MoDOT launches Sharpening Our Strategic Vision program
The Missouri Department of Transportation has launched a new statewide transformation initiative titled Sharpening Our Strategic Vision under the leadership of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission and Director Patrick McKenna.
The case for change
In 2017, the state’s first comprehensive survey of the 16 executive departments of state government was completed, drawing participation from over 35,000 state employees. Over 84 percent of MoDOT’s 5,599 full-time and part-time employees responded, and the results were included in the Governor’s statewide Organizational Health Index.
Currently, 3,114 of MoDOT’s employees are maintenance operations staff who typically work outside of an office in a field environment. In general, MoDOT frontline employees, both in the field and in District offices, used the survey to seek clear direction on where the organization is headed and the role of employees in delivering that vision. Channels of communication, to both internal and external audiences, will be strengthened to better convey MoDOT’s strategic direction and recognition of employee contributions toward those goals. At the same time, MoDOT has taken an introspective look at some of our management processes and incentive structures used to deliver transportation infrastructure efficiently and safely. Using a series of employee focus groups and management consultation, MoDOT has committed to deliver 11 strategic initiatives in the coming 24 months, and these strategies appear on the MoDOT placemat.
Where we are going
MoDOT’s core values remain safety, service, and stability. The Department will promote and provide for the safe operation of a 21st century transportation system in Missouri while also keeping MoDOT employees safe in the field. In doing so, we will pursue approaches to program delivery and project management that deliver the best possible value to Missouri taxpayers and use existing resources wisely. Finally, MoDOT’s commitment to stability indicates not only a pledge to preserve the current highway system in the best condition possible, but also to maintain an engaged and motivated workforce. To these ends, MoDOT has identified 11 initiatives targeting strategic transformation in these areas, which are:
- Improve safety culture: MoDOT has established wide-reaching safety programs, including Buckle Up Phone Down and Behavior Based Safety, which will be continued. Other initiatives, such as the development of statewide standard operating procedures for safety will begin in early 2018.
- Use innovation to improve work zone and system-wide safety: MoDOT has begun to quantify a return on investment for every category of safety intervention which may be implemented on the state highway system, and will continue to pilot innovative approaches to derive the best value per dollar spent, including design-build where appropriate.
- Improve partnerships with other agencies and leverage the private sector: MoDOT will engage with other executive departments to deploy predictive analytics solutions. Within the Department, MoDOT will use predictive analytics and related machine-learning platforms to optimize MoDOT’s use of costly and limited winter operations staff resources and materials.
- Improve communications: Focused both internally and externally, MoDOT will refine communications channels to provide a clear direction for the future of the organization and the employee role in delivering that vision. Structures of employee recognition will be related to these central goals.
- Improve project management and system management tools: The advancement of technologically innovative project management tools will enable more efficient program delivery, while other system management tools, such as the maintenance management information system, will quantify expenditure outlays both geographically and programmatically so that MoDOT may optimize use of resources statewide.
- Develop innovative program delivery: Nationally, design-build and design-build finance have delivered value to states. MoDOT will continue to perform analyses of which program delivery options provide the best value to Missouri taxpayers and increase resources to those options which serve Missouri the most efficiently.
- Implement a fleet and facilities optimization (“right-sizing”) strategy: Procuring the optimum number of vehicles, and replacing them at appropriate intervals from a “total cost of ownership” perspective—rather than repairing them beyond their useful asset lives—will deliver value to state taxpayers. Analysis of office and field operations facilities will yield additional savings.
- Increase employee engagement and recognition: One consistent finding within MoDOT and across state government was that the existing performance review process did not recognize or reward good performance or lead to appropriate coaching or action for improvement. Immediately following Governor Greitens’ announcement that the State of Missouri would be discontinuing use of the PERforM system, MoDOT leaders began to discuss how this vision can be realized within MoDOT to improve the Department’s approach to consistent feedback and career development. Additional opportunities for training and advancement for career mobility among all components of the MoDOT organization are being identified and resourced. Compensation strategies will be studied and proposed.
- Research alternative funding solutions: MoDOT is now working with other executive departments in Missouri to research policy options regarding alternative revenue sources for transportation infrastructure.
- Leverage innovations to reduce costs and improve service quality: Field staff at MoDOT have long been advocates for innovation and improvement, proving that stewardship of taxpayer resources is a Department-wide responsibility affecting each employee. MoDOT commits to continue these programs and to promote and use the resource-saving innovations selected through these programs.
- Implement a cost share program with local governments statewide: By enabling proactive local governments to raise revenue in areas that directly benefit from targeted investment in transportation infrastructure, benefits are more directly aligned with those resident bearing the direct costs of these facilities. As a side benefit, these local dollars increase the total amount of funding invested in transportation infrastructure in a manner that is highly transparent and accountable to both project sponsors and local communities.
How to engage
Every MoDOT employee will have an opportunity to engage with this transformational initiative and create value for Missouri taxpayers by improving the way that MoDOT serves the public. Missouri residents and employees that wish to make suggestions targeting improved service delivery at MoDOT can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, MoDOT leaders are now taking steps to launch a program of consultation and engagement reaching all field staff in each of the Department’s seven Districts.
A PDF copy of the MoDOT placemat listing all 11 strategic transformation initiatives is available at this link.