Are you ready? What is the role of change management in the military financial management community?
The Fiscal Year (FY) 2004 Army Budget
"If you don't like change, then you will like irrelevance even less" is an apt quote from General Eric Shinsheki, former Army Chief of Staff, who was speaking on the imperative to Transform the Army. Transformation is a word that perhaps is overused, but change is constant and coming at us more rapidly than ever before, with the help of advances in knowledge and technology. Experts have calculated that the total knowledge in the world is doubling every 2 years.
This essay addresses the role of leadership required within the Department of the Army (DA) resource management (RM) community so that it can thrive in such a fast-paced, technology-driven world. Change management and transformation have three components that every resource manager should understand:
* People and Leadership
* Process Views
People and Leadership First and foremost, the Army is an organization that relies on people (soldiers, DA civilians, and contractors). The Army thrives on inspired leadership to accomplish change and the multitude of tasks and missions required of soldiers and the total force. During a war or a time of rapid change, leadership is critical to provide direction, inspire confidence, and articulate the vision of what is required to achieve mission success.
People look to their leaders to inspire attainment of the Army's values: integrity, loyalty, duty, honor, respect, selfless service, and personal courage. Commanders communicate the priorities and establish the direction and pace of the organization. During stressful circumstances, leaders rally the talents and energies of their people to achieve success. Leaders establish the culture but, ultimately, people must understand and "buy in" to make the changes required in order to transform our Army. It is important to note that resource managers at every level are key players in the strategic processes and especially in implementing and promoting change. In fact, in many cases, the resource manager serves as the staff proponent for change management.
Process Views The strategic process view is a key to understanding the as-is process or the baseline, and then envisioning, mapping, and articulating improvements from this current reality to achieve the strategic vision or goals of the organization. Both RM leaders and manpower managers are coping with a host of strategic changes driven from the highest levels of the Army and our federal government.
Such initiatives include the following:
* Reorganizations, such as the Installation Management Activity, NETCOM
* Outsourcing and Privatization: A-76 and "the Third Wave"
* The President's Management Agenda
There also exists a host of productivity improvement programs and tools provided for commanders to use at the local level: Activity Based Costing and Management (ABC/M), Army Productivity Improvement Criteria (APIC), and the Army Communities of Excellence (ACOE) program, to name a few of the current leading programs designed to improve Army processes and performance.
Not only is the RM community coping with significant strategic changes, it is also the resource manager who, in most cases, is the champion of programs and initiatives to improve processes and organizations. Resource managers traditionally represent the will of the commander in the strategic planning process, especially as the process links the goals and objectives of the organization with the development of the program objective memorandum and the organization's budget.
If this headquarters-level resource planning represents echelons above your reality, then think about the dollars that flow through your area of responsibility and ask yourself: Is our time spent in line with the Army's strategy, and does it directly contribute to the organization's success ? What improvements can we make to our processes or organization that will save dollars and manpower that the Army could direct to higher priorities?
Budget development and execution are arguably the most important functions of any organization, governmental or non-governmental, in that the budget establishes and articulates the priorities (the strategic plan) and provides resources to achieve them. Budgets today must complement the strategy and work toward accomplishing the mission, goals, and objectives. Those resource managers who take a process view of critical activities will lead the workforce to continuous process improvements, especially if that is a stated goal of the command, and personnel are empowered to suggest and make improvements within their scope of responsibly. Smart commanders will ask employees to look across traditional boundaries, or "stovepipes," for innovative ways to accomplish the mission. Those resource managers who understand this will play a vital role as the commander's agents in productivity and improvement programs---often as the champions---and they will contribute significantly to Army transformation.
Technology The evolving changes in information technology have led this rapid pace of change and upgraded our lexicon with such new terminology as internet time, knowledge management, Strategic Readiness System, and balanced scorecard. More important than providing new concepts, words and processes, new technology enables the streamlining of Army tactics and processes, which, in turn, leads to smaller, more agile tactical and support organizations. Our society is well into the age of information, and our Army is describing and moving quickly toward the interim force, while developing concepts and articulating requirements for the "Objective Force" (that is, a superior, agile force leveraging technology and knowledge management).
According to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, "The Military Services' ongoing transformation initiatives will rely on information dominance." Consequently, "Network Centric Warfare" is the mantra from the Office of the Secretary of Defense. One intended consequence, new database technology, is driving a new generation of enterprise resource planning and business intelligence software that are widely used in industry and are being adopted by the Department.
Resource managers are leading the way with software promulgated by the Army G-6 and the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Cost and Economic Analysis. This innovation soon will deliver to Army decision-makers true, Web-based, multi-source performance and financial data integration in near real time. As a result, the RM community will be much further along toward implementing the requirements specified in the Government Performance and Results Act of 1994.
The Army has fielded software technology (SAS/OROS/Suite) and has been directed to implement local programs to link resources with key processes and activities and to assess the contribution of each with performance measures that will allow commanders and their resource managers to model and articulate the contribution of every dollar and each fulltime-equivalent person towards achievement of the Army's strategy.
Activity Based Costing/Management models are built on the "baseline" and allow the commander and staff to conduct "what-if" analyses and have informed insights into future initiatives or proposed changes. Widespread implementation of corporate performance management tools will allow resource managers to:
* Shorten financial reporting closing cycle times
* Increase analysis capabilities
* Deliver better reporting, including Executive Dashboards (SRS) on key performance indicators
* Increase organizational insight
* Maximize return on system and process investments
There will be tremendous synergies or efficiencies once the entire Army gains access to information from the same source. The Army's intention is to leverage this synergy with a Web-based strategy and network infrastructure.
How does this help? Imagine that every worker logs into the Army's portal (AKO) each day, no matter where in the world, no matter the command, or no matter the job series. Once logged into AKO, workers who are authorized gain access to the Army's data of record wherever it resides in the world. Workers also will receive the latest information from Army leaders on leadership priorities and initiatives, then can electronically join their "community" (for example, resource management, personnel, intelligence, operations, or logistics).
Within Army communities, people will find the latest information regarding policies, changes, regulations, and DoD- or Army-wide initiatives that will help them with their tasks by providing timely and accurate information and strategic alignment (since knowledge = timely and relevant information).
Internet technologies will enable improved communications using such innovations as Web seminars, bulletin boards, online surveys, instant messaging, and many other new ways to apply innovative communication and learning technologies that will lead to new and improved operations, planning, training, and business processes.
In summary, the Army transformation is all about people, leadership, process, and technology. Resource managers who understand change management dynamics and who help educate their workforce will thrive and make huge contributions to our Army and to our national military objectives. The way ahead for resource managers is both challenging and exciting and full of opportunities and risks.
Are you ready?
Jerry Harbison is an operations research systems analyst with the Resource Analysis Division of Directorate of Resource Management, Garrison Fort Rucker, Fort Rucker, Alabama. An ASMC member since 200I, he is currently affiliated with the Wiregrass Chapter.