By Maj. Frankie Cruz, Third Army/ARCENT PAOJanuary 3, 2012
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait -- Does every member of your organization know or understand how their individual job performance contributes to the mission as a whole? Do your managers fully understand how to manage their teams by aligning day-to-day work to the vision and mission of the command?
Army Contracting Command -- KU recently launched a strategic plan aimed at improving customer satisfaction which directly contributes to the organization's ultimate objective to "improve warfighter mission support."
Contracting support is critical to supporting the warfighter operating around the world. ACC-KU provides installation contracting support in Kuwait and contingency contracting support through the embedded 641st Contingency Contracting Team, 408th Contracting Support Brigade. The strategic plan, developed by Lt. Col. Bob Brinkmann, ACC-KU commander, is an integrated strategic plan and performance management system designed to align the contributions of the employees and soldiers with the vision and mission of the command.
Lt. Col. Brinkmann describes the strategic plan as only one part of the equation.
A strategic plan must have a solid foundation and concrete pillars to support or enable the mission (figure 1 below). The foundation consists of engaged leadership, interactive communications, and Army core values. The pillars are the strategic themes that produce mission essential results and enable success. These include contracting excellence, operational excellence, service excellence, and warfighter partnerships.
A weakness in a pillar will limit the command's ability to meet its mission. Objectives for each strategic theme were established using the balanced scorecard (BSC) perspectives of customer satisfaction, financial stewardship, business (contracting) processes, and workforce capacity.
The benefit of using a BSC approach, a method not new in the business world or within the Department of Defense, is that it integrates command level performance objectives with the daily functions of every employee within the command by cascading the objectives, measures, and targets down to the employee level.
ACC-KU managers embraced the strategic plan and are currently using it for employee counseling and to track personnel contributions. Each employee is an integral part of the process, regardless of their position or job title. With assistance from their supervisors, each employee determined their own performance objectives and documented those objectives in their evaluation support forms.
Employees are counseled on a quarterly basis to ensure their contributions support the mission, and every month the employee who makes the most significant contributions to the mission is recognized with a commander's award.
The strategy map (figure 2 below) starts from the bottom at workforce capacity and works its way up through the perspectives as each feed into one another.
For example, the only way to achieve customer satisfaction is by ensuring that your internal business processes are performed effectively and efficiently, and your process cannot perform effectively unless your workforce is adequately trained, motivated, and resourced. The objectives within the map directly relate back to the strategic themes mentioned above.
The contracting processes objectives are the main focus, since they cover the essential business tasks expected of ACC-KU and the efforts to improve what the organization accomplishes in both the pre-award and post-award phases of the procurement process.
Likewise, success in contracting processes will directly contribute to both perspectives of financial stewardship and customer satisfaction. By improving our contracting processes, cost savings can be expected for external customers in terms of decommitted funds and obligations as well as internal customers (CSB/ECC/ACC/AMC) by improving budget execution.
This all directly contributes to the ultimate goal of improving warfighter support. The strategic plan is a living document which will be adjusted as situations or factors change. The chart below lays out the strategy map and the current objectives. The plan also includes the previously mentioned measures, targets, and initiatives for each objective (not pictured).
There are a variety of initiatives which have been implemented to support the ACC-KU strategic plan. One of those initiatives was to improve customer outreach and training. As a result of this initiative, a contracting support operations (C-SPO) division was established to provide face to face assistance and coordination for the customer.
The team also conducts customer satisfaction surveys to obtain feedback in order to sustain or improve the contracting processes within the command.The C-SPO initiative is a critical component for the ACC-KU's vision of being recognized by our customers as "the best contracting office in the U.S Army."
A second initiative was the Commander's Award program which motivates behavior and recognizes the employee with the most significant contributions to the mission on a monthly basis. The awards program utilizes employee contributions to the ACC-KU objectives to distinguish the most deserving employees.
A third initiative was the revitalization of the command & staff meetings by instituting statistics on a dashboard tool to provide a snapshot status of where the organization is in accomplishing the strategic plan objectives. Leading and lagging indicators are addressed through this dashboard which allows the commander to redirect efforts to resolve any issues or customer concerns.
The strategic plan puts ACC-KU on a positive path to accomplish its mission and vision. As ACC-KU employees learn the balanced scorecard method, they discover the importance of their roles within a larger organization and mission. This methodology reinforces the fact that their presence in Kuwait is not only valued as an employee, but especially as an indispensable team member whose daily performance is critical to mission success.