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5 Steps to Achieving Your Intel Team's Full Performance Potential

By LaShawn Douglas

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Achieving elite performance can seem like a huge lift for those in the intelligence community. Organizations in the intelligence community know their mission. They understand the importance of their job and they know how to get the job done. Yet, many national defense and intelligence agencies struggle to reach the next level. How do you cut through the clutter, stop spinning your wheels, and start achieving elite performance?Many leaders choose to reorganize, put in place expensive technology initiatives, or institute training or professional development programs, but to really accelerate performance, process improvement methodologies should be part of the equation. Through performance optimization you can achieve your intel office’s full potential.

Where do you start?

Here are five steps to get your intel office’s performance on track to reach the next level.

Step 1: Rapid Alignment and Project Selection

This is the initial alignment and planning stage: share best practices, identify top areas for improvement that require dedicated support, and prioritize the best few improvement projects for execution.

Step 2: Project-Based Process Improvement

For each improvement project, visualize a clear picture of the current state, as well as near and long-term aspiration. In this stage, you want to make sure you capture baseline data about organizational processes using proven tools, including: value stream mapping, root cause analysis, and expert interviews.

Step 3: Continuous Reevaluation and Improvement

This is where you implement your overall project management and continuous monitoring of the portfolio of the step 2 initiative. While focusing on your confirmed improvement projects, you want to ensure they align with your strategic and organizational objectives.

Step 4: Strategic Coordination and Exposure to Community Activities

Determine the support necessary for coordination on assorted topics between your agency and the general community. Organize visits and information exchange between the groups.

Step 5: Cultural Development 

Monitor and recognize the current status of the culture of your office. As project-based process improvements commence, simultaneously focus on building a culture of distributed leadership at the lowest level possible, so decisions are made at the source. This will support an agile organization that can best meet customer demands.

Once your agency hits its stride, the challenges holding you back become manageable factors that you can control in-house. Congressional reporting shows a trend of sustained process improvement and the budget previously burned on slack and whipping your offices into shape, can be better maximized to accelerate excellence.

The Agency Guide to Deploying Operations Improvement Efforts