Friday, November 21, 2003

a rose by any other name is still a rose

Received from Dorothy W:

I read a couple of your later entries on your blog regarding the decline in QPC references and the Leadership initiative message from the Area Commander. Although I am new to the organization and the position, I am very familiar with the "quality movement." As a "newbie" with the Coast Guard, here are my thoughts on this:

One of the key outcomes for QPCs, as I see it, is to make the application of "best methods" a part of everyday management in the Coast Guard. I do not necessarily see that as a continuous use of the terms and program we are a part of. As more and more units use the criteria as a tool and apply the core principles of the criteria, the "program" becomes less important. Whether it is called ethical leadership, caring management, passionate and compassionate commanders, assessments of readiness, teamwork, listening to your people, taking care of "the little things," thinking in terms of the "what if type scenario," or "individual and team effectiveness," each application of these principles is an application of quality criteria in another dress. I do not see a decline in the need for QPCs, but an increase in demand for teaching and providing the techniques to make this happen. This is a good thing.

Because "Quality" is an '80's word and TQM miss-application has left some people with a negative impression of the word, I am not overly concerned about the lack of inclusion of these terms in any message dealing with Leadership. I certainly don't want to see us slip back into using "management" as our goal, but if that term can grow to encompass true Leadership and quality management, then we will have succeeded in our mission. After all, "a rose by any other name is still a rose."

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Blogging at work...

Take heart, dear fellow PEC people: it doesn't have to be you getting canned for blogging... Let's keep it work focused on helping encourage performance excellence... For my other musings, well, you'll have to look elsewhere...

Friday, November 14, 2003

A Process for CPEC-Based consulting, Cat 2 & 4 (sort'a)

This is what I did today with the LANT-side ISC Commanding Officers and the MLCA Commander & Deputy Commander...

Moving Beyond Measuring for Measurement’s Sake – A Model of Outcome-based Measures
(a facilitated exercise)

As we continue to implement the Coast Guard’s management framework, as specified in the Commandant’s Performance Excellence Criteria (COMDTPUB P5224.2C dated 31 October 2003), we are challenged to create systems which allow us to make fact-based decisions and to gauge our performance toward meeting forward-view objectives. Measurement helps us. We do not advocate measurement for measurement’s sake, but rather a balanced approach to measurement. We measure so we can manage, and we measure so we can gauge our performance against a goal. We do not measure just to measure.

The Performance Excellence Criteria asks us to consider how we select, collect, align, and integrate data and information for tracking overall organizational performance. The Criteria expects senior leaders to review organizational performance and capabilities, to assess organizational success and progress to goals, and to regularly review key performance measures.

In this session, we will begin to use an outcome-based methodology to determine key performance measures within programs housed & delivered at Integrated Support Commands. The methodology we’ll use today is in alignment with the Balanced Scorecard methodology and the Coast Guard’s 2-4-7 methodology. And of course, this methodology supports the Criteria.

Each CO will be working in a specific program area or ISC functional area.

· Industrial
· Work-Life
· Reserve Management
· PERSRU Functions
· Surge Staffing
· Finance

Here is the mental model of what we’ll be doing:


A couple of important notes about this paradigm. First, we are starting from the outcome or desired state. Often when people in the Coast Guard talk about measurement, they start with measurement without having it tied to an outcome or goal or objective or whatever. Second, this model serves the senior leadership of the organization. Senior leaders determine the outcomes and set the goals and, perhaps, set the measures. Senior leaders don’t dictate the initiatives; the individual manager and the workers figure out how what tasks and initiatives need to be done to drive the measures to get to the goals to create the outcome.

We will also be looking at those things we need to do internally in order to succeed. The mental model for these things looks remarkably similar:


Name of program or area of emphasis:

Now, think about the customers in that particular program. Customers, as you know, are the folks who get products and services.

Who are this program’s customers?

List products and services customers of this program receive.

Now we begin to move to identifying the outcomes or desired states we are trying to create for the customers of this particular program. These are not the products. For instance, the desired outcome Kia Motors strives to create “affordable, personal transportation.” The local regional critical incident stress management team is creating an outcome of “emergency services workers who deal with traumatic stress in healthy ways.” A church might define one of their outcomes as “souls bound for heaven;” a high school might define one of their outcomes as “graduates who can function in a changing, information-charged, technological world.”

What are the outcomes, the desired end states, the program is working to create? Some of these outcomes will be for customers; other outcomes might be for other key stakeholders (or “broker customers” in some models).

List outcomes (or key desired end states) this program is trying to create.

It’s almost impossible to focus on more than one or two things at a time. We need to focus on the critical few. From the above list, what are the one or two most important outcomes? Highlight or circle them.

Think about how your ISC, and other ISC’s, goes about creating the products and services which create the customer/stakeholder outcomes. There are a few things that the individual producers & the ISC must do to in order to create those outcomes. If we don’t do these things, we will fail. For this exercise, we’ll call them “critical success factors.” These are things, inside the walls of the ISC or the MLCA community or the program stove pipe, that we must do successfully in order to succeed. If we don’t do them, we will fail.

List the critical success factors here.

Again, we can’t focus on more than one or two things. What are the top one or two critical success factors. Truly, if we fail at these, we fail in creating the outcomes.

Now we begin to think about goals. Some goals will flow easier than others. For each outcome or critical success factor will develop goals. The goals will help us know whether or not we are creating the outcomes we want to create or meeting the critical success factors we’ve identified.

A goal can be measured. For instance, a goal for Kia might have to do with units sold or market share: Kia Motors will have 12% of the under $17,000 auto market by 2005. A CISM team might have a goal related to employee turnover: Our agency has an employee retention rate of 98%. The goal is not necessarily the outcome; it’s a goal toward the outcome.

For each outcome and critical success factor, brainstorm several goals. Write those goals here:

Now, go back to the list of goals, and identify the top two for each outcome and the top two for each critical success factor.

We now get to the measures portion of this . Until now, we haven’t been discussing measures. Measures are, quite frankly, secondary to the outcomes, critical success factors, and goals.

There are only two reasons to measure: to make better management decisions and to gauge progress toward a goal. Certainly, an organization might have hundreds of measures. But the bulk of those measures are not tracked at the senior leadership levels of the organization. They are tracked at the worker and supervisory and lower management levels. Does the president of Kia care how long Joe takes for lunch? Not likely. Does Joe’s supervisor? Sure.

So, we’re not going to capture here all the measures. We are concerned only with the measures which are indicators of attainment of the goal.

Below, please write your top outcome and critical success factor. Now we move to measures. Measures in this model are nothing more than indicators of performance toward the goal; in addition, the measures will help us manage (a part of this “management” key is the measures will drive action). List some possible measures or indicators for each goal.

Goals & Measures:

The measures may be directly linked to the goals, or they may just be indicators of performance to the goal.

The next step after settling on measures is to determine initiatives which will drive the measures. Initiatives should generally be completed not by the senior leader but by the manager responsible for the function with input from the leader and the workers.

I have a document which has an additional example. If you want it, please zip me an email or get in touch with Renee who has the document also.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

CPC Workbooks for participants

I'm having some difficult getting a handle on what we provide to the CPC participants. I'd like us to have an enterprise-wide booklet we use, some sort of standardized workbook, with tabs, for the CPC... I'd love to be able to get some GPO printed/bound process booklets that we can all use. I have a thing (that needs improvement) that I've been using; this is what's in it:

    -- Objective page
    -- Ground rules & expectations
    -- Agenda
    -- Processing the Category
    -- Cat pre-work
    -- Cat post-work
    -- Criteria Core Principles Concepts
    -- Definitions
    -- Systemic Levels
    -- Results Matrix
    -- 3 slides per page view of the official intro ppt

I'd like to be able to call somewhere and say "please send 18 books to Unit Bumbleshort; I have a CPC there in 2 weeks."

A partnership between the LDC (developer of the book) and the INSTITUTE (book fulfillment)?


Conspiracy Theories Abound...

Peter and I have had several conversations of late discussing the increasing numbers of subtle events that are eroding away our QPC program...

I was wondering what everybody else out there is thinking with regard to this program of ours? Peter's posting below should send red flags waving in our minds. A mandatory hour for every person in the LANT AOR to discuss leadership and no mention of anything we've brought to the table concerning leadership as a system (or any reference to CPEC). The impending loss of several experienced QPC's, whole Districts with no QPC coverage at all. What does all this mean?

Are we losing ground? Have we failed to take full advantage of the window of opportunity that we had to show our value? Are there any potential senior leaders waiting in the wings to replace existing leaders and completely wipe this "quality" thing out - believing that we are simply wasting people's time with our "extremism"?

I'm curious to know what other QPC's are perceiving, maybe nothing at all...