By Maj. Toby Birdsell, Mission and Installation Contracting Command, Fort Carson, ColoradoNovember 15, 2016
FORT CARSON, Colorado -- (Nov. 15, 2016) Members of the Mission Installation and Contracting Command at Fort Carson, Colorado, conducted a commander's offsite to discuss critical issues that impact the organization Nov. 2-3 at the Penrose House in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The offsite is a semi-annual event that enables key leaders of MICC-Fort Carson to step away from the office to discuss key issues. Attendees have historically been a small group comprised of the command team, division chiefs and executive officer to enable all participants to speak freely in a non-attribution environment.
"What we have found is that as an organization, the offsite is an effective tool for implementing change," said Lt. Col. Thomas McFall, MICC-Fort Carson director and commander of the 918th Contracting Battalion. "Past offsite events have yielded initiatives such as regularly scheduled battalion town halls, a realignment of military teams with divisions, and the implementation of Super CTOC."
He went on to say that the purpose for this year's offsite was threefold.
First, participants ensured higher headquarters' guidance was nested with their contracting office's planning. This guidance included priorities from the Army Materiel Command's new commanding general, Gen. Gustave Perna, as well as the Army Contracting Command commanding general's updated mission statement and initiatives from Maj. Gen. James Simpson. MICC-Fort Carson also leveraged the published annual training guidance from the MICC headquarters and 418th Contracting Support Brigade in addition to new fiscal 2017 battalion and team mission essential tasks.
"As mandatory reading for all members of the team, we knew this was an excellent foundation to expand from with regards to readiness -- the Army's as well as our No. 1 priority," McFall said.
Secondly, the team discussed issues, concerns and topics that are important to the organization's workforce. For instance, despite recently completing a commander's command climate survey and holding a forum to discuss the results, there were still topics for the leaders to address that included the proper integration of the purchasing agent workforce in the 1105 career series and upcoming deployments of the 724th and 602nd Contracting Teams. Topics also included personnel and organizational structure.
"It was imperative for us to hear each other's viewpoints to properly analyze the situation. This setting also gave us the opportunity to validate assumptions that were previously made to ensure that we were still on the right course," McFall said.
Lastly, members at the offsite integrated higher headquarters guidance with topics critical at their level to create a coherent plan to posture MICC-Fort Carson for success in fiscal 2017. To kick-start the plan, McFall immediately notified his organization of decisions that will have a tremendous impact to morale. These decisions were associated with streamlined staffing of pass and leave requests, space for a fitness room, and the opportunity to wear team jerseys and organizational attire at certain times. With immediate victories established, the commander then provided guidance to his team to pursue solutions for the more complex topics that were raised during the offsite. These solution sets will continue to be developed and implemented until the next offsite brings the team together to discuss where the unit is as an organization, and where it wants to be in the future.
"The implementation of an offsite has become a best practice for MICC-Fort Carson and is a worthwhile event for other organizations to consider," McFall said. "An offsite enables candid feedback directly to the commander, empowers key leaders to be the catalyst for change, and reinforces leadership's committed to improving their organization."
MICC-Fort Carson is a subordinate unit of the 418th CSB at Fort Hood, Texas. It is made up of about 45 military and civilian members assigned to the contracting office and 918th Contracting Battalion who are responsible for contracting good and services in support of the 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson. In fiscal 2016, MICC-Fort Carson executed more than 567 contract actions valued at more than $74.8 million in support of its customers, including $60.1 million to American small businesses. The contracting office also managed more than 9,756 Government Purchase Card Program transactions in fiscal 2016 valued at an additional $8.7 million.