A civilian garrison of the U.S. Army was facing potential cutbacks and certain competition from outside contractors for various components of its operation. Some leaders saw the opportunity to transform the garrison to a high performance culture that operated “less like a government organization and more like a business,” as stated by one functional leader. Others, however, saw a threat and adopted a “this, too, shall pass” attitude.
As stated by one of the executive team who had worked for the garrison for nearly fifty years, “There have been many initiatives over the years and I’ve seen commanders come and commanders go. Those of us who’ve been around awhile know that we’ll keep working the same way we always have.”
A small group of executives, led by the commander of the garrison, saw the outside threat as real and wanted to transform to a high performance culture able to compete with outside contractors. They recognized this would require buy-in from the senior leadership, clear definitions
Erik developed the plan and facilitated an organization change initiative to create a culture more consistent with the organization’s emerging needs. Using a series of workshops, we helped organization leaders assess decision-making processes, leadership style, degree of organization integration, and unit performance. In addition, we provided tools to help improve processes and analyze results, including financial and statistical performance metrics.
Erik established a cultural competencies framework as the foundation to identify and develop leaders and as a tool to create dialog between managers and employees. In addition the framework was used to evaluate and modify supporting infrastructure such as HR programs and practices.
The change program that was initially piloted in one business unit was rolled out to the entire garrison. At a time when other government organizations saw significant restructuring, the garrison made performance gains and minimized job loss to outside contractors.