I was working with an Army command at Ft. Sam Houston this week and had invited a special guest – Scott Hencshel – to address the group regarding the organizational challenges of implementing a balanced scorecard system within Army. (Scott’s command is also stationed at Ft. Sam Houston – Army Medical Department Center & School (AMEDDC&S), an Institute “Award for Excellence” winner.)
As Scott was wrapping up, someone asked a final question, “What was the biggest benefit that AMEDDC&S realized after implementing its strategic balanced scorecard?” Scott talked about alignment, focus, and data-driven decision making. Then as he was making his way to the door he turned back and said, “Oh yeah, we immediately saved the Army $26 million.”
AMEDDC&S is where the U.S. Army educates and trains all of its medical personnel – over 27,000 soldiers. One of the strategic measures on AMEDD’s balanced scorecard is “attrition rates.” Before the scorecard was implemented, it was commonly believed that discipline issues were the primary reason for soldiers not completing their training programs – because resolution of these discipline issues were what consumed everyone’s time. Once the scorecard was implemented, attrition was measured more thoroughly and two discoveries were made:
- Attrition was MUCH higher than originally thought. The traditional calculation was flawed and attrition was actually over 34%. That means 1/3 of those entering the medical training programs would “drop-out” thereby wasting the Army’s investment in their training.
- Academic performance, not discipline, was discovered to be the primary reason for attrition.
So as the scorecard team delved further, they looked for root causes of poor academic performance resulting in attrition incidents. They discovered that a major cause was a lack of communication between the Brigade leadership and the AMEDDC&S faculty. Students in the medical training program were being assigned Brigade duties that prevented them from having proper opportunities to study and prepare for classes and exams. A prime example was students falling asleep during final exams due to having served Brigade guard duty the night before.
Once the communications issues were corrected, overall attrition rapidly dropped from 34% to below 20%…thereby saving the U.S. Army $26 million.
PS: Did I mention that I have the best job in the world?!? It is extremely rewarding to hear about results like this.
For more examples of break-through performance, we invite you to read “The Institute Way: Simply Strategic Planning & Management with the Balanced Scorecard.”
Author: Gail Stout Perry
Gail is co-author of The Institute Way. With a career spanning over 30 years of strategic planning and performance management consulting with corporate, nonprofit, and government organizations, she enjoys speaking, training, and writing, sharing her experience with others.