2016 Defence Renewal Annual Report: Positive Momentum for Enduring Success

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4. Organisational Practices

The Organisational Practices initiatives continued to mature at different rates during the year. A new initiative -- 8.4 Electronic Approvals -- was formally added to the family of initiatives in September 2015. A refreshed look at all efforts, as well as a changed footing to governance -- recognised as a more programmatic approach -- contributed to the overall progress of the initiatives. The Organisational Practices Steering Committee met regularly to consider updates and offer guidance where necessary.

The three complementary initiatives of the Strategic Clarity portfolio progressed throughout the year:

  • 7.1 the initiative to Enhance Understanding of Strategic Intent seeks to convey overall strategic priorities in terms that all members of the Defence Team can understand. Through the CMS contract, KPMG examined all strategic documents, their audience, their structure and associated timelines with a view to informing the Department’s efforts to better align an entire family of high-level documents. Their analysis identified overlaps and differing planning horizons. The initiative lead, the Corporate Secretary, undertook to develop a revised framework to bring into line strategic documentation which would also align with the revised organisational authorities. These efforts will be coordinated through the initiative’s Working Group and Steering Committee;
  • 7.2 Defence Governance Review is well underway and a critical aspect is largely complete. A new Organisation and Accountabilities document with clear Accountabilities, Responsibilities and Authorities that better reflect the roles and responsibilities of the Commands -- while also clarifying lateral functional authorities -- has been completed and reviewed. A legal risk review has been completed in preparation for the anticipated approval and publication of the new document early in the next Fiscal Year. Concurrently, a review of the functioning of various defence governance committees -- their effectiveness and perceived overlaps – continues; and
  • 7.3 the Change Alignment Programme seeks to articulate and communicate change activities across defence in a manner that is understandable and accessible to a broad cross-section of the Defence Team. For the first time, a single web-page -- Focus on the Future -- brings together clear information on the different change activities that are underway:  a year ago, such material was difficult to locate and uncoordinated. Now, the information -- including the popular Innovators series and the Leadership Spotlights -- is accessible through a simplified web presence with clear narratives. Complementing the web pages is the Leadership Toolkit on Change that was widely distributed to the Defence Team in November 2015. Subsequently, the next step is the creation of an accessible overall strategic narrative document, which is currently in development. This document will be the precursor to the introduction of the change alignment programme intended to complement the next version of the Defence Plan.

Disciplined Business Execution saw both maturity and growth as a portfolio this year:

  • 8.1 Efforts to Enhance Performance-based Decision Making continued throughout the year and the initiative lead -- Chief of Programme -- continued to focus on the production of the draft programme activity layer of the sub-sub programmes to the Department’s Programme Activity Architecture (PAA). The Government’s stated intention to reset the Policy on Management, Resources and Results Structure and a movement from the PAA to a Departmental Outcomes Framework requires additional review to ascertain the full implications and work required to implement this new policy;
  • 8.2 Encourage and Leverage Front-line Innovation: the Public Affairs Group has maintained a popular series of videos and interviews that celebrate the innovative work that has gone on across the Defence Team. The Group also concluded its review of innovation programmes in other government departments and allied military organisations, and presented a business case that proposes the long-term institutionalisation of an innovation programme within Defence, recommending that the Defence Renewal Team take the lead. As work continues on the development of a broader defence-wide innovation programme, Level 1s across the organisation will continue to foster and celebrate innovation in their respective Groups and Commands. Moving forward, the challenge will be to ensure that the ideas generated in one part of the Defence Team (i.e. regionally) are embraced, monitored to track and ensure progress, and as applicable shared across the entire Defence Team and elsewhere;
  • 8.3 Policy and Procedure Continuous Improvement: a team continues to work with Level 1s to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy and administration resident in the Defence Administrative Orders and Directives (DAODs) and the eventual elimination of the Canadian Forces Administrative Orders (CFAOs). This year, 14 CFAOs were cancelled, 20 DAODs were reviewed and updated using the streamlined process introduced last year, and nine DAODs have been cancelled. The process, however, still requires a great deal of staff work that is both deliberate and time consuming: involving rigorous review that is mindful of all interdependencies, including those related to higher regulations; and
  • 8.4 Electronic Approvals. Since its formalisation as a Defence Renewal initiative in September 2015, a great deal of work has followed to assess the full-potential of the initiative, understand the broader Government of Canada  policy underpinnings, and explore how electronic approvals have been embraced elsewhere. While many less-complicated forms and processes lend themselves to approval electronically, others -- particularly those with direct financial implications -- require the development of a deliberate framework that respects specific accountabilities and audit requirements. Work on the framework is well underway. With e-approval already used with many departmental transactions and correspondence, momentum continues to build around this initiative that has as an early milestone of enabling for e-approval 25% of applicable processes by February 2017.

Openness and Trust – based on two initiatives – took concrete steps along the long path to promoting the transparency and effective knowledge sharing that are hallmarks of organisations that are committed to continuous and lasting improvement:

  • 9.1 World-class Knowledge Sharing: work on this initiative continues being complemented by significant departmental enhancements to the way information is shared internally through increased use of SharePoint, the Intranet Renewal Project that aims to make Defence Wide Area Network information more accessible, and the continuing GC Docs capital project. Moving forward, with a qualitative assessment of the Defence Team’s knowledge sharing capability completed, the initiatives can focus on a best practices review and an examination of the 2010 Organisational Learning Strategy:  ultimately leading to a strategy road map that will facilitate the diverse approaches to knowledge sharing that exist across the Defence Team;  and                                                                                            
  • 9.2 Coaching on Leading Transformational Change continues to advance and is being aided both by the Canadian School of the Public Service’s (CSPS) efforts to improve training on leadership and transformation, and the ongoing improvement of professional development and leadership training within the Canadian Armed Forces. A small working group of subject matter experts from Civilian HR and the Canadian Defence Academy carefully examined the leadership required to implement the initiative and assessed them against CAF and Public Service competencies.  The analysis also included the programmes and training delivery systems to achieve these competencies, as well as attendant regulatory frameworks. Looking to the future, the initiative will endeavour to identify additional means of improving transformational leadership training.