BATTLE CREEK, Mich. –
DLA Disposition Services Director Mike Cannon laid out his organizational intent and vision for a successful 2021 during a virtual talk conducted from command headquarters in Battle Creek, Michigan, Oct. 29.
The online presentation capped off a three-day leadership summit conducted annually among Battle Creek support staff and the area and region managers who execute the agency’s property reuse and disposal mission around the world.
Cannon’s remarks touched on everything from safety and warehouse modernization to potential strategy shifts, but above all, he challenged the leadership cadre to “continue to get better.”
“I would like each and every one of you to consciously think about that when you go to work – every day for the rest of the year,” Cannon said. “What is your position? You’re a leader. If you’re listening [in], you’re a leader. And if you’re not a formal leader or supervisor, you’re a leader in your worksite whether you want to be or not. What is your piece of this giant organization? If we all come in to work, do a good job and be nice to each other, our outstanding organization will be even more incredible.”
He praised the resiliency and focus team members had shown in the face of an unprecedented global health challenge and encouraged leaders to help keep organizational focus tightly on its customers, saying that no matter what additional curveballs the new year might throw, “it won’t stop us from doing the mission.” Some big parts of that, he said, would be continuing “aggressive communications” with customers, staying embedded at every level of their property disposal planning, working toward more thorough auditability, and getting DLA identified as DOD’s “executive agent” for disposal – an official designation that would increase the agency’s influence in disposal operations and strengthen its coordination ability.
Just over two weeks remained for employees to provide inputs to the agency’s biannual Culture/Climate Survey, and as always, Cannon reminded people that he personally reads every comment submitted and relies on survey responses to help the command understand trends and ways it can improve employee engagement and job satisfaction. DLA Disposition Services led among all the agency’s major sub-commands with the highest response rate the past couple of survey cycles, and Cannon implored people to once again help the command get as close to a 100 percent response as possible, to ensure that the picture created by the survey is the fullest, most accurate assessment possible.
“I will never be satisfied with how great we are,” he said, explaining how survey feedback is boiled down to action plans meant to improve the workplace experience.
Cannon detailed actions the command had taken in response to the pandemic, and he said that reconstitution – with the safety of the workforce as the ultimate measure – was a current top priority. He told leaders to continue to have their sites practice good hygiene, social distance when possible and wear masks. He said the workforce had experienced some positive cases, but none where the person contracted it at work.
“I want our sites to be safer than anywhere else in their town or on base,” Cannon said, stressing that if an installation is opening up and increasing its workload, “We’ve got to keep pace with them. … Our goal is to reconstitute as quickly as is safely possible.”
In a typical year, awards for best sites based on various metrics and customer feedback are given during the leadership summit. This year, because of site manning barriers outside of its control, those awards were not determined. Cannon said it was tough to calculate rankings, so “you all win.”
Instead, this year field leadership was invited to identify headquarters staffers from among “those people … that the field identified as top supporters – headquarters all-stars – the folks those in the field thought gave them the best support over the past year,” Cannon said.
Those headquarters “all stars” included: Colleen Jewell, Doug Mulvaney, Andrew VanKoevering, Brent Jennings, Judy Mahmat, Roxanne Clark, Kevin McCormick, Josey Kidd, Tim Cronk and Hillary Casari.
Equal Opportunity Office Director Al Hight received his 30-year federal service award.