What is the DFA Framework for Success? 

The DFA Framework for Success is a comprehensive approach to supporting informed and transparent decision-making across the Division of Finance and Administration, for the benefit of the university. It has three main elements:

  1. Guiding principles
  2. Key performance indicators (KPIs) and key activities
  3. Division-wide and unit-level metrics

Built on the foundation of OSU’s core values—accountability, diversity, integrity, respect and social responsibility—the DFA Framework for Success allows for an open and collaborative culture where everyone can contribute their expertise and ideas.

The DFA Framework for Success emerged in 2017 from a need to better understand how Finance and Administration units contribute to and support the university’s mission and goals. That year, Vice President Mike Green consulted with Baker Tilley to conduct a business operations best practices review.  He was seeking holistic, objective, and measurable insights into how well the division supports the teaching, research, outreach and engagement mission of the university. He wants to answer the question how are we doing? To get there, the division is investigating:

  • Can we make business processes easier?
  • Can we more effectively utilize OSU’s scarce resources?
  • Can we clarify for the OSU community how resource allocation and investment decisions are made?
  • Can we establish a more dynamic and rewarding career path for employees?
  • Can we better ensure the safety and health of OSU students, faculty and staff?

Vice President Green wants each employee within the division to understand why their work is important and how it advances the goals of OSU’s Strategic Plan 4.0. The DFA Framework for Success promotes the removal of barriers between units and allows people with vastly different jobs to share a common language, a unified direction, and a sense of belonging to a wider community.

What are the parts of the DFA Framework? 

With a sense of community in mind, DFA leadership teams defined a set of guiding principles that inform our actions. They also identified key performance indicators (KPIs) and key activities that focus our efforts, for which DFA units are collectively responsible. DFA leaders and managers are using the guiding principles and key activities to hone decision-making. They help us choose and prioritize which projects DFA units will pursue and how we will collaborate with teams across the university. 

The DFA leadership team is refining a set of overarching division metrics, which either measure our success or identify our challenges. Division metrics ensure we are constantly striving for continuous improvement through collaboration and innovation. 

The final piece of the DFA Framework for Success are unit-level key activities and metrics, which are under development and are expected to be completed by the end of 2021. During this process, DFA units are identifying ways to measure what is most important in reaching operational and project outcomes, while maintaining alignment with the division KPIs, key activities, and metrics. As we continue to develop and implement the DFA Framework for Success and establish unit-level metrics that help move the needle on the overarching division metrics towards a desired state, the connections between the day-to-day work of DFA teams and the objectives outlined in SP4.0 will become clear.

This visual summary of the DFA Framework for Success shows how all the parts fit together. 

How was the DFA Framework for Success developed?  

The Division of Finance and Administration leadership teams and managers have worked closely with OSU associate professor Javier Calvo-Amodio, Ph.D. and his graduate researchers in a research-informed approach to developing the DFA Framework for Success concept and elements.

We conducted over 30 working sessions and presentations involving over 300 of our employees, managers, and leaders to gain valuable insights via feedback and questions. From there, we are using an iterative, action research-based process to continuously develop and revise the Framework for Success. The process has been challenging, with many lessons learned. Those challenges and lessons have informed theory that provides the foundations and guidance to identify opportunities for the DFA to create a sustainable model that meets the diverse needs of OSU and our division.