Defence Renewal Annual Report 2014-2015 - Framework for Continuous Improvement

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4. Organisational Practices

The Defence Renewal Charter also emphasizes that efforts to achieve reinvestments in performance regress if there are not concomitant efforts to improve Defence’s ability -- as an organisation -- to implement, embrace, and sustain improvements over the long term. Work to enhance strategic clarity, promote disciplined business execution, and encourage openness and trust are at the core of the Defence Team’s efforts to enhance organisational practices. In 2014/15 the DRT worked with responsible Level 1 leads to define and delineate the non-trivial concepts that constitute the organisational practices portfolio.

The eight Organizational Practice initiatives have been governed by the Organisational Practices Steering Committee. This committee was set up by the VCDS and the previous Assoc DM and was composed of a membership built upon demographic diversity. While this proved to be an excellent forum to discuss larger cultural issues, it was less-effective on the programme management of the Defence Renewal activities and schedule. This was reviewed by the DRT in the summer of 2014 and restructured governance that was more programmatic in focus was identified as the way-forward. Regrettably, this new structure has yet to meet. Although no Steering Committee has met, ADM(PA), the Corporate Secretary and C Prog have each displayed vision and leadership in moving their specific initiatives forward.

Strategic clarity is the translation -- and communication -- of strategic goals and priorities in terms that all members of the Defence Team can understand and in turn appreciate how their efforts contribute to the overall Defence mission. The three initiatives are highly inter-related and the portfolio achieved mixed results:

  • 7.1 Enhance Understanding of Strategic Intent: an initial scan of the current suite of strategic documents was completed. The Performance Measurement work of KPMG through the Change Management Services contract has proven very useful in proposing a set of measurements for this initiative. Work continues on two critical documents that will provide a key contribution to improved strategic clarity and enhanced understanding of strategic intent: the Defence Plan and the Capital Investment Programme Plan Review (CIPPR). The Defence Plan will articulate strategic defence priorities and key requirements for the current and future force as well as priorities for the departmental supporting elements in the personnel, infrastructure, IM/IT, and acquisition domains. The intent is for other specific guidance documents and directives to be integrated into the Defence Plan. Under joint VCDS/CFO lead, the CIPPR seeks to align future capital investment planning with priority capabilities needed to fill anticipated operational performance gaps and requirements in accordance with the Force Posture and Readiness Directive and the Force Capability Guidance;
  • 7.2 Defence Governance Review: the Corporate Secretary has led a comprehensive -- and inclusive -- review of Accountabilities, Responsibilities and Authorities of the executive leadership and all Level 1 organizations. This key document has been prepared for DM/CDS approval early in FY 2015/16, and implementation in FY 2015/16. The next phase -- involving an analysis of key strategic decision points and the development of a revised governance committee framework -- has begun; and,
  • 7.3 the Change Alignment Programme completed the first phase of their work by establishing Focus on the Future, a dedicated intranet space to communicate select change activities happening at Defence in one online location. Linking to the existing Defence Renewal Trimestral Reports is being considered to ensure regular content updates on the site for DR initiatives. The Leadership Spotlight print and video series has been released, allowing senior Defence leaders to communicate priorities. A Leadership Toolkit to Communicate Change is in testing, with expected release in late Q1 2015. The DRT was asked by senior leadership to prioritise and map all change activities at defence. With the introduction of a Strategic Defence Change Synchronization Matrix, leadership will have at their disposal a tool that will help to identify the key decisions -- and outcomes -- necessary to ensure effective change. Going forward, this initiative and the DRT’s work on Change Synchronisation will be reviewed with a view to potentially combining these important activities.

Disciplined Business Execution. Three initiatives in this portfolio are progressing and in many ways are illustrative of the scale and scope of the challenge to positively affect organisational practices:

  • 8.1 Enhance Performance-based Decision Making: a draft performance measurement strategy was developed and shared with principle stakeholders before submission to DSX for approval. As well, a dedicated performance data collection tool in DRMIS was launched in March 2015 and will be used to collect data for the 2014/15 Annual Performance Review;
  • 8.2 Encourage and Leverage Front-line Innovation: in order to celebrate front-line innovation happening across Defence, The Innovators print and video profile series was launched on the Defence Team intranet and in The Maple Leaf -- eight interviews have been published to date. A comparative study of innovation initiatives -- based on a review of existing Defence, Government and private sector efforts -- was completed and three possible approaches to innovation were identified. A task group was formed to further examine best practices found in existing innovation programmes in allied militaries, other Government departments and private companies. A proposal is in development on the way ahead;
  • 8.3 Policy and Procedure Continuous Improvement: continues its efforts to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy and administration. A team has worked with Level 1s to cancel six and review an additional 31 of 254 Defence Administrative Orders and Directives (DAODs), to publish 20 new DAODs and to continue the work on 61 new and existing DAODs. These DAODs are being developed or reviewed using a new streamlined process that has reduced DAOD development time by 33%. In addition, the team was able to cancel 54 of 264 Canadian Forces Administrative Orders (CFAOs). The review of the DAOD collection and the cancellation of the CFAO collection are, however, progressing slower than expected. Work with Level 1s will continue in an effort to meet targets and to further all initiative milestones. In FY 2015/16, the Corporate Secretary and the DRT will work to aggressively reduce CFAOs further and to look broader at the policy and procedures associated with functional Level 1s; and,
  • Embracing Electronic Approvals originated through the Defence Youth Network’s #Ideation series in May 2014. Three Proof of Concepts were approved in September 2014 including Military Leave, HR Staffing Approvals, and HR Classification Approvals. Experience with these projects is being leveraged to develop a tool kit for managers considering moving paper-based processes to digital. DRT will complete the process to have this activity formalised as a Defence Renewal initiative in early FY 2015/16 and implement a more robust governance structure.

Openness and Trust - two Defence Renewal initiatives are in place to promote the transparency and knowledge transfer that are critical to effective performance and continuous improvement:

  • 9.1 World-class Knowledge Sharing: the Defence Advisory Board was engaged to develop a comparative study of the attributes and enablers of world-class knowledge sharing organisations with a roadmap of options for the way ahead. Senior leadership will be further engaged to seek approval of the proposed way ahead on this important initiative. In the meantime, the 2010 Organisational Learning Strategy has been identified as having the right mix of objectives for enhancing organisational, social, and technological components of knowledge sharing. Moreover, the new video library initiative -- a centralised departmental video library to share knowledge and information by academic experts, senior leaders and innovators that was originated through the Defence Youth Network’s #Ideation series -- is an opportunity to explore technology-enabled knowledge sharing practices; and,
  • 9.2 Coaching on Leading Transformational Change has leveraged the work of KPMG in value modelling and performance measurement to assist in the initial definition stage.