DSCA Director's Blog

Here you will find thoughts and messages from the Director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency and his staff.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

All About Effecting Outcomes

People and organizations should put their time and energy into what is important. In other words, as VADM John Lockard, retired, former Commander of the Naval Air Systems Command, used to say, “It’s all about effecting outcomes.” The spirit of the concept is worth repeating and remembering.

As the leader of a defense agency responsible for $300 billion of equipment, training and services involving 213 countries and international organizations, I face many challenges. Inevitably, my team and I encounter complex problems which can be difficult to solve. I learned several decades ago that just because “everybody” identifies a problem, doesn’t mean that it has been solved. That problem can still develop into a crisis or, worse yet, a failure.

Asking and answering the following three questions at the outset will bring clarity and structure to the analysis. First, “What is the root cause of the problem?” Second, “What is the solution?” Finally, “Who is going to do the work?” Agreement on the answers to these questions provides a firm basis for implementation of a solution. Too often, differences of opinion on fundamental issues eat up valuable time, the lead-time to fix the problem passes, and the project fails. So, focusing on the three important questions is essential. The answers will tell you “How you can effect the outcome.”

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