Strategic alignment event shapes future of 413th FTG

  • Published
  • By Jamal Sutter
  • 413th Flight Test Group Public Affairs
413th Flight Test Group (FTG) leaders and key personnel gathered to discuss the unit’s future during a strategic alignment event Dec. 3-6.

The event's goal was to map out the 413th FTG's direction over the next few years, while revising the group's mission, vision and priorities. Through a series of activities, senior leaders reviewed the unit's current mission and forecasted what it would look like moving forward, in conjunction with the missions and priorities of 22nd Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command and beyond.

"We need to be in alignment with the National Defense Strategy," said Col. Christopher Zidek, 413th FTG commander. "It talks about lethality, readiness, agility and what those things mean … There are several missions sets here that are deployable, so that really matters, in terms of our readiness."

Along with group staff, squadron and deputy commanders from the group's geographically-separated units came from throughout the country to provide inputs and take part in the event. According to Zidek, this inclusion was critical to having everyone on the same page.

"So what's great about this is—instead of Col. Zidek just sitting down and rewriting the mission and vision statement or him establishing what his priorities are, he wanted to get the buy-in and the perspective of the senior leaders and the functional areas to find out what they thought was important," said Yvonne Rutherford, 413th FTG continuous process improvement (CPI) manager.

Rutherford coordinated the strategic alignment event and helped lead CPI activities all week with retired Col. Matthew Arens, Air Force Reserve Command CPI blackbelt. Together, Rutherford and Arens ensured the group understood objectives, stayed on track and met specific milestones throughout the process.

In addition to establishing a new mission, vision and priorities, the group proposed improved processes in unit workflow and communication. After the group outlined their objectives for these improved processes, they identified "champions" or project managers for each task. The champions will be responsible for managing and tracking measurable goals within the next few months.

"This is an ongoing process," Zidek said. "Change in the continuous-process-improvement environment often happens very slowly. But if you measure that over a period of time—not just a week, but six months, a year—you will start to see the change."

Results of the 413th FTG strategic alignment event will be officially presented early next year. The group plans to meet again in a year to review what’s been accomplished, identify what still needs work and make revisions if need be.