Department of Transportation – Assessments, Executive Development

The Client’s Need

For the past three years, AvantGarde has provided human capital and organizational development expertise to the Department of Transportation (DOT).  Our team has had the privilege of serving the DOT Office of the Secretary in a variety of areas, such as strategic planning and facilitation, strategic human capital planning, competency analysis, HRIS assessment, workforce planning, executive resources, training design and delivery, organizational assessments, and benchmarking.  Over the last few fiscal years, we have performed against 10 task orders under a prime BPA/IDIQ vehicle.

Because of the strong reputation we have developed, we were selected to partner with one of DOT’s Operating Administrations to help them achieve the component’s goal of driving excellence in leadership throughout the organization Their Executive Team is composed of experienced, long-tenured executives that have oversight for highly complex functions. The Agency was looking for the AG team to support them in a dedicated assessment and organizational development process.

Our Approach

Culture was a key component to our framework for assessing the Executive Team’s functionality and performance. Our team believes that an organization’s culture is indeed a preeminent variable in attempting to assess any component of an organization and is foundational to broader organizational and executive team success.

  • Current State Assessment. One of the primary objectives of this project was to develop a plan to implement desired changes in the organization’s Executive Team culture. To do so, it was essential to capture the “current state” of the executive and organizational culture as a prerequisite to completing the task.


  • Cultural Benchmarking. We met with Top Executive leadership and captured both the current state and the desired future state. This “benchmarking” component included administering an Executive Team Survey to assess how the team functions across five team dimensions. AG worked in close collaboration with Top Executive leadership in defining the desired future state.


  • Change Management. Our approach incorporated best practice models both in private sector and government for “high performing executive culture” and identified key strategies recommended for inclusion in developing and implementing a comprehensive change management approach.


  • Individual and Organizational Performance. Our assessment was dual-focused; we assessed the individual capabilities and capacity for impact of each team member in the two tier levels of leadership and also those of the collective Executive Team. Our lead OD consultant guided this process by applying structured interviews and interpersonal assessment measures. Our team also provided subject matter expertise to fully leverage the existing strengths, tools and experiences of the organization’s Executive Team.

The Result

The project is still underway in FY17 (our second year), we have worked closely with top leadership to develop recommendations on strategies for the Executive Team to execute sustainable positive change towards impacting the organizational culture.  We provided the Program Sponsor with a plan to mobilize the Executive Team to implement these recommended changes. Our team also identified opportunities for leveraging shifts in the Executive Team’s assignments across the organization to better position the agency to accomplish future goals. Ultimately, our input provided the Executive Team with more innovative and collaborative tools for addressing challenges that are encountered in working toward the Agency’s mission.

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