The main theme of the presentation was short and pointed: â€œExecution will be the key – and execution starts today.â€
That is how consultant Scott Kaeppel described the road to success in the modernization initiative being undertaken by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Kaeppelâ€™s firm has been hired to help the agency, as it seeks to remake itself into a performance-driven organization.
Kaeppel and TxDOT Assistant Executive Director John Barton briefed members of the Texas Transportation Commission Thursday on the TxDOT Modernization Plan. With a lot of input at all levels, Barton said those involved in the initiative came up with this modernization statement:
A disciplined approach to implementing change that will deliver an improved leadership model, opportunities for innovation and increased collaboration with employees and stakeholders.
As a result, said Barton, TxDOT will become an agency recognized for being performance-driven, a good place both to work and to work with and one that is committed to quality customer service. That is the theme, he said, that will be carried out in all projects and initiatives related to the modernization over the next 12-18 months.
Barton said the last three weeks have been spent in developing the plan for modernization and that plan was submitted Thursday to the Texas Legislature as a â€œroadmapâ€ for activities to guide the initiatives and projects. Those involved in the agency overhaul started with some 78 recommendations, which they have pared down into 37 specific projects. Barton said the same methodology and approach for the modernization initiative will be followed for all those projects.
â€œModernization will be a very important chapter in the history of this agency,â€ said the TxDOT official. He described the keys to the success of the initiative as being listening to and including customers, making the modernization a TxDOT-led effort, employing the use of a consultant with expertise and experience in working with others and coaching on best practices through a disciplined and time-proven approach to success. The effort also must continue into the future â€œas a long-term change.â€
When completed, the modernization will lead TxDOT to â€œbe the leaders of transportation that youâ€™ve asked us to beâ€ and what the people of Texas deserve, said Barton.
Kaeppel told the commissioners that his work with TxDOT over the last three weeks has revealed that â€œthe core of this agency is very solidâ€ and that as a result of working with those in the agency, it is â€œeasy to recognize the quality of the transportation system we have in Texas.â€ Although solid at the core, he said, there is still an opportunity for looking at modernization.
In addressing the 78 recommendations regarding modernization of the agency, Kaeppel said the questions asked about each were, â€œWhat is the change? For whom? And Why?â€ He said the work on the initiative must be prioritized and a process put in place for governance. â€œEveryone has to know their role,â€ he said, noting teams would be empowered to come up with solutions for the project, with the result being â€œestablishing change.â€ The key then becomes execution.
â€œChanges are already occurring,â€ said Barton and the plan being put in place will provide a blueprint for the operating model of the agency.