ANALYZING THE IDEAL PROGRAM FOR SUCCESS

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FORT BELVOIR, VA (May 12, 2022)—A recent analysis found an over 90 percent satisfaction rate among participants for elements of the Inspiring and Developing Excellence in Acquisition Leaders (IDEAL) program. The IDEAL program, which is offered through the Army Director for Acquisition Career Management (DACM) Office, is a leader development program for GS-12 and GS-13 (or broadband equivalent) Army Acquisition Workforce (AAW) new and emerging supervisors. The program includes classroom instruction, engagement with senior leaders, site visits and individual and group projects. In between sessions, participants return to their workplaces where they use their new skills.

Maj. Camille Morgan, DACM Office, led the analysis with the support of the IDEAL network including the program manager, instructors, participants and participant supervisors. The goal of this in-depth program analysis is to ensure competency effectiveness and that the continued development of AAW professionals is achieved. This analysis is also in support of the AAW Human Capital Strategic Plan (HCSP).

The HCSP leverages the four strategic outcomes identified in the Army People Strategy, tailored to the mission needs of the AAW. The HCSP goals are specific, actionable areas of work that organize, coordinate, integrate and enable efforts across the AAW and the DACM Office. One of the DACM Office’s priorities is to gather feedback and observations on how effective the IDEAL program is to the AAW. With the feedback received during this analysis, the IDEAL program can be adjusted and maintained to meet the current and future demands for program participants.

THE RESULTS ARE IN

For the survey, former participants answered questions using the following Likert scale:  extremely satisfied, very satisfied, satisfied, somewhat satisfied, not very satisfied and not at all satisfied. From the 22 past participants’ responses, field trips had the highest satisfaction rate with a 100 percent rating dispersed from very satisfied to extremely satisfied. Classroom instruction and facilitation, guest speakers, crucial conversations and influencer program attributes scored a 95.4 percent satisfaction rate dispersed from satisfied to extremely satisfied. Finally, in-class practical exercises scored a 90.9 percent satisfaction rate dispersed from satisfied to extremely satisfied.

ANALYSIS IS KEY

Morgan solicited feedback from past IDEAL participants, their supervisors, course instructors and the IDEAL program manager by using surveys and one-on-one interviews. Supervisors expressed that their employees demonstrated applied IDEAL knowledge on the job. These observations occurred 6 to 9 months’ post course completion, and measured:

  • The level of positive impact in employee’s career.
  • Ability to apply IDEAL knowledge and skills to job duties.
  • Ability to apply various leadership competencies to impact organization and professional growth and development.
  • The ability to lead others and extend influence.

Morgan also reached out to the Air Force and Department of Defense to identify comparisons to the IDEAL program as well as best practices and lessons learned.

Morgan summarizes her findings as: “A takeaway from this analysis was establishing a process for pre- and post-course surveys to measure the core competencies taught in IDEAL. I partnered with the program manager to include competency based questions in future pre-course surveys to attendees. Also from my findings in this analysis, IDEAL should continue to focus on self-development, interpersonal relationships and strategic management. I would recommend the IDEAL [program manager] and instructors continue to review the curriculum at the end of each cohort based on survey feedback to ensure the content continues to impact careers.”

Kristine Faria, IDEAL program manager, adds that “IDEAL has a long history of surveying its participants for the continued growth of the program. Through this practice, the AAW Center of Excellence ensures IDEAL remains relevant to participant’s needs.”

Next IDEAL Application Window

Interested in applying to IDEAL? The next application window will be in June 2022. For more information on the IDEAL program and application, go to https://asc.army.mil/web/career-development/programs/inspiring-and-developing-excellence-in-acquisition-leaders-ideal/.

   

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