Strategic Planning & Performance Management

Strategic Planning

Fuel is different from other firms when it comes to organizational planning. Many firms offer big-concept, “strategic” consulting services without providing a concrete, actionable strategy. Enter Fuel: We help our clients translate strategic planning into strategic action, a tailored approach that’s essential when they face real-time, real-world challenges. Fuel will hit the ground running to help you energize your organization’s strategy planning process in times of crisis and change.

Example: Contingency Planning

A major federal intelligence organization attempting to develop a strategic plan was stuck: Its planners had produced a meticulous mission analysis, but no plan. In essence, they had a static picture of the status quo that failed to include any contingency planning to account for the dynamics of the real world.

Fuel hit the ground running, working with the client to backtrack through the analytical process, diagnose the problem, and move the organization’s thinking into the future. Our team was able to energize the planning process by establishing a recurring, integrative dialogue among the stakeholders, forgoing the all-too-common trap of creating a coffee-table plan.

The result: All levels of the organization — from management to planners to partners — were engaged to assess, understand, reorient, and, at times, modify their tactics to respond to their dynamic environment.

Example: Mission Transformation

An Intelligence Community customer was reinventing its information collection, production, and sharing practices, but was having difficulty deciding where to focus efforts. The client hired Fuel, and we started by forming close relationships with both the client's key personnel and the project’s stakeholders. Next, our team's experts identified the “pressure points” that were interfering with effective internal and external communication. Building on these relationships and information, Fuel energized an iterative organizational dialogue about alternative approaches for reinventing the information-management process. Along the way, Fuel injected additional data via interviews, research into best practices, mapping of business processes, and identification of key technology options.

Fuel worked with a large cohort of client and consultant representatives, to help craft a concept of operations that transformed the structure and function of the client’s work environment and business processes — one that continues to serve as the foundation of the client’s analysis and intelligence-production operations today.

 

Performance Management

Superior planning and effective messaging are crucial to organizational success. As every senior executive knows, however, plans and promises mean nothing without follow-through.

Productivity has many enemies in today’s world: from inflexible procedures, to top-heavy organizational structure, to a stale employee knowledge base. The first step in addressing such challenges is to thoroughly understand the problem. The next is to design and deploy an efficient, tailored solution.

Fuel offers a range of customized performance-management services to help you tackle those tasks and implement solutions that work, including benchmarking metrics, structural-functional analyses, and targeted continuing-education programs that enlighten.

Example: Process Improvement

An intelligence community Internet service provider (ISP) faced the unique challenge of stabilizing network operations during a period of unprecedented demand. “Firefighting” was clearly no longer a sustainable management practice, but alternative measures had failed.

Fuel worked with the program manager and the client to illuminate the problem: classic stovepiping. With the ultimate goal of transforming the organization into a process-centric operation, the best course of action was energizing the ISP by preparing its processes for an ISO 9000 Quality Management System (QMS) registration, the completion of which would help ensure that it meets the needs of customers and other stakeholders while meeting ISP statutory and regulatory requirements.

Working closely with leadership and other stakeholders, Fuel ensured that ISO 9000’s QMS requirements were met, that process performance was quantified using appropriate metrics, that corrective and preventive actions were documented and traceable, and that regular management review would uncover nonconformities. Fuel’s efforts resulted in the ISP becoming the first Intelligence Community office ever to receive ISO 9000 registration. Additionally, network availability increased from less than 97% to more than 99%.

Example: Customer Satisfaction

An IT management organization servicing the Intelligence Community was perplexed by mixed signals: Its customer satisfaction survey results were inconsistent with the number of real-time customer complaints received by senior executives. Fuel’s experts took the initiative, conducting an in-depth study of the tens of thousands of surveys returned during the previous 13 months. The application of best practices analysis and insights from a J.D. Powers-trained colleague illuminated the issue: not the survey instrument itself, but critical errors in the scoring schema that exaggerated satisfaction ratings.

Confirming senior managers’ intuition, the actual change ticket satisfaction rate was 15% less than reported, while the actual incident ticket satisfaction rate was 5% less than reported. Armed with this knowledge, Fuel’s enlightened senior executives, at no additional charge, identified a solution: Implement a weighted rating schema that employed the existing instrument while incorporating the algorithms necessary to score it correctly, and train the survey owner and its consultants on how to interpret the data.