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CHIPS Articles: Message from the DON CIO, October-December 2006

Message from the DON CIO, October-December 2006
Reflecting on Change and People
By Dave Wennergren - October-December 2006
A journey of transformation never ends. The value of continuous improvement efforts is that we remain ever vigilant to look for opportunities to improve efficiency and effectiveness, to drive out waste and variability in processes and to seek out meaningful organizational and process change. Information technology is crucial to our transformation, but we must never lose sight of the fact that IT is an "enabler" for warfighting/business transformation and merely inserting new technology is not enough.

The power of technology today is its ability to unite us, around the world, to share knowledge, reduce cycle time, increase quality and improve our ability to make well-informed and timely decisions. Implementing an automated solution in a vacuum is not the answer. The focus of our efforts must be to improve our processes and then leverage technology as a tool to accelerate and sustain the transformation.

Enterprise Resource Planning solutions only deliver their true potential if we take the hard steps of reviewing and changing our processes. A new personnel system will miss the mark if we don't make the effort to use the deployment of the system as a catalyst for change — to eliminate non-value added work, unnecessary steps and oversight, and antiquated processes.

The key to our success then, is not the technology, but rather our people. Each of you is the spark that can ignite dramatic improvements in the way we defend this great nation. As Information Management/Information Technology professionals, you are thrust into the forefront of change.

You are the community that first realized that today's complex problems cross organizational boundaries and the old models of personal control had to be cast aside if we were to truly achieve the benefit of moving away from sub-optimized local solutions to enterprise-wide naval and joint solutions. You are lightening rods for change; you carry the torch for this great organization and your commitment to being positive forces for change will create an exciting and powerful future.

You must support and encourage each other, as change management is never an easy task. Be undaunted, and don't let frustration or impatience overwhelm you, but rather let it be an engine to accelerate your efforts and strengthen your commitment. Peter Drucker, one of the great leadership minds of the 20th century, once said, "Management is about [people] … [making] their strengths effective and their weaknesses irrelevant."

I consider myself blessed to work with such an outstanding group of Sailors, Marines, civilians and contractors who, choosing careers of service and sacrifice, strive tirelessly to preserve our freedom and improve our capabilities. Each of you makes a difference. Each of you is crucial to our future. Lead by example; motivate by your personal commitment.

Remember what Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan said in their book, "Execution"— "Leaders get the behaviors they exhibit and tolerate."

Remember also what George Labovitz and Victor Rosansky said in their book, "The Power of Alignment" —"Whether it comes from the top, the middle or somewhere else, positive leadership and energy are required to move people to action."

And so I'll end this column the way I began my first column in this fine magazine. It is a time of change; it is a time of opportunity. Always remember that there is great power in working as a team, and there is unlimited potential in your creativity, imagination, perseverance and commitment. Thank you for all that you do in support of this great Navy-Marine Corps team.

TAGS: Workforce
Dave Wennergren

CHIPS is an official U.S. Navy website sponsored by the Department of the Navy (DON) Chief Information Officer, the Department of Defense Enterprise Software Initiative (ESI) and the DON's ESI Software Product Manager Team at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific.

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