THE ARMY TRANSFORMATION ROADMAP IS THE SHINING LIGHT GUIDING THE PHILIPPINE ARMY TOWARDS ITS 2028 VISION OF A WORLD CLASS ARMY THAT IS A SOURCE OF NATIONAL PRIDE.
The initiative to transform is not new to the Philippine Army (PA) as an organization. The PA has been receptive to various transformation initiatives designed to bring about institutional reforms in the organization. The Department of National Defense (DND) remains proactive in launching and enforcing these reforms that are conceived to effect dramatic changes on how military organizations conduct their business, likewise, move forward. The most noteworthy institutional reforms being championed by DND in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and its major services include the following:
- The continued implementation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program;
- The institutionalization of the Philippine Defense Reform Program; and
- The institutionalization of the Defense System of Management.
These reforms are aimed at addressing the various needs of military organizations by looking into their capabilities, conduct of missions, and critical processes.
Best practices require an examination of initiatives as a closely knitted approach towards carrying out the envisaged changes. Quoting directly from the Balanced Scorecard Collaborative (BSCol) Research[i] published in March 2006, “organizations with a formal strategy execution process in place DRAMATICALLY OUTPERFORM those without formal processes”.
Using these findings as a starting point for further discussions, it is therefore not enough that programs and projects (and even looking at their potential impact) have been identified.
These programs and projects must be situated and referred to using a common framework – a common platform – that ties the entire strategy execution process of the PA and all of its initiatives together. This is what the Performance Governance System (PGS) of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA) intends to bring into the PA – a single and unifying governance framework through which all the current and the envisaged initiatives of the organization will be anchored into.
A single and unifying governance framework for the PA will offer two significant benefits to the organization, namely focused governance communications and focused strategy execution.
FOCUSED GOVERNANCE COMMUNICATIONS
This will allow the PA to echo and cascade a single governance initiative. Also, this will allow the PA to accurately describe all of its initiatives as mechanisms to accomplish the said initiative that will cut across all units in the organization. In turn, it will be easier to galvanize the support of all units by referring to a single yet highly strategic governance initiative that will spell the direction of the organization.
FOCUSED STRATEGY EXECUTION
A single and unifying governance framework puts more focus in strategy execution as all units will look only into a single governance initiative. Activities and components of the PA will be anchored on the said initiative. Hence, the units need not be confused which of the initiatives must be given more attention. The PGS introduces a mechanism that will enable the units to see how initiatives are aligned to certain commitments and performance measures in the governance framework.
THE STRATEGY EXECUTION PROCESS
Relating the presence of a strategy execution process to the Philippine Army, a study was made by the Institute for Solidarity in Asia on this matter – referred to as the Strategy Focused Organization (SFO) Survey.[ii] The objective of the study was to benchmark the existing strategy systems of the PA to the five SFO Principles, namely:
- Mobilize change for executive leadership;
- Translate the strategy into operations terms;
- Align the organization around its strategy;
- Motivate to make the strategy everyone’s job; and
- Govern to make the strategy a continual process.[iii]
These principles are a compilation of the best practices spanning from an analysis of progressive private and public organizations around the world that have demonstrated breakthrough performances as a result of proper systems in strategy execution. Thus, a sincere response on the study will reveal the quality of the strategy execution systems of the PA vis-à-vis the successful strategy focused organizations in the world.
Quoting from the results of the SFO Survey conducted by ISA to the PA:
“The reported SFO Readiness Profile of the Philippine Army shows that in all of the five SFO Principles, the readiness is below the average… The impression on the presence of gaps on these areas is shared and observed across all ranks and composition of the organization who participated in the survey…”[iv]
ISA, however, mentioned that while the results may seem not ideal, these are common not only to organizations in the Philippines such as the PA but also to other organizations around the world.
In a study made by Drs. Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton[v], ONLY 10% of effectively formulated strategies are executed properly and successfully. This research validates why STRATEGY EXECUTION is considered the single most important issue facing organizations today, more than financial performance and risk management.
This highlights the need for a single and unifying governance framework that will see through the implementation of the Army Transformation Roadmap (ATR) and the cementing of its execution in the PA.
THE PERFORMANCE GOVERNANCE SYSTEM
The Assistant Chief of Staff for Plans and Policy, G5, PA conceptualized the Army Transformation Roadmap in compliance to the Command Guidance[vi] issued by the Commanding General of the Philippine Army. The ATR project is anchored on the Institute for Solidarity in Asia’s Performance Governance System for three reasons:
- The principles of the Army Transformation Roadmap are consistent with the principles behind the Performance Governance System.
- The envisaged benefits and changes through the Performance Governance System will magnify the gains of the Philippine Army following the governance framework.
- The success stories of other partners show the competency and the credibility of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia in terms of its command over applying the Performance Governance System to its partners.
Furthermore, the PGS of ISA is a recognized Philippine adaptation of the Balanced Scorecard (BSC). It has the same principles but with culture-sensitive practices. It is designed to help organizations execute their transformation initiatives that will bring about breakthrough results.
In determining whether the PGS is the best Strategy Execution Process that fits to the general requirements of the ATR, three considerations were made:
- What is the Performance Governance System?
- What does the Performance Governance System envision to accomplish?
- Why the Performance Governance System of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia?
WHAT IS THE PERFORMANCE GOVERNANCE SYSTEM?
The Performance Governance System emphasizes on three critical aspects needed by organizations such as the Philippine Army in this day and age. These are Performance, Governance, and System.
PERFORMANCE demands the delivery of the expected level of results from a clear set of measures, targets, and initiatives that serves as a yardstick for measuring and evaluating the success of the organization. The objective of performance is to veer away from a word-based reporting of progress towards a score-based reporting of progress that can easily be validated.
The establishment of a common scorecard system acceptable to the stakeholders will benefit the PA in two ways:
- This will allow the organization to be transparent in its conduct of business, in the same way, to be accountable to certain targets that are deemed valuable to the stakeholders.
- This will enable the organization to report on performance gains and on historical performance progression through objective scores and data that can be subjected to public scrutiny and validation.
In effect, there will be a common scorecard system to judge whether the PA is a highly performing organization or not.
GOVERNANCE gives greater emphasis on the institutions more than the personalities. Governance-practicing institutions adhere to the three principles of governance[vii] to which the PGS is built on. These governance principles are as follows:
FIRST AND FOREMOST: People have to be convinced that they cannot get good governance unless they complement it with responsible citizenship.[viii]
For governance to work in the PA, it is necessary that governance must be perceived as a responsibility of all units forming the organization: the top leadership, the senior officers, the field grade officers, the junior officers, the enlisted personnel, the civilian employees, and the reservists. Governance initiatives must be synchronized in which reforms are championed and shared in all levels in the organization.
The candles of governance must be lighted and seen in all levels in the PA to create pockets of success that will radiate ever so strongly and will continue to burn allowing the governance campaign to thrive. It is clear that GOVERNANCE IS NOT SOLELY THE CRUSADE OF THE TOP LEADERSHIP. IT WORKS BEST ONLY WHEN IT IS COUPLED BY RESPONSIBLE CITIZENSHIP.
SECOND: There is much more to good governance than simply giving and doling out various ‘goodies’ to constituents; there is also the corresponding duty of asking for civic participation and social involvement.[ix]
Governance calls for getting involved with the stakeholders. For public sector organizations, governance demands the organization not only to do acts of goodness but also to respond directly to its mandate – on the service to the stakeholders that it must produce.
For this to be attainable, it is inherently essential for the PA to work closely with the stakeholders in pursuit of such undertaking. The stakeholders can be effective governance partners of the organization. They can also perform a number of roles, such as:
- Being the best judge to know whether the Philippine Army is contributing to the society or not;
- Providing data and information that will serve as good inputs to the strategy development process;
- Serving as watchdogs to guard the execution of programs and projects and to see through the continuity of the governance strategy;
- Being co-owners of the governance strategy; and
- Serving as gate-openers of opportunities that will make possible the attainment of planned targets.
THIRD: Words, slogans, and rhetoric are great but only if they are connected with and lead to corresponding actions that provide the desired outcomes.[x]
In other words, governors and governed as well as public officials and responsible citizens must observe a system by which they can translate their common aspirations for their community to specific commitments and initiatives. These must aim at targets which are measured, regularly assessed, and duly reported for the information of all.[xi]
The Institute for Solidarity in Asia advocates a culture of governance promoting responsible citizenship in all aspects and in all levels in the organization. The culture of governance is attuned towards building synergistic partnerships with the stakeholders to drive aspirations and performances through a clear set of commitments and initiatives coupled by an action-based plan.
The culture of governance will bring about these transformations:
Governance, therefore, transcends personalities with focus on institutions. As the PGS aspires to become the governance framework of the PA in active partnership with the stakeholders, it focuses on programs and projects that can continue beyond the current leadership and can survive the changes in the command. These programs and projects can be mechanisms to build a better and stronger PA.
In effect, perspectives are changed from short-term to long-term resulting in the creation of proactive strategies that address interconnected issues and not of reactive tactics that address mainly a single issue.
SYSTEM requires situating all activities and components of the PA as mechanisms in reinforcing the strategic direction that the organization intends to pursue. This necessitates:
- Looking at the strategic direction of the Philippine Army and relating it to the organization’s current operations;
- Linking all the systems of the Philippine Army to work on the strategy; and
- Allowing the long-term strategy of the Philippine Army to determine the short-term direction that will be pursued by the organization.
Deliberating through systems will increase the awareness on how the PA and its elements must be analyzed drawing on a stronger command of the cause and effect relationship among the elements of the organization – Core Values, Mission, Vision, Strategy Map, Governance Scorecard, Units and Offices, Internal and External Stakeholders, Strategic Priorities, and Performance Reports. This is best seen by looking at the various perspectives governing organizations in general:
Concisely, the Performance Governance System meets the good governance and responsible citizenship needs for performance breakthrough results; for governance that is institution-focused, long-term, strategic, and interconnected; and for system that has continuous and sustained efforts with quarterly assessments and recalibrations.
WHAT DOES THE PERFORMANCE GOVERNANCE SYSTEM ENVISION TO ACCOMPLISH?
MAIN THING, the Performance Governance System envisions to bring about breakthrough results in good governance and responsible citizenship in the Philippine Army. This is possible through the various systems that will be installed in the organization as a result of using the governance framework.
The benefits of the PGS are distributed on the four-stage Governance Pathway, namely: Initiation, Compliance, Proficiency, and Institutionalization. Each of these stages contributes to the continuing initiative to formalize the governance culture that is being envisaged for PGS partners.
THE PGS INITIATION STAGE kicks off the process of the governance culture in the organization. The PGS provides the infrastructure for public officials and citizens to work together in pursuing long-term goals. Embedded in the PGS is a system of scorecards, a tool for monitoring the organization’s progress.[xii]
At the first stage of the Governance Pathway, the strategy will be translated into a clear set of objectives and targets on a balanced perspective of constituency and stakeholders, organizational learning and growth, finance and resource management, and internal processes and infrastructures. The visual representation of the interconnection of the objectives forms part of the Strategy Map which is directed towards achieving the vision. The Strategy Map is guided by the Governance Scorecard which tracks the performance of the organization relative to its commitments.
At the PGS Initiation Stage, the PA aims to accomplish the following objectives:
- To allow the Philippine Army to review its strategic direction – Core Values, Mission, and Vision – taking into account the inputs of the stakeholders;
- To translate the strategic direction into objectives considering a holistic view of the organization;
- To draw the relationship of the objectives that will capture the strategy of the Philippine Army; and
- To produce objective indicators and measures of success that will gauge the progress of the organization.
Initiation, in effect, will cement the long-term strategic direction of the PA that will be the basis of all commitments and initiatives of the organization.
THE PGS COMPLIANCE STAGE builds on the strategic direction formed at the PGS Initiation Stage. With the direction in place, the second stage of the Governance Pathway intends to galvanize and to align units and processes to the strategy.
At the PGS Compliance Stage, the PA aims to accomplish the following objectives:
- To align the units of the Philippine Army to the strategy through a common scorecard system with clear accountabilities;
- To form a committed group of external stakeholders determined to see the Philippine Army transform and realize its vision; and
- To enable the full-functioning of the strategy by linking the budget of the Philippine Army with those of the strategic initiatives.
Alignment is crucial in ensuring the success of the strategy. The process translates the organization-wide commitment into clear accountabilities by the units, which when summed up, attains the organization-wide commitment.
Compliance, in effect, will facilitate the sharing of accountabilities to the units of the PA until the strategy reaches all units down to the individual level as the organization continues to progress in the PGS Governance Pathway.
THE PGS PROFICIENCY STAGE sets the platform for successful strategy execution. With the strategy cascaded to the units, the third stage of the Governance Pathway features a thorough analysis and examination of the actual execution. The critical components in the PGS Proficiency Stage are the mechanisms to document and to evaluate the performance of the organization as inputs to the further planning and enhancement of the strategy. The various mechanisms installed are aligned to such functions.
At the PGS Proficiency Stage, the PA aims to accomplish the following objectives:
- To formalize a unit that will perform the tasks of the Office of Strategy Management committed to see through the execution of the strategy as well as to oversee the coordinated implementation of the Performance Governance System in the Philippine Army;
- To develop systems that will institutionalize the review of the strategy in the Philippine Army; and
- To install mechanisms for reporting on the performance of the Philippine Army.
Through the constant organization and performance review process, similarly, the constant infrastructure build-up to align units and individuals, partners in the PGS Proficient Stage are envisioned to document breakthrough results from the continuous implementation of the PGS.
THE PGS INSTITUTIONALIZATION STAGE sees evidence of breakthrough performance in most of the measures specified in the scorecard. Two other crucial expectations are: that the PGS is linked to the performance appraisal of the individual employees and that some form of outreach to propagate the PGS has been done by the organization through its OSM that is expected to evolve into a Center for Leadership at this stage.[xiii]
At the PGS Institutionalization Stage, the PA aims to accomplish the following objectives:
- To document breakthrough results in the Philippine Army after a successful implementation and execution of the strategy;
- To create mechanisms that will enable an alignment to the Performance Governance System down to the individual level;
- To formalize a culture of governance in the Philippine Army with the Office of Strategy Management taking on the functions of the Center for Leadership; and
- To become advocates and champions of governance as well as to propagate the advocacy of governance and the use of Performance Governance System to other organizations.
Through these mechanisms, the cultures of governance and performance will be well-institutionalized in the PA. The breakthrough performance that the organization is expecting to realize demonstrates the close association between governance and performance. Formalizing a culture of governance will result to the cultivation of a culture of performance in the PA.
Therefore, the identified benefits derived from using the Performance Governance System is consistent with the objectives set forth in the Army Transformation Roadmap, namely:
- To determine the organizational and capability gaps, issues, and other challenges that affect the accomplishment of the Philippine Army’s vision, mission, and strategic goals;
- To establish and set the Philippine Army’s strategic direction by reviewing and validating its current vision, mission, and core values as well as by defining its strategic goals and desired capabilities;
- To develop the Philippine Army’s institutional strategy that will provide the overarching framework to bring the organization from where it is now towards its vision for the future;
- To formulate the implementing plans that will translate the broad objectives to specific actions and will enable the Philippine Army to realize its vision and to perform its functions; and
- To institute a monitoring and evaluation system that will ensure that the plan is implemented accordingly.[xiv]
WHY THE PERFORMANCE GOVERNANCE SYSTEM OF THE INSTITUTE FOR SOLIDARITY IN ASIA?
The Institute for Solidarity in Asia was established in December 2000 with the primary purpose of pushing for comprehensive and systemic reforms at both the national and the local levels. As it envisions to become the leading public governance reform institute in East Asia by 2015, it advocates a paradigm shift from short-term to long-term perspective, from tactics to strategies, from an individual issue problem-solving to interconnected issues problem-solving, and from personalities to institutions.
Since the Performance Governance System of ISA was first launched in 2004 to a select group of local government units, the system is currently being used by a varied set of public sector organizations, local government units, and national government agencies including government owned and controlled corporations. These institutions have benefitted from implementing the system. To date, more than forty five institutions are making their journey on the four stages of the Governance Pathway including more than thirty local government units from metro giants such as Iloilo City, Marikina City, and San Fernando City to small municipalities such as Bani and Sta. Fe; public sector organizations such as the Accountancy Profession Association and the Nursing Profession Association; national government agencies such as the Philippine Military Academy and the Philippine Navy; and even government owned and controlled corporations such as the National Electrification Administration.
The PGS partners have spread their wings soaring mightily and reaching greater heights. Two of the most successful partners of ISA include the City of San Fernando and the City of Iloilo.
The City of San Fernando was awarded the Galing Pook Awards when they entered the PGS, hence, making governance a shared responsibility. Successful breakthrough results include raising a total of Php1.6B of funds outside the City Government Accounts, a satisfaction rating of ninety nine percent, and an improvement in business permits and licensing from two weeks to two hours among others.[xv]
The City of Iloilo proved to the world that Filipinos can be good strategy executioners when it bagged the prestigious Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame for Executing Strategy given to a few and select institutions world-wide. It demonstrates breakthrough results by having twelve Business Process Outsourcing Locators from initially having none, billions of additional investments in the manufacturing industry, high National Achievement Test Averages, and Billion-mark City Government Income (one of the few cities outside Manila with such income).[xvi]
Because of the success of the PGS in local government units, it is used by the National Government – through an order issued from the Office of the President dated July 2009 – as the governance framework in pursuing the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact Status. The Malacañang Palace saw the potential of the PGS to reform and to transform institutions mandating its adoption to the six national government agencies. These include the Department of Education, the Department of Health, the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of Transportation and Communications, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, and the Philippine National Police
In effect, the PGS is elevated as a policy improvement project of the Government of the Philippines. The Philippines is listed as a Compact Status Partner of the Millennium Challenge Corporation and is due to be given grants.
Most importantly, the PGS of ISA has guided military and uniformed institutions in identifying and implementing their own strategic initiatives. It enabled the Philippine Military Academy to craft their own Roadmap and the Philippine Navy together with the Philippine Marines and the Philippine Fleet to craft their own Sail Plan. Even the Armed Forces of the Philippines expressed their interest to create their own roadmap but is asked by the Department of National Defense to defer such undertaking. It is because the DND is closely being considered among the next batch of national government agencies to adopt the PGS which also include the Bureau of Customs, the Civil Service Commission, the Department of Budget and Management, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Development Academy of the Philippines, the National Economic Development Authority, and the Presidential Management Staff.
As such, the Army Transformation Roadmap is anchored on the Performance Governance System of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia.
THE PERFORMANCE GOVERNANCE SYSTEM AND THE ARMY TRANSFORMATION ROADMAP
The discussions on the Performance Governance System of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia put emphasis on three points:
- The Performance Governance System is neither a short-term solution nor a quick fix on how things are approached. Rather, it is an institutional governance initiative aimed at transforming organizations.
- The Performance Governance System banks on a transparent and verifiable performance reporting of initiatives, measures, and targets that are set and accomplished in partner with the stakeholders and the constituents.
- The Performance Governance System is not a single program or project that can be championed and executed by one unit only. To be more precise, it is a governance initiative championed and executed in all aspects and in all levels in the organization.
These points, alongside the other points mentioned in the discussions, are the reasons why the Performance Governance System is the framework and the platform to which the Army Transformation Roadmap builds into. Using the three points raised draws a closer look at the said project.
FIRST, the Army Transformation Roadmap is a long-term initiative. It is not a quick fix. It entails assessing and understanding the Philippine Army as well as uprooting and disabling the issues plaguing the organization to realize its direction. The governance advocated by the Institute for Solidarity in Asia is the same kind of governance the Philippine Army needs to truly launch its institutional governance initiative.
SECOND, the Army Transformation Roadmap can be self-serving. The results of which can be easily questioned by a scrutinizing public that speaks little of government organizations.
With a governance scorecard and a measuring tool deeply ingrained in the system, this will enable the Philippine Army to track its progress after executing the Army Transformation Roadmap. The results of these will be objectively reported as the system embeds three essential components:
- The scores itself are verifiable. The scores as well as the definitions of the scores are well established and are in place.
- The scores and the measures are available and are open for the public to verify.
- The system is installed with external stakeholders through whom the Philippine Army holds accountable.
THIRD, the task of transforming an organization is not easy. Not only will the Army Transformation Roadmap demand so much time in terms of its execution, the project cannot be solely championed by one office or unit. Transforming the Philippine Army entails transforming the biggest service unit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. As such, it is just but logical to see that the transformation must come across all units in the organization. The Performance Governance System, thus, will provide a mechanism for all units forming the Philippine Army – the top leadership, the senior officers, the field grade officers, the junior officers, the enlisted personnel, the civilian employees, and the reservists – to work together in carrying out the Army Transformation Roadmap.
To conclude, the Philippine Army envisions to become a world-class Army that is a source of national pride by 2028. This strategic direction charts the destiny that the Philippine Army will pursue in the next three horizons or eighteen years. The Performance Governance System of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia contains all the essential ingredients that will enable the success towards the attainment of the envisioned future in the Army Transformation
[i] The Balanced Scorecard Collaborative (BSCol) Research published in March 2006 was partaken in by big firms including the Fortune 500 Companies.
[ii] The study involved the PA stakeholders. This was participated in by senior officers, field grade officers, junior officers, enlisted personnel, and civilian employees of the organization.
[iii] Lifted directly from the Strategy-Focused Organization Handouts of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia.
[iv] Lifted directly from the Strategy Focused Organization (SFO) Survey Results of the Philippine Army.
[v] Drs. Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton are the creators of the Balanced Scorecard Framework based on a series of research conducted to various organizations worldwide. The Balanced Scorecard started mainly as a performance measurement tool. After its initial introduction, the Balanced Scorecard evolved to become a communication tool, a strategic enabler, and a management framework. The main idea is that strategies must be translated into actions and measures that concisely communicate the vision to the organization. The Balanced Scorecard is useful in planning and implementing reforms as well as in transitioning from a clientelistic institution characterized by patronage to an institution with an innovative and professional culture. It has the potential to increase accountability, efficiency, responsibility, and transparency by developing a strategic plan and by opening lines of communication both within agencies and to the public. And it provides an integrated approach to reforms involving all major constituents – bureaucrats, politicians, and citizens.
[vi] The Concept Paper on the Development of the Philippine Army Transformation Roadmap (2011-2016) reported that the guidance and the pronouncements of the Commanding General of the Philippine Army during his visits to line units was to think and to plan for the Philippine Army in a post 2010 scenario.
[vii] The three principles of governance are presented in the Institute for Solidarity in Asia’s Governance Framework.
[viii] Lifted directly from the PGS Governance Pathway Brochure of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia.
[ix] Lifted directly from the PGS Governance Pathway Brochure of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia.
[x] Lifted directly from the PGS Governance Pathway Brochure of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia.
[xi] Lifted directly from the PGS Governance Pathway Brochure of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia.
[xii] Lifted directly from the PGS Governance Pathway Brochure of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia.
[xiii] Lifted directly from the PGS Governance Pathway Brochure of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia.
[xiv] Lifted directly from the Concept Paper on the Development of the Philippine Army Transformation Roadmap (2011-2016).
[xv] These are based on the Institute for Solidarity in Asia’s Corporate Brochure
[xvi] These are based on the Institute for Solidarity in Asia’s Corporate Brochure
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Kaplan, R.S. & Norton, D.P (2004). Strategy Maps: Converting Intangible Assets into Tangible Outcomes. Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Harvard Business School Press.
Kaplan, R.S. & Norton, D.P (2001). Strategy Focused Organization: How Balanced Scorecard Companies Thrive in the New Business Environment. Boston, Massachusetts, USA: Harvard Business School Press.
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