Article coordinated with thanks by: E3161 Victoria Edwards (RMC 2003)
15677 Shawn Myers (RRMC 1986) was recently interviewed by the Materiel Group Internal Communications Team in the context of his transition to a civilian job as Director General Materiel Systems and Supply Chain (DGMSSC). His leadership challenges (integration, capacity, organizational shifts) and lessons learned (management style, work-life balance) however, are relevant to current cadets and alumni.
Integration is key for DGMSSC 15677 Shawn Myers (RRMC ’86)
By Materiel Group Internal Communications Team
15677 Shawn Myers (RRMC 1986) says that his years as Director Armoured Vehicles Program Management and Director Materiel Group Strategic Plans, and his appointment as the RCEME Branch Advisor were good preparation for his current role as Director General Materiel Systems and Supply Chain (DGMSSC). Specifically these experiences provided the 33+ year military veteran a couple of important perspectives that have aided him a lot in the transition to his civilian job as DGMSSC – a good overview of the Department’s strategic environment and a keen awareness of the importance of integrating efforts to achieve a common effect.
He is keenly proud of what his division does. He believes that they deliver value-added support that is pivotal for Materiel Group success. “But we haven’t communicated overly well the value we bring and the rest of the organization may not fully understand, or perhaps appreciate, what we do, what we bring to the table”.
Integration is one of the large challenges he faces in his DG role. When asked what precisely integration means to him he says, “Let’s say you have created an efficiency or improvement in your work. That’s great, but we do not live in silos. This represents one small piece of the broader picture and there are other things to consider: how does this efficiency align with the efforts of others? Does it complicate the process elsewhere? Have you impacted other stakeholders in the process of which you are a part? The key is to ensure all players with skin in the game have a role to play in the solution.”
This, he asserts, is an example of the kind of integration he is trying to create. “I spend a lot of my time bringing folks together. Team building is key. Everyone needs to understand not only their role but who else is playing in the sandbox. It is a mission focus approach where pride of authorship is replaced by a collective achievement of integrated results.”
His other major challenge is one of capacity. “The people in this division are passionate, fiercely loyal and take great pride in their work. But there are not enough of them and I do not think we have been particularly successful in giving them the tools and training they need to do the job they are capable of.” Better enabling and supporting his employees, or as he calls it, “doing right by my folks” remains one of his personal goals and top priorities as DGMSSC.
He anticipates that over the next few years, DGMSSC may undergo some organizational shifts. “As we exploit DRMIS capabilities, integrate our efforts, better leverage business intelligence and the like, we will likely be leaner in some areas and grow in others.”
It’s important to remember, he says, that as a DG he doesn’t personally deliver products. “I don’t count inventory or reconcile system discrepancies. I don’t write actual policy. I do not do process audits. I am responsible and accountable for my division’s results though. So what I do is enable my folks – the practitioners with expertise in these areas. So I need to understand what they do and the challenges they face. That way, I can properly support and motivate them, I can communicate to them the commanders’ intent and I can help them pick a path through a minefield toward our objective.”
Mr. Myers is a self-described perfectionist and Type A personality. This, he believes, has led him to have a varied and perhaps occasionally unpredictable management style. “I try to be collaborative and calm and to clearly articulate what I want, but I know that I occasionally slip and maybe edge into micromanagement territory a tad, but I am learning to step back. It helps that I have such a great command team supporting me.”
Despite his long work days, Mr. Myers knows how to relax. As his colleagues know, in winter his down time is spent following his beloved Maple Leafs. And with the warmer weather comes cottage weekends where he likes to golf, fish and hoist a few cold ones.