By Maj. Gen. Nick Justice (U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command and Aberdeen Proving Ground Commanding General)November 4, 2010
There is excitement in the air at Aberdeen Proving Ground. You can feel it when you drive past a construction site. Buildings are going up at an unprecedented pace, roads are being finished, new units are reporting for duty. We are in the midst of an awakening and it feels good to be a part of it.
But how can we harness this collective energy' What I would suggest is embracing a common framework for how we do business. Over the past few weeks, we've discussed the 5 P's.
What are the 5 P's' It's a way of thinking and working. The 5 P's are: people, places, purse, processes and products. It's a way to accomplish the mission and maintain focus.
This week I want to talk about processes. This is how we define it in the Research, Development and Engineering Command: Develop integrated business processes that enable RDECOM to operate as a unified, agile, innovative and collaborative command.
The Secretary of the Army, the Honorable John McHugh, stressed processes last week at the Association of the United States Army annual meeting in Washington, D.C. He said change is coming and we need to be prepared.
Specifically, the Secretary said after his first year on the job, "I felt the need to begin a process of finding how our Army can do things smaller, smarter, cheaper and better."
We take our direction from the top. This concept is something we can all embrace. In fact, it is a philosophy we must embrace.
How can we do things smaller, smarter, cheaper and better'
There are many ways to tackle this question. As an individual you start by questioning your methods. Are you doing things the way that's always been done' Have you questioned the status quo' Have you considered an alternate path'
Examining your personal actions and the steps you go through to accomplish your mission is the start of good process management.
On a bigger scale, you mesh with your team members and co-workers to integrate business processes that lead to reaching organizational goals. As a team, do you question your processes'
Change is not something new. We are in a constant state of change. We're evolving into something better than what we were because we examine our decisions, learn from the past and seek out a better future.
I encourage you to review the Army Performance Improvement Criteria. It's been the way we've measured our processes for the past decade. I believe it is a valuable resource for leading change and raising an organization's performance expectations and standards.
In my opinion, what we need is a culture of process improvement where we facilitate communication and share best business practices using the APIC model described in AR 5-1, Army Management Philosophy. This is a valuable tool, which empowers you with the ability to make decisions and take actions to improve processes that support the Warfighter.
Think about how powerful this knowledge makes you. I'm talking about a systematic, disciplined approach to deal with the dynamics of change. This approach to process management makes you as an individual stronger and exponentially it makes our teams and organizations stronger.
The bottom line is to first look inward and ask hard questions of yourself and your processes. Then, look to your left and right and examine how your team performs its mission. Leaders should listen to new ideas.
A major transformation is upon us. To what extent we can make the Army of the future smaller, smarter, cheaper and better will be the measure of our success.
As an institution, the Army is agile, adaptive and focused. Your role toward the greater good is to seek out how you can improve your personal process management, contribute to your organization's approach and overall improve the way the Army accomplishes its mission.
Next week, we're going to talk about another pillar of the 5 P's: Products. Army Strong!