Strategic Leaders: How’s Your DOT-ML-PF-P?

In response to concerns a chief executive officer expressed about the inability of his senior level leadership to think strategically, I wrote an article speaking to the matter—”Strategic Leaders: Inadequately Prepared.” In the article, I gave an over view of three areas senior level leadership are rarely made familiar with, Strategic Thought, Organizational Power, and Strategic Logistics. There is one additional area I would be remiss if I did not address—DOTMLPF-P (sounds like—DOT-MiL-P-F-P).

I can only imagine the thoughts one would have to read that acronym—What in the world is that!

DOTMLPF-P is an acronym for a model that supports senior leaders ability to see their organizations from a strategic standpoint—Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership, Personnel, Facilities, and Policy. This model supports effectively operationalizing the strategy. It is a senior leaders tool for taking a strategic look at their organization.

Is your organization prepared to put into operation the strategy that so carefully and painstakingly developed? As an example, new laws impacting the health care community have caused a number of health care organizations to rethink their strategies. Not surprisingly, the demand for IT solutions is obvious. The IT department goes to work and produces an amazing solution that is now farmed out into the organization. It may seem obvious that the IT department paid attention to detail. That is the requirements of the strategy as dictated by the new laws. The end users are also focused on the new requirements and mission accomplishment and make their necessary adjustments. One can see the obvious disconnects.

In this example, the IT department and the end user went to work each adjusting according to the new requirements with little to no cross coordination. The problem is compounded when it comes to light the end user has no documented procedures. The problem worsens when the IT department, familiar with its creation, paid little attention to developing a detailed training guide for the end user. This situation may sound unlikely or complete fantasy. As they often said—you can’t make this stuff up! I suggest you check your organization. You may not like what you find.

Senior leaders must have a model for looking strategically at the organization. That tool is DOTMLPF-P. It recognizes that it is rare that a materiel solution that is “stuff” equipment, property, utilities and the like are the sole answer to strategy needs. It also recognizes that it is equally rare that a non-materiel solution, which is doctrine, people, leadership and the like, are the sole answer. For those of you with strategic responsibilities, I strongly suggest DOTMLPF-P or find your model but use something.

How does the organization function. Is it documented? Is the strategy clear and shared? Is it market share or particular clients? Is it service or products?

Is the organization structured properly to execute the strategy?

How prepared is the workforce to accomplish the tasks. Is the training up-to-date? Will the training carry the organization into the future?

Does the organization have the equipment it needs? Does the organization have the spare parts, and or repair contracts in place?

Is the organization’s leadership from first line supervisor to the chief executive in place? Are they receiving regular professional development? Are they prepared to lead the organization into the future?

Is there sufficient manpower to accomplish the tasks at each level in every department?

Does the real property fit the need, in quality and quantity, of the organization?

Are the policies of the organization clear and up-to-date? Are the policies and procedures of the various departments in synch with the headquarters and not in conflict with adjacent or supporting departments?

I have found the policy to be an area where many organizations have difficulties. Often various departments within an organization will have policies and procedures that are at odds with supporting departments or worse have no written procedures. These departments function in a make-it-up as they go along mode. This situation will, in time, create unthinkable problems for the entire organization.

DOTMLPF-P is a superb intellectual tool for the senior leader with strategic responsibilities. I strongly recommend that you, the senior leader, employ some methodology in order to analyze your organization with a strategic perspective. Moreover, I recommend you perform this analysis every time you review the strategy. I suspect that is at least every 18 months.

Be the true professional senior leader capable of thinking strategically and comfortable with using the tools meant for strategic leaders. When you hear “How is your DOTMLPF-P? You will have a confident response.

DOTMLPF-P was developed by the Department of Defense. The Department of Defense’s senior executives uses this process extensively. I suggest you do the same.

© 2015 by John Boggs all rights reserved.