By Jesus P. Estanislao
Organization into teams looks neat on paper. In practice, however, there is need for creative innovation and adaptation in order to make teams effective as the ultimate performance delivery units of a transformation program. The Philippine Army has not been exempt from the need for innovation and adaptation with respect to team work, as it pursued the different strategic priorities in its Army Transformation Roadmap (ATR).
Col. Cordova shares the Army experience concerning AGSMO, the office directly charged with ensuring that strategy execution is effective, as follows: “Aside from enabling teams to be effective performance delivery units through the use of scoreboards and dashboards, AGSMO decided to walk the talk and provide a model or a reference for all other Army units.Thus, it adopted the use of scoreboards and dashboards for all the 5 branches within AGSMO. Each branch was asked to identify at least 3 breakthrough goals (BTG), based on the office scorecard and be accountable for their attainment. AGSMO then turned around to share its own experience with scoreboards and dashboards with other Army units. Then, AGSMO itself and its different branches had to go through the Army Governance Pathway (AGP); it identified the strategic hallmarks or elements that must be attained for any unit to be conferred any status, similar to the four stages (Initiated; Compliant; Proficient; and Institutionalized)of the PGS Pathway of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia.Once all these hallmarks and elements for each status or stage have been learned, based on actual experience, AGSMO shared what it found to be “best practice” examples with other Army units. To formalize such sharing, AGSMO focused on making sure that the different Army units and teams would undergo the AGP. For instance, the PA major units (division level or second-level vertical units), the staff offices in the Headquarters Philippine Army (second-level horizontal), the brigade-size units or their equivalent (third-level vertical), or battalion-size units (fourth-level vertical) were given training and asked to go through the different stages of the AGP, with AGSMO mentoring and assistance.”
All the training and mentoring activities of AGSMO demanded enormous efforts and time commitments. They were not enough, however. AGSMO also had to make assessments on whether the different Army units were actually making progress. Again, Col. Cordova:”AGSMO had to make sure that all of our AGSMO branches would reporton their performance on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis. This practice regular reporting on actual team performance was then shared with all Army units, such that the conduct of a weekly conference has now become a norm in the PA.”
In this regard, AGSMO has made significant progress towards the goal of having every team within the Army conduct a regular and frequent assessment of team performance, and to relate such performance with previously committed and targeted team performance levels for any given period. This represented a big step forward, but other challenges soon presented themselves; and these AGSMO had to confront.
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