BATTLE CREEK, Mich., Oct. 25, 2019 —
Defense Logistics Agency Disposition Services leaders from around the world gathered at the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center in Battle Creek, Michigan, focusing on the way ahead for the agency.
The pinnacle of the October summit focused on workforce culture and safety.
“It’s a good culture, you have a lot of things going on in this organization,” said Jay Richards from the Denison Consulting team that oversees the bi-annual survey for DLA that focuses on boosting performance by improving culture and leadership.
When the agency started tracking its culture in 2003, it was ranked in the bottom 3rd of organizations for culture, he said. Richards continued to applaud the agency for looking at the data and acting on it as DLA is now ranked in the top 3rd of all organizations.
While the agency has improved, continued feedback is required for growth.
The summit formed 10 focus groups and brainstormed ways to overcome what each perceived as the top obstacles impacting culture.
The groups’ briefings provided the way ahead. Common themes included communication, training and expectations.
Concurrent to the summit, the Culture Action Team met throughout the week to share ideas and develop a plan for the coming year focusing on the workforce and the upcoming Denison Survey.
March 2020 will be the agency’s next pulse check in which all associates are encouraged to take the survey, providing valuable feedback to the highest levels of the organization.
“You have to be the example of doing the right thing, the right way, every time,” said DLA Disposition Services Director Mike Cannon.
“As leaders, your people are looking at you,” echoed Chief Counsel Stauffer Malcom as he provided various examples of ethics and its impact.
Bringing a little fun to the training, leaders played a Jeopardy-like game to test their knowledge on various ethic-related laws. Some of the scenarios were more obvious than others, although they all encouraged additional discussions.
“It goes beyond what is right – how it will be perceived is just as important,” said Malcom.
As supervisors and leaders, if you walk by a safety violation and don’t correct it, you just made it acceptable, Cannon explained, specifically discussing material handling equipment incidents.
“We have to take an active, progressive role on mishap prevention,” said Cannon. “ICOs [instructor and certifying officers] are key and critical to helping us protect the workforce. As leaders of this organization, we are responsible for the safety of our employees.”
Briefings by the Safety Office focused on the importance of reporting not only mishaps but also near misses so it can be revaluated, and plans created to prevent future occurrences.
“Report near misses. It allows us to see what’s happening and to be proactive to prevent future mishaps,” said Cannon.
While there is room for improvement, overall, it’s a good news story for us said Ernest Chee-Chong, DLA Disposition Services Mid America safety officer. Data is showing a downward trend of all safety related incidents since the realignment and safety officers being placed at the regional commands. Disposition Services has less than 1% of all incidents for DLA.