At the Defense Acquisition University (DAU), we teach acquisition professionals the policies, processes and tools of the acquisition profession. We use a variety of learning strategies to enhance the “Intelligence Quotient (IQ)” of the acquisition workforce.
The 2014 U.S. Air Force policy document A Call to the Future boldly stated that the military of today and the future faces a new threat, a new environment, and urged that our force be prepared to respond appropriately. Its message was and is a call to accept a coming change that we cannot control, be prepared to fight new evolving threats, and begin thinking differently about how to execute our mission.
Typical acquisition reform efforts have been focused in the margins, achieving marginal results. The evidence of decades of acquisition reform indicates that the marginal reforms typically taken are not making the fundamental changes needed by the Department of Defense (DoD). Legislative changes made since 2009 and several years of Better Buying Power refinements have incrementally improved acquisition practice, but many would argue that more change is needed.
Congratulations! Since you wrote code in the past, you’re now designated as a software program manager for automated information systems (AISs) and information technology (IT). Don’t forget, you developed embedded digital engine control code or perhaps published vehicle dynamics modeling software, and so human resources now deems you as “in-the-know” about all matters IT, AIS and/or Defense Business Systems (DBS) technology. You have now been assigned to start managing one of the Department of Defense (DoD) IT/AIS programs somewhere in the system’s engineering process—perhaps in requirements or functional analysis and allocation or in synthesis.
Today many people have different attitudes when they try to formulate manufacturing technology transfer policies. On one hand, some proponents of technology transfer see it as a way to improve the U.S. international competitive position. On the other hand, concerns with undesirable and sometimes unanticipated side effects of the transfer of sensitive and critical technology have led to sentiments against technology transfer.
Since I returned to government 6 years ago, I have been working with the acquisition workforce and defense industry to improve defense acquisition performance. There is a lot of evidence that we are moving in the right direction. We have also effectively partnered with Congress on some initiatives, and we are in the midst of a new cycle of congressionally led efforts to improve defense acquisition—as in other cases with the label of “acquisition reform.”
A theme that frequently emerges during coaching engagements is that the Extraordinary Future is beyond the capacity of its leader acting alone. No one is an island, and it is through those they lead that catalytic actions are achieved.
Executive and leadership coaching currently is a growing business worth $2 billion a year. Chief executive officers and senior executives increasingly solicit the assistance of executive coaches. This naturally leads to two follow-up questions: Why are so many people in leadership positions turning to executive coaches for assistance? And how does executive coaching benefit the client and his or her organization?