Pause and Learn

So you may be wondering, “what is all the fuss about the Pause and Learn (PAL) sessions we are conducting?”

The principle is very simple; on a routine basis, we need to take some time to look back at what we are doing, discuss it with the people that are involved, and then have us (the larger “us” meaning our organization and the people that we work with) figure out what needs improvement so that we can perform our jobs better and to get along better. Make sense?

I consider the IPAO an operational organization. By that I mean, we have set of products we deliver on timelines that are part of the tempo by which the Agency delivers its products. Because the tempo of the Agency, and thus IPAO’s tempo, is so high, it is easy to get immersed in the day-to-day activities necessary to get these products out; and as all of you can attest this hardly leaves time for anything else. We need to be careful that we don’t fall in the self-fulfilling prophecy that we are so busy doing our day-to-day jobs that we don’t have time to improve our processes so we continue falling further and further behind. Breaking that cycle is the driver behind the PAL sessions.

The PAL provides a structured way to look back, assess, discuss, formulate areas of improvement, and set out to implement these improvements…and doing all of this jointly with the people we work with outside the organization and in an environment that is less stressful. So, we are performing PALs. We conducted the first one a few weeks ago with SMD and it went very well. A follow-on PAL is now planned with a few of the SMD divisions in early December; and an ESMD PAL is planned for the first week of December. So we are learning how to do this and we’ll improve as we go along, but I am very encouraged about the great planning our organizations POCs are doing, about the engagement we are getting from the organizations that work with us, and about the preliminary results that we (the larger “we”) are achieving

As always, please let me know your thoughts.

James Ortiz,
Deputy Director IPAO

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