How do you demonstrate a measurable Return on Investment (ROI) for human performance programs in the military? Hear from two experts with first-hand experience building and running military performance programs. Learn why considering your ROI from the start is critical for success and see real-world data visualizations that help communicate your impact.
WEBINAR PARTICIPANTS INCLUDE:
- Joshua Smith – Retired Chief Master Sergeant | Email: Smit229@icloud.com
- Dan Duffield – Global Solutions Consultant | Fusion Sport | Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/dan-duffield Email: Dan.Duffield@fusionsport.com
- Jen Casson – Content Marketer | Fusion Sport | Email: Jen.Casson@fusionsport.com
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Jen Casson 0:00
Welcome to Fusion sports webinar on the ROI of human performance programs in the military. My name is Jen Casson. I’m a fusion sport. And I’ll be guiding today’s conversation. Joining me today is retired Chief Master Sergeant Josh Smith. And Dan Duffield, Global Solutions Consultant with Fusion sport. So thank you guys so much for joining us today. Before we dive into the questions, I’d love to just start with some introductions. So, Chief Smith, if you would mind starting us off, tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
Chief Josh Smith 0:33
Yeah, absolutely. And first off, thank you for having me, it’s an honor and, and, you know, I’m excited to hopefully bring some information to your listeners that will help them in their, in their endeavors to further HB programs. Again, as you mentioned, I’m retired Chief Master and Josh Smith, I retired after 28 years in the Air Force. The first 20 years I was had the luxury and the serve on the teams and, and be downrange pretty much anywhere in the world, been able to set foot in it at one place or another. But after 20 years, I was pretty busted up from all the different things, the training the missions, just the lifestyle in general, because at that point, I was on a rescue unit, which was not did not have productive assets to it. So again, everything for us at that time was all on your own, before photos became across the board, a program for all special operations. So in 2017, are planning to I was 13. I ended up not wanting to retire at that point, which is my 20 year mark, I still wanted to give back. And so I went out to the school outside of Kirtland to be a superintendent out there. And that’s where I was also going to use that time to hopefully heal myself to be able to possibly get back out and go back out to the teams. During that time. What I ended up realizing was we had been doing ourselves and our our team, our younger guys the injustice by putting them through all these different things that I was going through, and they were still going through because we at that point, we’re not learning from our mistakes. And I really got more into the human performance side. After about three years of working with some people out of my own pocket there in Albuquerque, I was back to be able to do PTS tests in the My 20 anymore. I was doing my 20s. So you know, I really became more passionate on HV, and what can we provide to our younger generation coming through to where when they retire after 20 plus years, they don’t feel like we do. Currently, in 2017, I was asked to come out and develop a program. Here in San Antonio, which was Special Warfare is preparatory program, we were having a huge issue with attrition. Some of our programs, it was less than 8%. Were making it. And so what we wanted to do is design a program Colonel Sanger asked me to work with the team design a program as my my son or my daughter decided to come to me and asked to be a PJ. So we created this nine week program, a lot of it was based off of the Great Lakes program, that the seals preparatory program, which they’ve been running at that point for about 10 years. So we had a lot of great lessons learned. You brought those down. And one of the things that I noticed was there wasn’t a lot of technology, and true database systems that were in place up at the Great Lakes location. And I figured with that to be an Air Force, we preach technology. Let’s see what what’s out there. And what can we do to implement as much technology into our program was possible, and see if that would give us a better outcome. So working with include fusion sport, I had the ability to one find a company here locally, GPS garden garden premier solutions that was able to be contracted to my program. And they focus purely on finding the best technology and the best databases to build on just all this data allow us to actually utilize true data in real time format to make changes to our programs. So I did that for about three years. Got it stood up, we got the technology in the database after the whole entire pipeline within our HPC program. And that could be as early as 12 months where some of our career fields to where our PJ’s have a three year pipeline. So now that we have a complete, holistic look at them from the day that they showed up to BMT to the day they graduated and got their break prior to going into teams.
And 2019 I was asked to come in and stand up the obese first human performance group and two supporting squadrons. So I had the I had the the ability to go in there and provide them some feedback from prior prior standup of units in the past. And then I was asked if I would be the senior enlisted manager for the human performance squadron. You which was the first of its kind within DOD. I did that for about two years. And then in June of 21, I find decided that my time was done in the Air Force and that I was going to retire. And I did and, and from there kind of moved into the industrial side. And working with companies such as fusion sport, and other organizations within DOD, both the United States and overseas to help them you know, really look at how can we see what their problem set is? And then how can we optimize that problem set using technology and databases to get after that?
Jen Casson 5:38
Great, thank you like, but yeah, I’m really excited to hear all of your perspective today with with that very rich background. Dan, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Dan Duffield 5:47
Yeah, so I’ve, I’ve been at Fusion sport, close to 10 years now, and worked mainly as a human performance consultant, across my time, had a few different titles in that space. But my experience started out in sport, I began in Australia and worked with Australian football, rugby league, rugby union and the Australian Institute of Spor and kind of just began to understand what what the challenges were from a human performance perspective, in that space. A lot of data collection, technology, even in sport was in its infancy at that time, and smartabase, and athlete management systems were kind of really just getting stood up in a lot of these organizations. I then moved to the UK and spent 18 months over there, again, working in a number of different sports, from from English, football, to cricket, and then also some of the performing arts spaces.
And then after another short stint in Australia, I, where I actually spent a little bit of time working with Australian military on a few projects and started to dip my toe in the military space.
I came over to the US here and began working a lot in the military and trying to help solve some of these problems, as the chief has already alluded to. One of the one of the things that I’ve been able to bring into that space is all those years of sports experience and the things that again, we learnt lessons learned from what worked, what didn’t worked, we’ve been able to take some of that and bring that into the military world, as well as I’ve had to learn a lot about the different logistic challenges that the military faces. And the biggest one being the sheer ratios of service members to support staff is very different to athletes to support staff in the world of sport. So, yeah, again, I mainly work with the smartabase platform, and then have spent a lot of time working with Chief Smith. We’ve been probably thinking a little bit more high level now strategically about what does military as a whole need from a human performance standpoint. And I’ve certainly learned a lot from him. And the different groups we’ve worked with. So yeah, really happy to chat a bit more on this topic today, as I think it is a big, big piece moving forward.
Jen Casson 8:17
Yeah, great. Yeah, I know even just Dan, in our conversations, you’ve you’ve mentioned your your conversations with Chief Smith. And I’m excited to just kind of share some of that to the extent that we can with with a wider audience. So to start, I mean he with in terms of human performance programs in the military, such as h two F, a holistic health and fitness, for example. How do we define how would you define return on investment? And why is that even important? Chief Smith, let’s let’s start with you.
Chief Josh Smith 8:48
Um, well, one of the first things when it comes to ROI is we need to look at this undefined. What is the actual problems that we’re trying to get? When we look at h2, if we look at poda, if we look at a lot of these different organizations that are trying to put these things, they’re very, very broad terms. And when you look at this, it becomes a big challenge because now you’re trying to create an ROI off of something that’s so strategically big that down at the ground level, it’s very difficult to do. So. One of the things that from lesson learned from from the past five years of doing this is go back and break down into increments. You know, you have the ultimate goal. Let’s just say it’s 10 years from now, but you have to realize that to get that 10 year goal, you most people are going to go through five commands, five commanders, because every two years they change out. And that’s a challenge and today’s military because every commander is is told to innovate. Well, if he continues on a program that was started by his predecessor, well then how is he truly innovative? So again, this is where those challenges come into. You know, we want that ultimate goal of we want You know, 90% deployment capability of all of our army assets at any given point in time? Well, that’s great. But now let’s go back to that ROI and figure out are the let’s figure out what are those small problems that will ultimately get you the 90%, and tire or ice of that. And those then become almost your yearly ROIs to lead up to the bigger one, because looking at things in the past, and you see organizations that are putting, you know, large amount of money towards something, well, they’re not seeing that ROI defined Julie at that, within their command, or even within those couple years, to then be able to justify why do we need to continue this program for another five, six years to see the true ultimate ROI? So when I, when I look at this, again, I go back to is, you know, what is your ultimate goal? And when do you want to get there? But then what does that timeline look like to get to that goal, and tie your ROI. So each of those timelines statements to that way, you truly have that data, to take back to leadership to Congress and say, hey, look, it, we are hitting the marks, and we’re on track to meet our ultimate goal in 2032, to have a 90% deployment rate of all of our assets. And to me, that’s really the key there to, to creating a successful ROI program is actually breaking it down and stop focusing so much on the big on the big picture.
Dan Duffield 11:39
Yeah, and just a follow on with that, I think, I think Congress and command they, they understand, I think what at a base level human performance can do. And it’s why these initiatives are getting stood up. And they set these these these targets that you’ve mentioned, these, these big picture targets, I think the job of human performance programs, and like the one that you set up out at the special warfare training wing, one of the biggest challenges is, you know, taking those big goals and breaking them down into the detailed tactical pieces that that you need to do in order to achieve that, and then be able to, again, represent back to leadership that we have implemented these things, aligning with your targets, and here is how we’re tracking towards those targets. And here’s how we can potentially move quicker if we get more resourcing. And so ultimately, what we’re trying to do with return on investment is say, where we’re trying to achieve your targets here is how we’ve tactically planned how to achieve that. And here’s what we need in order to either hit it on time or Accelerated if that’s the desired outcome. So I definitely think the way you’ve put it there is really is really good. And I think sometimes we get a little bit lost in its, you know, we think too high level about it. But there is a lot of, you know, on the ground tactical work that needs to be done, as the building blocks to build towards those targets. And I think that’s where return on investment data is really important, because it doesn’t just show how we work towards the ultimate goal, but it shows why we need the resources at a tactical level to work toward those goals,
Chief Josh Smith 13:28
which I think you know, I think then you bring up some good points. We’ve had quite a few discussions over the past year with different organizations, and really does seem like a lot of these organizations, the way that they’re structuring themselves, is their structure themselves to get the staff of facilities and equipment first, then we’ll look at a data management system. And as I have done this and watch this play out years ago, and I’ve tried to explain, that is actually probably one of the worst ways to go about it. Because you put it some at least put a basic structure of a database system on the front side. You can capture people through wellness forms in the morning, who is working out? How long are they working out by self recording, then when you start adding the coaches into it, now you can add the coaches information, and then you start adding equipment and facilities. So by doing that you literally at the very ground level before you brought staff in before you brought equipment and if we built all these facilities, you know what an individual looked like, compared to now what they’re doing, you know, a lot of organizations are looking at, well, we’ll do this in three to five years. Well, at that point, you lost all that return on investment capture going, Hey, prior to having coaches prior to having these facilities, this is what an average individual will look like. Now they’re starting from that level. So again, I go back to when we when we talk about it using a system such as smartabase You know, to catch Throughout the earliest level, at least the minimum amount of stuff to then utilize and build upon because over three years, you might find out looking at the data, maybe that facility isn’t actually designed the way we thought it was, because we actually now have data to support it, versus we build the facility. And now all sudden, we get all this data, you know, your couple years later, now I gotta go back in and refurbish them. And I know it’s a challenge is much easier to sell equipment, you know, leadership looks at as one time fees, you know, if possible in five to seven years refurbishment. But all this stuff is great. And until the time that you get called upon to Congress to go justify, where did $100 million worth of equipment money go? How many times there were those facilities being used. And right now, everybody is building out these little Excel spreadsheets and to only internal to their location. And so when you look at big commands, and they have five or six or seven of these facilities, and 20,000 soldiers, or Airmen, then it goes into, it’s very hard to collect that data, where if you started with something like smartabase, at the beginning, it’s literally a click on an icon and you instantly have all right, how many people utilize the facility today in which units did it? And how long were they, you know, in there, and that’s where that ROI really comes into play, more than anything, is being able to go back and justify that 100k or 100 million that was put into facilities?
Dan Duffield 16:27
Yeah, yeah, you’re right. I think I think, for the teams that are in these human performance programs, they anyone involved in it understand that if you get more resources and more technology and more facilities, you’re going to have an impact. But ultimately, the leadership needs to see the actual impact that you can’t just say to them, Hey, if you give us more money, we’re gonna have more impact, you have to be able to show them from day one, to your point, you know, I think data needs to be collected from day one, okay, here’s the resources you gave us for, if it’s a pilot, or for, you know, a five year program, here’s what we did in year one, with the with the resources that we had. And then if you can show, you know, Congress and leadership that that, you know, with what you’ve given us, we’ve had this much impact, and then also be able to almost extrapolate out a little bit and say, hey, if we can get more strength conditioning resources, maybe we can move the needle a little further on physical performance, hey, you know, we seem to be having an impact on things like suicide prevention, because we’ve got these embedded resources like chaplains, or psychologists or social workers. But again, I think in machine performance world, we know the impact that we can have, because that’s what we do. But we forget that people at the level of Congress, the all the different things they have to consider across the military, and they’re expected to be almost experts on the reality is they can’t and so we need to give them data, to arm them to make the right decisions to help us, I look at it as the biggest job of return on investment right now for human performance programs is justifying their value, that is the biggest job that we have to do right now. And then, because if we can justify the value, we get the resources that we know we can that can be impactful. And then ultimately, we will achieve the goals that have been set by Congress and leadership. But if we just keep taking the approach of build it, and they will come and not show the value, then we’re either going to have what we’ve always had, or it’s gonna get taken away, because we’ve got no data to show the value that we’ve added.
Chief Josh Smith 18:43
I think that’s gonna be very important over the next two to five years, as the economy is shifting, that we, you know, if you’re not, if you do not have a state program in place, now, you’re already probably a year or two behind the park or, and you’re gonna have a hard time I think, in about two to three years justifying really what your program has brought, not saying it will be eliminated. But I think you’ll there’s gonna be some pretty strategic cuts coming down over the next couple of years. If organizations can’t truly show here is what we’ve gained, you know, our time. Our our guys that are deployable has increased by 20%. And I know you showed, you have a few dashboards that you’ve built for the Air Force side of the house, that builds are extremely strong. But if someone’s trying to do this on an Excel over 10, or 11 different units geographically separated, you’re not going to be able to capture that data to the true intent, and be able to truly speak to it to the full value that that data provides, if you have a system such as smartabase.
Dan Duffield 19:49
Yeah, you made it. You made another great point there that I think over the next two to five years, these human form performance programs are going to be asked to do more with less and You know, again, it’s going to put even more more pressure on these programs to show ROI because, you know, the funding, everybody’s going to be chasing funding for what they’re trying to do. And for anything that’s not showing value, that money could be pulled, pulled out from underneath them pretty quickly. So I think, yeah, this, this database, and being able to visualize it, and show the value is going to be more and more important for each of these human performance programs as we move forward.
Jen Casson 20:31
Yeah, so you guys saying kind of, you know, at the beginning, and I’m assuming kind of at the start of the program, you want to take those high high level goal goals, and really break them down into something smaller that you can build over time that you can tie ROI to, in addition to that kind of strategic work, also having the systems in place, even a rudimentary system to actually start capturing that data, so that you can communicate that back and show that and track that?
Chief Josh Smith 20:55
Jen Casson 20:58
Which actually kind of leads leads perfectly into the next question, because I do want to get into more kind of specific examples of how data is being used to communicate ROI. So Dan, I’m going to turn this over to you. And I think you have kind of a dashboard to share with us. And you can just kind of walk us through and again, taking that idea of taking a big goal, breaking it down into smaller ones, and then actually being able to capture and show the data around that. So
Dan Duffield 21:22
yeah, definitely. So I think this is a this is a really interesting space. And we’ve we as a company here, at fusion, I’ve really learnt a lot from the groups that we’ve worked with. And I think we’ve, we’ve learned to appreciate the value of visualizing the impacts against things like how much money is being spent. So that we can actually show we can, we can help the human performance teams show their value. And so I try to say this to our consultants a lot like a lot of what we’re doing right now in the military, is we’re helping human performance programs justify their existence. And as a result, it’ll keep technologies like smartabase in these places. So what I’ve got on screen and Chief, I think you’ve seen visuals similar to this. And I will clarify, this is just an example that we’ve built for the purpose of today, it’s not showing any real data as we can’t do that with with the military customers we work with, but just to show you some examples of the way that we can visualize this data. We want to take even things as simple as encounters that human performance staff are having with service members, and compare those that are actually utilizing him performance resources, are they getting better outcomes? That is? Are they getting back quicker from injuries? Or are they are we seeing less injuries, which means are we seeing more time in terms of mission ready versus not mission ready. And so even just looking at the first graph over here, and this is to achieve your point earlier, the earlier you start collecting this data, as time goes on, you know, 234 years in your program, these are the types of visuals where we can that we can produce for for people at at the leadership level to say, hey, you know, early on, we had a HPO cost to our team to run our program that was $150,000 a year. That’s all we had. And maybe that’s two or three staff and a little bit of technology. And so being able to compare that to what was the rate of mission ready versus not mission ready through across the the year at that point. And then as time went on, as we got more and more funding available, you know, did we move the needle on some of these things? So did we see an increase in mission ready rates versus not mission ready. And so over time, again, this is this isn’t necessarily real data. But this is reflective of what we’re seeing with the groups that we’re working with is as as the HPO. The cost of the HPO teams increases, because they’re getting more resources, comparing that with the outcomes that are important to leadership of, you know, mission readiness, we can actually justify the value of these programs. So I guess, Chief like I know, you and I have looked at a few of these dashboards, any comments from your side on on that or anything that you’ve seen at the training wing that you found valuable?
Chief Josh Smith 24:38
Yeah, a few things. One, even though you made the statement, this isn’t military data. I want to make sure that it’s very clear that you could almost put military data over this and you’re gonna see the exact same results. So the results that you’re seeing is based off of True, true data coming off the military already without specific given units and organizations. And that’s what was really amazing when you when we saw this when I saw this the first time with you, and then I saw Dr. String, his data from the psychology side, been able to capture that and actually the psychologists and how many encounters that were actually increasing when they had a psychologist right there on the actual team itself, to work with them on a daily basis. So, you know, when we look at these things, I could provide the same thing, when it comes to the amount of time that we have prior to our assets showing up or HV assets showing up, let’s just say it was an average of 47 days and the individual was injured to now the average is, say 14 days that they’re getting back out there. And that’s for two reasons. One, you know, we have a staff to capture injuries quicker, which means they’re not as severe. So the candidates aren’t holding, you know, holding their cards against their chest, until it’s so bad, they just, they no longer can take the pain. And then two is because we have the staff and the technology, to re implement them back into our into full time training, training capability, what we’re seeing is less of a reinjury rate going, going back in there as well. So again, having that ability, there’s been some things in there that we’ve seen that we just never even thought of that have one provided us good ROI Return stories and, and and scenarios. But to is giving us the ability to actually go okay, we have a high injury rate with let’s just say shoulders on day five of training for this event. And looking at that, why don’t you know that we still want to maintain the event, but we’re going to move into day three, and sit. And because at that point, they’re a little more refreshed. They haven’t been exhausted from the fire event. And then we saw was injury rates on shoulders went down. So having that ability to actually take your your courses and you lay them out, you can do things such as injury rates, and what day of training are those injury rates? Then you can start dissecting? going okay, what do we do now? We know day eight, is our highest injury rate one of those injuries? And is there things that we can do to prevent them? Risk management, not say take them away. But again, where’s that risk management piece to it. And that goes into, especially down here in South Texas, we’re dealing with the hottest June that we’ve ever had. You know, we have the ability through smartabase Before events even start that we know the hydration of our of our candidates. And then we in within those algorithms, it’s kicking out who is the high risk candidate that we need to watch out for. And then we implement Zephyr in there to watch live while the events are going on the CTS and our medics are getting notified when these DCTS are moving in certain directions. Not saying we’re canceling train, we’re not saying that we’re, we’re stopping training. But what we’re doing is we’re mitigating the likelihood of injury as best as we can to prevent something catastrophic from happening, and still continue to train us down here once a certain temperature hits, all training stops and ATC minus Special Warfare because we have waivers for that. But we’re do using technology and the and the ability to take data utilizing databases such as smartabase to make risk mitigation decisions.
Dan Duffield 28:43
Yeah, yeah. And he just, I mean, that particular example was a really, really cool one. And it’s been great to share that with military organizations around, you know, you identified a pretty significant problem. And one of the key factors in solving that problem was was actually the data around it showing you okay, this is how many heat related acute incidents we were having. You obviously understood the climate that you’re in, you’ve got technology that helps you measure before they went out to a to a training session, where they’re at, and then also track them throughout the training session to ensure that anyone who was at risk, you’re monitoring closely, and then anyone who suddenly became an acute incident because it was such an extreme day. You know, the data is really the critical piece of that if you don’t have that information. I think, you know, the old the old look at a service member engage. Some people are really good at that. But that’s not It’s not particularly scientific, and it’s not always accurate. Whereas I think having that data and and using that to solve that particular problem is a really good example of why data collection from day one is valuable. And then you’ve showed return on investment by just reducing those number of acute incidents. And I think for anyone in leadership, that’s going to be a powerful message to provide more value to the HPA programs moving forward.
Chief Josh Smith 30:18
Yeah. One thing, I’ll also kind of hit on this, you know, we’ve really focused, you know, the all the conversation on human performance. But when we look at this, and what smartabase can do, you know, we can take this outside of the human performance spectrum. And I’ll use examples like academics, you know, all of our academics now go on to smartabase within the pipeline, but the thing is that when we see failures, we have the ability to go back and look at the five days leading up to that academic test, what was their sleep, what was their hydration, what was their stress level. And so same thing with a lot of our flying operations or parachute operations, those things are getting put into smartabase. Now, and a good example, I like to use is we had an individual that had had already been washed back once for this for climbing a rope ladder. And he was a second second class, and he was struggling again. And what we ended up, what we were able to do is physically we looked at his scores, there was no reason why he couldn’t climb that rope ladder. Physically, he had it, it was a cognitive issue. And so we ended up putting a Zephyr puck on him. And what we saw was his heart rate, hovered right around 7075 beats until his name was called for that event, and then immediately shot up above 100. By the time he got to the third rung of the of the, of the rope ladder, he said that 140 550 beats a minute. So cognitively, he’s shutting down. But we got because we had something like smartabase, we had the ability to go back and look at what what was all this other data that’s leading to this performance failure, that isn’t truly HP, per se. And that aspect of it, because we’re using in a non traditional way, that those are the things that you can sit there and and leverage something like smartabase, into all other things, weapons, all of our weapons training goes into smartabase is captured. So we can look at AR You know, over time, guys are shooting in a certain sequence or down into the right, okay, we see that over two or three months, how do we correct that. And so that’s where I think, you know, gives us as well as an amazing baseline. So we now finally have a true baseline of what guys looked like when they came into service, versus finally getting a set of blood markers on him after 10 years of being in the service. Okay, well, what was the blood markers look like when they first came in. And so those are things that within smartabase, and looking at the technology in databases, you know, this is not truly just a, a human performance database, if you want to think outside the box and use it in other areas. And that’s the beauty, I think, with smartabase compared to others, is that you can plug and play and create any type of system that you want. But the luxury of that is it all comes back to the same one login location, versus me having to log into five different systems to try to look at a holistic look at an individual. Should those challenges arise? Yeah, yeah, I
Jen Casson 33:17
there’s a few questions I’d love to throw in here. And cheap, you kind of brought up a lot of these kinds of different applications that that can be solved with, with this with smartabase. But my question is, like, Take, for example, mission ready, and this idea of mission ready and not mission ready, I have to imagine that varies, what that actually means. And the factors that go into that, depending on the branch of the military and what actual like unit you’re in and what the role and responsibility of of that given unit is. So I’d love if if, you know, you guys could talk about kind of the different factors or even just like the metrics that wrap up into this larger idea of mission ready and the neat and how we can be flexible with those depending on the needs of a given group.
Chief Josh Smith 34:09
Yeah, well, I mean, I guess I’ll start out, you know, mission ready is really goes back to every unit, and within those jobs within the unit may have their own requirements. You know, I think the beauty of something such as smartabase is that you have that luxury of, you know, looking at a unit as a whole and saying, okay, yeah, how what’s the mission ready of this unit? And let’s just say it’s 85% which sounds pretty good. But then the beauty then then you can actually then look at the different jobs within that unit and go Well wait a second, this job over here. They’re only at a 37%. So again, when we when we look at things of you know, in my world being a PJ and medical background, you know, we always want to triage in any any scene. And so now, instead of going okay, we Need to, you know, focus on all these AFS or all these jobs, what you really need to do is you need to find out and you need to focus your resources on that, that, that job that’s only sitting at a 30 Some percent mission ready rate to get them back up. So when we look at the mission ready piece, I think the way that it can be broken or built out within the smartabase system, it really helps commanders focus on where are the challenges? And where are the where are the true organizations or jobs that need that extra focus to help get them above whatever your minimum mission ready rate is. Now, with that also being said, as you look at the next level of leadership above a squadron is that command as the ability with a simple click of a button, they can look at multiple units at the same time and see what across the board? What’s the mission ready rate for those units as well. They don’t have to call back down. They don’t have to figure that they have it after at their desktop. So when you when you look at the ability to say, Okay, what’s my mission ready rate? Now you also have, okay, if I have, let’s just say a 65%. Rate, okay, what do I have over the next 14 days? What’s What are the group of guys that are in the 14 day window gals that I need to get them healthy? Okay, that. So if something pops up, here, within two weeks, I can go from a 65 to an 82%. But this is what I need. I need a C 130. And I need two helicopters bill to get all this training knocked out to get those individuals up. So it gives you that ability that roadmap to show, you know, how many do I have ready to go? What do I have that’s in what we call consider the yellow or the orange, which again, you know, is within 14 days, we could get them up and out the door? And then what are my red guys that were heartbroken, we can’t we can’t get them out the door. And so that’s where I look at it as that capability through the data to show that and again, focus on those assets that are really needing the most attention at this time to get them above above that healthy line, and then try to keep them there.
Dan Duffield 37:18
Yeah, Jason, I want to build on something you said there about, you know, let’s just say you do have a unit that is their mission. Ready stats are more like in the 30s or 40 percents, as opposed to the 80s and 90s. And what’s really interesting is, you know, there could be so many factors that that impact that so it could be that, you know, there is no HP support there. And that’s they’re getting a lot of injuries, it could be that, because it’s a very specialized role, the demands of the job require someone to be more ready than potentially another unit. And I think that’s something that we really want to continue to work on in smartabase. And it’s a data set that we are collecting in terms of what are the demands of each job, each role? What are we asking people to do, and then we can break those down into, okay, let’s just say somebody has an upper body injury or a law, but an injury that could impact different roles in the military very, very differently. And so being able to break down each each job basically into okay, what are the requirements of this job? And what are the what are the things that we commonly see that cause people to not be mission ready, you know, are we seeing a lot of back injuries? Are we seeing a lot of neck injuries, I mean, one of the things we hear a lot from the Air Force with with fighter pilots is, you know, the load on their neck and the issues that they have. That’s, that’s not going to be the same issue at at a, you know, an infantry group in the army, you know, but sometimes we kind of take a blanket approach to the military. Of these are the types of factors that we should be looking out for, rather than Alright, with each job, we need to break down the demands of each of the jobs and and understand what are the factors that are impacting mission readiness, in the same way that like, you wouldn’t assess a football player and a basketball player the same way because of the demands of their job, even within a football team, different groups, you’ve got different demands on the jobs that they do. And so I think what data helps you do and against systems like smartabase is that if you can define the job requirements of of the role, and then assess what are the biggest factors that impact mission readiness within those jobs, you can plan training better. Again, you can you can implement strategies that, not just get people back quicker from injury, but hopefully prevent those injuries. But without data, what we typically see is people just taking these blanket approaches of, okay, everybody is going to do the same strength programs, everyone’s going to do the same conditioning programs, because that’s just the easiest way to do it. So I think, yeah, to your point, I think, understanding the specifics of each role, what are the biggest impact is on mission readiness? That’s going to have a huge impact on the military moving forward. And obviously, data is at the center of that. Yeah, absolutely.
Jen Casson 40:40
Great. Well, Dan, thank you for sharing the dashboard, we’ll be sure that’s made available. If people like to go back and refer to that, I’d love to talk a bit more about some of the challenges. So you know, we’ve painted this picture of the goals and now the technology and seen some of the the actual metrics to visualize that, what are some of the challenges that you guys have seen in trying to trying to implement this type of kind of rigor to be able to communicate ROI?
Chief Josh Smith 41:12
Yeah, well, one of the one of the first challenges, I think, is that we we dealt with, there’s many, there’s many companies that are out there saying that they have the ability to do this capability. And that is not true, especially within the military, maybe in the civilian sector, they can, but when you start trying to get in the military sector, and you’re talking about clearances, and you’re talking about security of data, a lot of organizations that are out there just don’t have that capability to do it. So I think one of our challenges at the beginning was we were utilizing other organization or other companies, that just did not meet the requirement that we’re looking for. So understanding what your requirement is to then go out and find what is the true best solution. And I would really recommend, if you find an organism or a company that says if they do this is okay. Let me talk to your military clients. So I can ensure you know that what you’re telling me you’re capable of doing, I can get out, validate or be validated. Those can be validated by a true military asset that’s utilizing that capable of that capability within your your company. So I think, you know, that’s one. The other one, which we’ve hit on is, again, defining what the shoe ROI is, what is success? We’re doing? A, you know, I listened to a lot of a lot of things regarding regarding pilot programs. But one of the things that I think I’ve kind of taken from that is the pilot programs are being done, but there’s no, there’s no true definition of okay, what was the success of the pilot program? And if the pilot program was successful, then what are the next steps to move it forward? And so again, look at these pilot programs are awesome. There’s awesome grant money out there to do these things. But you need to look at this as okay, what is success? And if it is successful, how are we truly going to move this to that next level to become full time. My third area of of challenges would be, again, going back to how fast we could put a system out there. In the military, a lot of times we do these 12 month contracts will often years, but the problem is that it takes 12 months just to really get a program in place going get everybody chained up and educated on it. Versus okay, hey, our first base year is going to be a two or three year base year to really establish the program and then go into our options. Because the other the issue you run into when you do these one year with option based option years, is again, leadership changes out, program, leadership changes out, and they all are coming in to make a change because they think what they know is best. So when you have programs that are happy to renew every 12 months, when they’re still in their very infancy, they’re very easy to go, you know, we don’t like it, you know, believe in it. Let’s move on to something else. Now, I say that, you know, aclf goes to something like smartabase. Again, it’s more of a pentagon driven program. But there’s a lot of units out there that are trying to do this and get there get ahead of the ahead of it wait instead of waiting for the big DOD to come out with it. And then my last thing that I would say when it comes to challenges and pitfalls is, is really go back to focusing on the individual that you’re collected data on. We did not do a good job on that we looked at leadership and what can we use to justify a leadership that what was successful and what we found One was, you know, the average military member right now just feels like a guinea pig anymore. There’s so much technology and things that are happening out there that, especially within the special ops world, but every time they turn around, they’re doing a study on X, Y, or Z. And they’re not getting any data back. And they’re like, Well, what am I giving you all buy information if I don’t get anything in return? And so if you if you kind of take that mindset of what is the information that we want to provide? Well, first of all, what is the information the individual wants? How do we provide it to them, and then you get their buy in, and the amount of buying that they have will automatically give you that data, for the most part by 90% of the data, you need to inform leadership on it. But if you focus on leadership, and you try to collect the data for leadership, that individual, which is the two person that you’re trying to improve and, and make their life better, they’re not going to buy into the program. And you’re now going to have a challenge of even collecting that data for leadership, because it’s all going to leadership and nothing’s going back to them.
Dan Duffield 46:03
Yeah, I mean, you’ve pretty much ticked off the the key challenges that I know you and I have seen in this space, I think to add to one of your points there, it’s important to understand what you’re actually trying to achieve, and what am whatever you’re doing from a human performance perspective. But one of the things that we try to do as a company consulting in this space is, is help people understand what is the what is the thing that you’re trying to achieve? What is your HP program trying to achieve, and obviously, over the training wing chief, it’s about, you know, improving the efficiency of the pipeline, getting, you know, getting people through quicker, but at an operational unit, it’s a different challenge. And so the, the data that that you all collect might be really, really similar, but the way that we need to visualize that data and report it, and the outcomes that we’re trying to demonstrate, are going to be different. And so instead of what one of the things I see a lot is people buy a bunch of technology, and then they figure out then they try to figure out how that fits, rather than starting with, okay, what are we trying to achieve with our program? What are the problems challenges we face? And what are the technologies that are going to help solve it? And going back to your example earlier? You know, you you saw that a big impact on the pipeline efficiency was heat, heat related issues, acute incidents. And so you saw the issue, you you found a technology two technologies in smartabase and Zafir, that helped in resolving that, and then you implemented them and solved a problem. So now It’d be my one thing for adding on to everything that you’ve just said, is really understanding as a, whether it’s an individual unit, or it’s a force wide implementation is what is what are the challenges that you’re facing and the problems you’re trying to solve? And then building a system like smartabase, and the technology that supports it, or underpins it? Based on that?
Jen Casson 48:09
Yeah. And Chief, you’d mentioned while both kind of, in your introduction, a lot of the programs that you came in and helped start. And then you also just kind of talked a little bit about some pilot programs and some of the challenges there. If you were to give one piece of advice for somebody who’s in the in the midst of starting or launching a pilot program, what what would that be?
Chief Josh Smith 48:35
So the one piece would be a strong roadmap with leadership’s buy in and commitment to timeline to achieve that roadmap goal.
Jen Casson 48:53
Tell me a little bit more about kind of the the roadmap and I assume well, right, yeah, isn’t to kind of individual years and more digestible ROI.
Chief Josh Smith 49:04
So So again, you know, looking at ultimately, you know, my, my task was to create a program that will increase production in the following courses. So I knew, Okay, here’s my applied tasks. Now, how do I build a roadmap to get that, to that, to that goal, which was at the time, all I had to do is produce more people on the next course, which was a selection course. I had. We looked at it, you know, whether we did a roadmap of okay, if we do this over a six week period over a 10 week period, and what we, what we ended up settling down on was okay, we need nine weeks, nine weeks to achieve the goal that we want. And if we receive someone that looks like x, to get them to look like why before they go into a selection course. So now that we have that roadmap of what that looks like, and that included Okay, in the first course we’re going to do To this, we’re only going to collect data, you know, the second course we’re going to collect data, but we’re gonna give them tablets to be able to help provide that objective data. And the third course we’re going to do you know those two things, and then we’re going to add a megaways. So having that to where when I say your roadmapping, this out is what does this look like over your timeline that you you’re given to say, Okay, here’s what it looks like, here’s my implementation plan. Here’s my scalability plan. Because again, when we started this, the very first class was 52. People, we now run 220 people, or 52, people’s really easy to do all this technology and everything with compared to because at the time, they hired enough people for 200 Plus Person class. So now we’re like, oh, this is easy. We can add more and more things to things. But what happened is that as we added more and more candidates, that time we lost, and what used to take three hours to do now takes 10 hours to do. And how do we officially do that. So if you don’t scale that out, you don’t build it out looking at what your ultimate goal is, I want to run 220 people every every nine weeks through a program six times a year, then you’re going to end up running into huge, huge roadblocks and failures. And if leadership is not a green, green with you, then that’s where you’re really going to have faults. And that’s what happened with us. We are oh six had an idea. He had a vision, unbelievable vision. And he said go do while the one star general found out and he was not very happy. And we got summoned to go to his office, out of state and we showed up there. Well, his goal at the end of at the beginning of that meeting was he was going to tell us to shut it all down and that he knew what was best. And he was going to go ahead and tell us what we were going to do. But because we were able to show him cert, the strategic roadmap, and how this will benefit. By the end of that meeting, he said you have 100% of my blessing. Go do. So again, we now had the one star also backing us up on this, which he had all the right to shut it down, if you so choose. So this is where it goes back into is you don’t have your leadership, your Oh 607208 Behind you, you’re going to end up running into problems because you can fund this at the at the unit level for only so long. But you have to get this into your palm, you have to get this up into a program of record. So when you do have a commander that comes in and doesn’t see the benefits of this is the old school mindset of well, all they need is a five gallon Jerry cannon a 50 pound rock, they don’t have that ability to pull those programs out and change things, because it’s a program of record.
Jen Casson 52:49
So that roadmap really helps not just educate but also manage expectations and build champions.
Chief Josh Smith 52:56
Yes, the other thing I’ll say, and again, I know you told me one, but I want to I want to also bring this up to is technology is moving rapidly. You know, we’re literally creating technology and capabilities faster than I think iPhone comes out every September, we’re doing the same thing in all this technology world. It is a challenge to take this technology and provide it to a strength coach and say, Here you go implement this and actually get the full capabilities of that device and data out of it. So having the ability to do something like smartabase, to where that feeds in there. As well as one of our things that we have is we have a company that manages all this stuff for us that works with fusions for it to ensure that the technology is being utilized correctly, it’s being troubleshot if there’s any issues with it, as the data is being downloaded in a timely manner and reports are being built off for the actual HP sap to react to real time. So when I when we look at this, as you know, I was with a I was with arranger back a couple years ago, and I just got into giving a talk about AECT. And they came down afterwards and they said, you know, we literally have 15 sets of Zephyr sitting in a closet because none of us knew that that was even capable with the Zephyr system. And I’ve heard that with a mega way that I’ve heard this with some other technologies that we’re using, by finding an organization like Guardian parents solutions that they literally have people that that’s their specialty, that can be on your staff as part of your augmented HP SAP, you are going to be able to collect data, like you’ve never been able to collect. The coaching staff can do their thing. And a good example is as a strength coach to provide nutritional education that can provide cognitive and resiliency education. It can provide real rehab education, but at the end of the day, does that coach replace a nutritionist on your organization? Does it replace a physical therapist or at does it replace? as psychologists Absolutely not. So when you look at these programs because technology is becoming so complex is having the ability to have someone that’s there that can focus on that area for your HP team work with organizations such as fusion sport, it’s going to end up increasing your your ROI drastically.
Jen Casson 55:22
Great. Well, we are up on time and I just want to thank you guys both for for the conversation and the perspective. If anyone listening would like to get in touch with you, what would what would be the best way? Dan, let’s start with you.
Dan Duffield 55:36
Yeah, short, email is best for me. So that’s Dan.Duffield@Fusiosport.com. Or you can also find me on LinkedIn.
Chief Josh Smith 55:44
For me emails the best and that’s S as in Sam. M as in Mike I India T as in tango 229 at icloud.com.
Jen Casson 55:53
Great. Well, guys, thank you so much. Well, this, this will be available for the public. And we’ll also make that the dashboard available. And if there’s any questions that people have, please reach out. I know, I know. Both both Dan and chief really enjoy digging into this topic. So I’m sure they’d be happy. Happy to answer some follow up questions. So. All right, thank you. Thank you