“You absolutely need to have a sponsor who can look after you and smooth your way through some of the governance committees that exist across large government organizations.” – Jerome Reid, Head of Reserve Reform, Australian Department of Defence
Introducing In the field, a new feature reporting on examples of our collaboration with government teams around the world. Stephen Koss talks to Jerome Reid about transformation and evidence-based policy-making.
Jerome Reid, newly appointed Head of Reserve Reform at the Australian Department of Defence, was faced with the Herculean task of delivering efficiency savings and enhancing capability delivery at the same time.
The Australian Reserve comprises Navy, Army and Air Force, with approximately 25,000 active and another 25,000 standby reservists. Its mission is to deliver specified capability and support and sustain Australian Defence Force preparedness and operations.
To convince multiple stakeholders that a change of course was necessary, Reid looked to the evidence to shape his revamped proposals.
Working with Ernst & Young, Reid and his team developed “Plan Suakin,” an evidence-based plan for transforming the Reserve workforce. “Our focus was producing the enabling model that allows any capability demand to be supplied,” explains Reid.
“Plan Suakin looks across Permanent to Reserve and the movement between them. It looks to enhance this model with a career management system that is geared to delivering that sort of flexibility. It also looks at remuneration, the governance and administration around transfers from one service to another. And finally we looked at an innovative technology solution for engaging and communicating with Reserves.”
It’s good to talk
A project of such scope demanded the backing of key stakeholders from across the organization, and Reid deployed his full powers of persuasion to ensure this support. “I whiteboarded my office with a matrix listing people as ‘influential’ and ‘committed’ and used those people to bring the others along. You need to pay constant attention to your stakeholder engagement, because as soon as someone slips off, you need to bring them back up.”
Building and sustaining momentum is also crucial. A reform program needs to be established in 18 months, because circumstances change and it can be difficult to deliver progress.
A solid evidence base and having your facts right is important to build your credibility. The last requisite is a fair degree of personal resilience.
Plan Suakin is currently being implemented across the Australian Defence Force, Reid’s focus is now on implementation and the next stages of his transformation program. Watch this space.
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