatever we do needs to support the garrison mission, vision and goals," Floor said.
The council members then look at their own directorates to see what processes are in place and how leaders are communicating with the work force.
"Are we communicating the vision. Are we communicating values' How are we dealing with ethical issues as leaders and how do we get feedback. Are we open to communication'" Floor asked. "We look at how we should be doing things and we go back and see how we are actually doing things and then we go from there with the evaluation and the recommendations," she said.
Floor said the overall goal of the Baldrige Criteria is sustainability.
"If you want an organization to be sustainable, you have to produce results, and those results have to be of value to the customer," she explained. "So we need to know who our customers are and what their requirements are. And in order to meet the customers needs, we need a workforce that's engaged. Those workers have to have processes in place that are efficient. It all rolls down to sustainability.
"We have to have a system in place where we share our information and data. It needs to be available for anybody who needs to make a decision that they can base that decision on facts and not on gut feeling."
The council also aims to cut costs.
"Under (Base Realignment and Closure) and with limited resources, we just have to start running the garrison like a business," Floor said. "That's what this is all about."
She said the group is building a Web site that should be available in the coming month. The site will inform employees what the group is doing and what changes will be implemented. The site will also offer an outlet for feedback input, ideas, suggestions and comments.
"Trying to create awareness of the garrison mission and vision and letting people know how they fit into the big picture is one of the main goals," she said.
"We're looking at how we're doing things and starting to improve the garrison, make it a better place."