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Designing and implementing the reform process for Army Aviation


System Project Office (SPO) reform was initiated out of the Defence First Principles Review (FPR) that sought to reshape the business units within the procurement and sustainment arm of Defence. It was designed to enable the workforce to continue delivering capability, while improving the flexibility and utilisation of the organisation.

A key feature was the establishment of a ‘single end-to-end capability development function within the Department to maximise the efficient, effective and professional delivery of military capability.’ It also represented an opportunity to rebalance the workforce and reprioritise its work to focus on contracting, assurance, planning and governance activities to oversee Industry’s delivery of capability, monitoring its performance and assuring contract accountability.

Quintessential was tasked by Defence to design and implement the reform process for a CASG SPO, including the facilitation and coaching of the Executive Leadership Team. This involved:

  • The design of the post-reform organisational structure, ensuring consistency with the FPR recommendations
  • The implementation and change management of the post-reform organisation
  • The establishment of a Governance and Performance framework

Quintessential was engaged as a Strategic Partner to design and implement the changes, as follows:

  1. Streamlining the SPO structure to support Sustainment activities, including the design and implementation of the reformed organisation across the ADF, APS and Contractor workforce.
  2. Designing a governance, assurance and performance management framework (including a strategic risk management methodology) to monitor and evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of the SPO as a Sustainment focused organisation.
  3. Undertaking a TNA to define the competency needs of the post-reform workforce structure and to identify the upskilling activities required

The project was conducted over a period of 21 months. Quintessential led and implemented the program of work from commencement to completion.

Step (a) – Change Management. In order to minimise disruption to the SPO during the change management process, and to enable business-as-usual operations to continue unhindered, Quintessential adopted an immersive approach that sought to understand the workforce needs from internal observations and experience. The design was driven from within through regular improvement practices and routines.

The changes were implemented gradually, with Quintessential coaching the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) through a series of iterative steps. This strategy was deliberately crafted in preference to a large ‘step-change’ approach in order to enable:

  • Opportunity for the ELT and workforce to contribute and buy-in to the outcomes
  • Time to reflect, consider and provide feedback to the changes
  • Progressively shift behaviours, mindset and practice
  • Minimise resistance to change

The main aspects to the work performed included:

  1. Functional analysis and design of the organisation from current to new
  2. Change & Communications strategy design and roll-out
  3. Development of Staff Transition and Workforce Plans

Step (b) – Governance. Following the completion of the organisational analysis and reform implementation, Quintessential designed and established a Governance & Assurance framework that was adapted from corporate models to include:

  • Performance, cost, risk and workforce metrics and indicators
  • Regular Governance Committee forums
  • Flow of information both up and down the chain of command

The framework was designed to enable the ELT to monitor and evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of the SPO in a strategic manner, enabling them to identify systemic issues and make considered improvements. 

To mitigate any additional workload or burden to the SPO, the governance framework was based upon the existing collection of metrics, and also leveraged existing Defence systems for management and tracking of indicators. This foundation was then be expanded to include additional metrics and data once the baseline was established and the associated practices implemented.

Step (c) – Competencies. The final piece in the SPO reform program of work was the analysis of the workforce, the definition of skilling needs and the identification of any skills gaps with an intent to develop training and development plans. This involved:

  • Review and update of all Position Descriptions, creating linkages of accountability and responsibility between supervisor and subordinate relationships
  • The definition of the competencies (knowledge, skills & behaviours) for the post reform organisation
  • The conduct of a Training Needs Analysis (TNA)
  • The development of a training strategy to address the skills gaps

The program of work was delivered on time, with all necessary changes within the scope of the engagement implemented.  Upon completion, the SPO has benefited by having in place:

  • New (post-reform) organisational design implemented in accordance with Defence First Principles
  • A regular Governance Framework, including the generation and review of metrics, and regular governance forums that provides strategic oversight of the SPO
  • New position descriptions and a full training matrix that relates skills needs to existing Defence training programs

More strategic discussions can be held that identify strategic improvements and systemic management of issues, and pleasingly there is a reduction in the ‘just-in-time’ approach typically associated with crisis management.


I have known Pat for approximately 20 years, initially meeting when working at Boeing, then moving to Eurocopter and staying in contact ever since. I
have found Pat to be one of those rare individuals who uses a personal touch to achieve technical outcomes. Pat’s strengths lay in his broad technical background and experience, coupled with genuine empathy and ability to develop high-performing teams.

Andrew, Head of Customer Support, Airbus Asia Pacific

I recently worked closely with Patrick during the development and delivery of the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) funded Australia Awards Fellowship Program entitled, ‘Responding to Skilled Worker Demand: Improving Quality, Leadership and Management of TVET’ in Vietnam. Throughout the delivery of this Fellowship Program Patrick was responsible for facilitating training activities in the areas of transformational leadership, personal leadership, leading teams, project management and change management. Patrick did an outstanding job in this position demonstrating his agility in effectively and efficiently responding to emerging challenges as well as contextualizing training content to meet the needs of his audience, in this case senior leaders from Vietnam’s Ministry of Construction.

David, International Development Office of Queensland University of Technology

Patrick Albina is a highly intelligent, insightful professional who has the rare ability to balance a high level of technical capacity with a sophisticated approach to dealing with people at all levels. And because of this powerful dual perspective, Patrick has outstanding influencing and engagement skills.

Tim, Thought Leader | Consultant | Author

Working with Patrick Albina on the AIR9000 Ph8 bid was a truly positive experience. Pat’s attention to detail assured the highest quality material was prepared and submitted. His enthusiasm and vigour for the product being offered never waned, along with his determination to ensure all customer requirements were fully satisfied. I wholly recommend Patrick to any organisation looking to engage a dedicated, self-motivated and highly personable team-player.

Jon, Senior Consultant at Projects Assured

Patrick Albina is a highly motivated, intelligent professional with keen skills of insight and perspective that are required to be effective in managing organisational complexity. He has the capacity to embrace the technical aspects as well as the people and relational issues which makes him excellent in his influencing and sense making skills to understand and make long term effective change in organisations.

Erin, Specialist Educator and Advisor

Since mid 2014, Patrick’s coaching has helped me define and develop a values based approach to my career. We consistently meet to discuss my progress and I receive objective feedback from Patrick that I put into our action before our next meeting. This action and feedback loop is the most powerful and effective professional development work I have done to date. For anyone looking to accelerate their career, I highly recommend contacting Patrick.

Ben, General Manager, Baksh Capital
Patrick has been the lead consultant on a number of projects in recent years for CASG, ranging from a comprehensive tailored learning and development framework, asset management principles adaptation to strategic organisational reform and change management. His skills, experience and capability to communicate effectively and strategically with all stakeholders is outstanding.  As well as delivering exceptional value, he is always going above and beyond, delivering ongoing strategic value to the organisation more broadly.
Diana, Senior Manager, CASG

We engaged Patrick to provide subject matter expertise to our Product Management Implementation Project, established to deliver a tailored design and implementation of ISO 55000 Asset Management principles to enhance CH-47F Chinook Product Management. Throughout our 12 month engagement, he provided valuable guidance and practical assistance in all project stages including, problem framing and design; change management; procedure development and practical implementation; observation and feedback; and communication (internal and external). He proved a highly effective enabler to achieving our objectives and ultimately a successful and resilient project outcome.

Adam, Commanding Officer, CASG