Monday, October 8, 2007

Happy New (Fiscal) Year!

Our performance year ended on September 30th - another strange decision by our government that has to have a year that is different from what most others call a year! But we finished the old one with a flurry. In a line from my favorite family movie, Remember the Titans, we finished strong...and "left no doubt!" We set many new performance records and met or exceeded almost all of our beginning of the year goals. Our focus on Execution made me proud to be a part of a great team.

And now we're already 1/52 of the way through the next performance year. Our schedules and budgets for the next year have to be locked in. Our goals must be identified and articulated to the team. Our After Action Reviews must be completed, with lessons learned captured and applied to our plans for this next year. Our customers must understand that we are focused on project delivery, not on the complexities of year-end and new fiscal year activities (of course, made more complex by the rules of our federal government!). The train never stops.

Here are a few of the things we have done to bring closure to the last year and to kick off the new one:

- We're holding daily synchronization sessions during the first two weeks with key leaders to ensure that we start the new year on the right foot. We dug ourselves into a hole last year because we were slow out of the gate. The synch sessions that allowed us to finish so well are continuing to ensure that our success is sustained.

- I have mandated that all After Action Reviews (AARs) be completed prior to our organizational review here in a few weeks. All section, branch, division, and support staff AARs must be completed, with key lessons recorded and posted onto our intranet site, before we meet to review those district-wide issues. While this is somewhat new to my team, it is how the Army does it - and it works. (You may want to check out my Leader Business Newsletter on AARs if this concept is new to you!)

- We have locked in our objectives for this next year that will drive our performance. We can't be "on time and under budget" if we have not established the goals for either one!

- We celebrated! I had my Public Affairs team create an internal game (a virtual "Whodunit" activity like Clue) that had people buzzing. We announced the winner of the game, championed the many great milestones that we had achieved in the past year, and had balloons, confetti, cake, and "bubbly" to ring in the New Year. I held a "virtual" town hall that allowed all 700 employees in our several dozen offices to be connected so I could tell them how proud I was of their accomplishments. It was a great day.

- I'm still working on a more long term strategic planning session (scheduled for several sessions over the next couple of months) that will allow us to really look deeper and really get after some badly needed transformation and culture issues. Those are coming and will be wrapped into our objectives for this new year.

So Happy New (fiscal) Year everyone! We have finished our celebrations and are re-focused on the road ahead. And that multi-lane highway, still under construction in a few areas, is wide open and already passing vehicles at full speed. Hooah!

That's Leader Business.

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