Did you know Fort Sill won the first Army Communities of Excellence Award in the early '80s' ACOE is an Installation Management Command program where garrisons compete, similar to the Baldrige National Quality Award Program, for the title of best garrison in the Army.Competing garrisons must show that their leaders provide clear direction and guidance, that a strategic plan is in place, that meaningful measurements are in place to track progress, that customer needs are met and expectations exceeded, that the workforce is fully engaged and that systematic and effective processes are in place to accomplish the mission with limited resources. As the Fort Sill garrison is gearing up to enter the competition and become one of the Army's top garrisons, I have established a performance improvement council, with a key member from each of the garrison directorates and some of the garrison support offices.The PIC evaluates how our garrison is doing by interviewing randomly selected leaders, supervisors and non-supervisory employees. We also use a garrisonwide organizational self-assessment - an IMCOM initiated workforce survey that is sent out annually.Both, the interviews and the survey, help the team identify our strengths and our opportunities for improvement. Some of the opportunities identified in last year's interviews and OSA were in the areas of workforce engagement, workforce development and customer focus.Based on those findings and best practices the PIC found in other award winning garrisons, the team developed a number of recommendations to turn those opportunities for improvement into strengths.To improve our garrison in those areas I have recently established the following garrison-wide best practices: -- A workforce engagement program that includes the employee covenant; -- An annual workforce engagement survey; -- An exit survey for departing employees; -- A monthly brown bag lunch for employees where they can meet with me to directly discuss issues or concerns in their work areas; -- An organizational life fitness officer for each directorate; -- The inclusion of customer satisfaction into performance standards for those supervisors that are in charge of fostering a climate of customer focus; -- Continuity books for all key personnel; -- Cross training within all directorates and support offices garrison-wide; and -- A garrison commander hotline.The garrison commander hotline is a direct e-mail to me, to be used by Soldiers, families and employees for issues or concerns that cannot be resolved through conventional channels such as chain of command, ICE, etc.If you are on the Fort Sill network you will find TELL THE GARRISON COMMANDER in your Outlook global directory. All others can use the link on the Fort Sill garrison website. More information about all of these new programs can be found on the Fort Sill Garrison Web site, under the Best Practices tab.The performance improvement council interviews and the organizational self-assessment are valuable tools that help identify the garrison's strong points and areas for improvement. With this year's OSA on the horizon, I encourage everyone to participate, provide honest feedback and help us, as a garrison, become the best we can be.To send questions or comments to me, please e-mail fscms@conus.army.mil or you can mail your comments to Commander, USAG-Fort Sill, 462 Hamilton Road, Suite 120, Fort Sill, OK 73503. Thanks and have a great Fort Sill day.