A Great Place To Serve


These thoughts are gathered from the book called “The Great Workplace: How to Build it, How to Keep it, and Why it Matters” by Michael Burchell and Jennifer Robin . Jossey-Bass© 2011

In our case, we’re working toward serving our veterans and their families.  THAT is our Mission Statement!  That is our purpose for existing.  Honor the Dead by Helping the Living.  Teamwork is the best way for us to achieve that goal!  Putting into practice the ideas from this book will help our organization tremendously.  Not everyone is a born leader.  Training is important!  We receive training in order to properly do whatever job we need to do to earn a living and being a member of this organization is no different.  We need to train people in the culture of this organization, why it exists, what it stands for, how we operate within it, etc.  The By-Laws help us to learn those things.  But we also need something to assist the leaders of the organization regarding how to lead.This book is used by many Fortune 500 Companies and then there’s a 100 “Greatest Places to Work” list that is put out every year which include many of these.  This was training that was given and I would like to share it with you.  I’ve paraphrased much of this into my own words and related it to the VFWLA and what we do in order to make it even more relevant to us all.  Please, keep an open mind and look inward as well as outward.  Together, we can help make the Dept of NH the greatest there is and live up to our mission of serving veterans.

First, create Team Values (Put everyone on the same page from the beginning by agreeing to:)

1. Try to start and end meetings on time (no more than 1.5 hours)2. Full team participation – Keep an open mind3. Be respectful of other’s who are speaking4. Have a created, clear Agenda at each meeting to keep it moving5. Issue Action Items after each meeting – Who is going to head up ongoing activities?6. Always keep meeting minutes per the By-laws7. No judgment allowed – Keep comments in a positive light8. All team members are equals- leave differences at the door9. Everyone helps to keep the team on track by keeping comments concise and relevant1.  CREDIBILITY – Function before form.  Self examine the job YOU’RE doing.  Be persistent in building your credibility and patiently wait for the change.  It DOES start at the top.  Does top leadership trust each other?  Is there in-fighting within your group?  Walk the talk, be predictable, start with you. Three Fundamental Relationships – Trust, Pride, CamaraderieAsk who wants to do something first!  You might be surprised who responds.Involve people in brainstorming and decisionsRevise the Culture in the organizationCreate positive feedbackSet high expectations, change YOUR behavior first if need be! TRUST – Be truthful, but tactful and not hurtful – no gossip, be ethical.  Use good judgment in all situations.  Culture needs to be lived, shared, shown and experienced. COMMUNICATE – Be informative and accessible.  Straight answers..Be approachable:  How?  Ideas:  Say Happy Birthday to those members who have had birthday’s since we last met.Do they feel you listen?Smile, respond in full sentences, be fun, honest, appropriately vulnerable (you can be wrong and admit it!  That goes a long way.)Thoughts;  As a District Pres. meet with all your Presidents to have a kick off meeting similar to what they’re doing with the Dept staff.  Explain your expectations; teach about getting Chairs for the programs in your Auxiliaries, etc.Have telecons in between the District meetings?The District meetings are about flowing info to all the members and teaching/providing useful info.  BUT, build a relationship between you and your Presidents as a group.  Get them together occasionally for a President’s meeting.  Aux. Presidents could get together with their Chairpersons too once in a while to touch bases.  Building Trust between your leadership/chair persons is important.  Let Chairpersons CHAIR their program. Don’t micromanage. OVERSIGHT – Meaningful work, train then let people run with it!  Give people your confidence and guidance. VISION – What’s your direction?  Goals?  Value statement? Rules we agree to?  Why are we here?Trust in general, and credibility in particular, take time to build. Communicating regularly, demonstrating competence, and acting with reliability and integrity are key behaviors.Two-Way Communication

  • I actively welcome and respond to questions.
  • I freely share information with people to help them do their work.
  • I give people a clear idea of what is expected of them.
  • I make an effort to talk informally with people every day.
  • I regularly share information with people about our organization.
  • When I communicate general information I also illustrate what it means to them.

Competence – Do leaders appear to know what they’re doing?

  • I am aware of the abilities and capacity of people who are in my group and ensure that they have challenging assignments and a manageable workload.
  • I hold people accountable for the quality of their work and give guidance/help if needed so they can improve.
  • I let people do their jobs without micromanaging.
  • I make decisions in a timely way.
  • I openly share my vision of the future with people, and suggest ways that we may reach our goals together.
  • I try to give people responsibilities that are meaningful rather than menial.
  • I understand the mission, vision, and values of our organization and use this information to make and communicate my decisions.

Integrity – Reliable, ethical, honest.  Give even the not-so-good news

  • I follow through on my promises, large and small.
  • I give people updates as to the progress of decisions and action plans.
  • I role model the behavior expected of people at our organization.
  • I run our Auxiliary in a just and fair way, and I try to mitigate any negative consequences of decisions I must make.
  • I work hard to ensure that what I do aligns with what I say.
  • My actions are consistent with the values of the organization and my own public statements.



When working with Credibility, remember:

Function before Form

Self-examine your actions before attempting to better the relationships in the organization. You and your team need to be able to articulate where you’re going and how to get there. Resources are deployed appropriately.  Investigate the implicit and explicit promises being made to members and ensure that they are being delivered upon. Once you have verified these basics, then you may begin communicating openly with members and ensuring you are demonstrating the competence and integrity you have. Legitimate strategic direction, expertise, and integrity are prerequisites for building leader credibility in your organization.

Prepare for Persistence

There will be a time delay between your demonstration of credible behaviors and the benefits from doing so. Prepare yourself for it.  Credibility is an investment with a long-term payoff. The more leaders become visible, deliver on promises made in communications, and show their competence, the more people will respond. But it doesn’t happen overnight. Building credibility takes commitment and persistence.

Take it from the Top

Before you begin to build credibility with the
entire organization, consider the team leading it.  Ask questions of top leadership like, “Do you trust one another?” That is, do you believe the other members of your leadership team to be credible, respectful, and fair?  You’d be surprised at how clued in the average member is to the team at the top.  Spend time determining where your team experience is positive and negative, and taking collective steps to create a great team environment that you can both learn from and model to others. When your team experience and efforts align with the actions you are taking at the organization level, you improve perceptions of your credibility.

The Buck Stops Here

In most leadership teams, there is one person who is ultimately responsible.  But building credibility is everyone’s responsibility.  Trust-building cannot be achieved through a policy or program alone.  They only succeed if everyone participates and engages.  If no one takes responsibility, since credibility doesn’t fit neatly into any one person’s role, no one champions it in meetings, and a culture of credibility does not evolve.  Before engaging in credibility-building, come to an understanding about the means by which you will ensure that the “how” builds trust no matter “what” you are deciding upon.

Walk the Talk

Leaders who engage in two-way communication are more likely to communicate with their own people.  When leaders feel fully utilized, they are more likely to aim for the full utilization of their people. The best leaders don’t ask people to do anything they wouldn’t do themselves.

Be Predictable

When members know where you are coming from, and they understand how your perspective leads to success, it can improve the individual member’s productivity. The more predictable you are, the less time members spend anticipating your moves or reactions to their moves, and the more work they get accomplished.  While predictability may sound boring, it actually allows your members to do the good work that will make the organization successful. Individual productivity improves when leaders show themselves to be credible.

2.  RESPECT – Am I a valued member?

 People want their ideas and needs affirmed.Empower to innovate, create and make choicesPeople need empathy; leaders need the ability to work well with people.Take care of your people and they will deliver great service which results in success.SeeSee See how your leadership behaviors align with how members experience respect.  The three main areas:

Support – Opportunities to grow, develop if they want.  Give them the chance and tools.

  • I enable people to get the training and development they need for success.
  • I give honest and straightforward feedback.
  • I know the “next steps” for each person if they are interested, and
  • I create opportunities for them to get relevant experience to meet their goals.
  • I make sure people have the resources they need to do their jobs well.
  • I recognize that mistakes are necessary
  • I support people in testing their ideas, even if it has a temporary, negative effect.
  • I talk with people regularly about their growth and development.
  • I tell people when I think they’ve done a good job or expended extra effort on a task.
  • ReReRecognize contributions, effort, formally or informally, phone calls, shout outs, years of service, celebrate!
  • Know when it’s time to step back and let someone else lead and learn, be a mentor.
  • I ask that my team members gather input from people, in our Auxiliaries, Districts or Department and others, before making decisions.
  • I create opportunities for us to decide together on the best course of action.
  • I follow up with people who have shared ideas and feedback with me.
  • I make sure people are involved in the decisions I make that affect them.
  • I seek input, suggestions, and ideas from my team.
  • I allow people to take time off when they need to.
  • I attend to the collective stress of the group, be it due to personal, time-management, or financial causes.
  • I encourage people to balance their VFW and their personal lives.
  • I have an understanding of the benefits the organization offers, and I help people to understand how they can best take advantage of them.
  • I know what people in my group enjoy doing outside of our organization.
  • I role model a healthy balance.
  • When possible, I attempt to bring the personal skills and passions of people into the organization.

Collaboration – Can have positive dissent and constructive criticism.  Close the loop. Listen!

Caring – Create an emotionally safe environment and balance life


Create a Climate of Mutual Respect

Remember the prerequisite of being genuinely caring and authentic? The leader respects his people. People want to matter and make a difference, give them that opportunity.

Get Real

Similar to credibility, underlying leaders’ ability to demonstrate respect must be the fact that they genuinely care. If members believe that they’re not whole, worthy people, then few members will perceive the relationship as fundamentally respectful. An ethic of care may sound “soft,” but in reality, caring about and respecting the needs of members is not an easy thing to do. Human behavior is not always rational but very often emotional.  Leaders need to lean into their discomfort rather than shy away from the complexity of support, collaboration, and caring.

Take the Member Perspective

In the best organizations, leaders have seen what respect—or a lack thereof—looks like from a member perspective. They take care to put themselves in the members’ shoes and treat them the way they’d want to be treated. Know what works and what doesn’t and keep in mind when you get to that position.

Be Mindful That People Bring Their “Whole Being” to the Organization

IIt means that you understand that other aspects of a person’s life can impact his or her focus and actively address that.

Be a Role Model

As a leader, it is imperative that you model the behavior you wish to see in your organization. Setting the tone so that people recognize extra effort and understand honest mistakes, collaborate in a spirit of learning and problem solving, and caring about the whole person can yield significant dividends for your organization. These are the hallmarks of a respectful working environment, and as a leader, you have a primary role in creating this environment.

3.  FAIRNESS – We all play by the same rules.  Everyone can help!

Create Create an environment with equity, impartiality, and justice.  Constantly level the playing field, eliminate politicking and back stabbing.  ZERO TOLERANCE FOR UNFAIR ATTITUDES.  Address mistakes as they occur.  

Equity – Team players!

  • I communicate about the distribution of profits made by the organization.
  • I recognize people when they do a good job, regardless of their positions or tenure in my workgroup.
  • I treat people with respect no matter their positions in my workgroup or the organization.
  • I disentangle myself from political motivations when I find myself involved.
  • I ensure that people are well positioned for advancement when they are ready
  • I let people know what’s needed to seek advancement.
  • I make an effort to build meaningful relationships with each member.
  • I take care not to spread rumors.
  • I try to act in the best interest of everyone involved: my organization, my people, and myself.
  • I try to avoid giving anyone preferential treatment.
  • I give people opportunities and treat people with respect regardless of their ages.
  • I give people opportunities and treat people with respect regardless of their genders.
  • I give people opportunities and treat people with respect regardl
    ess of their races.
  • I give people opportunities and treat people with respect regardless of their sexual orientations.
  • I make sure people are aware of how to appeal decisions made by their leaders.
  • I respond supportively to people who approach me with concerns about mistreatment.

Impartiality – Don’t do things for personal gain, peer recommendations are good

Justice – Include all for varied experiences



Fairness improves if efforts are also made to strengthen the other anchors of trust. A first step may be to take action to build credibility and respect in order to buoy your members’ perception of fairness. Other imperatives to consider:

Keep Fairness Top of Mind

Determine where fair treatment falls in your organization’s statement of values, and then publicize and remind people of the imperative to treat others with impartiality and justice, no matter their position in the organization. Remind people that everyone has a contribution to make, and encourage leaders to take fairness into consideration when making decisions.

Take a Zero-Tolerance Attitude toward Unfairness

Hold leaders accountable when it comes to unfair treatment. Encourage people to be empathetic, and to see the situation from the other person’s point of view. But, if it still doesn’t reflect good judgment, there will be consequences.  If leaders don’t educate about the importance of fair decision making, members cannot trust that they will be treated with equity, impartiality, and respect.

Send Strong Messages

Strong messages are sent in the way a leader interacts with his or her people.   Consider how to send a loud and clear message about fairness no matter your influence level. Even if procedures are out of your realm of responsibility, your personal philosophies speak volumes about how you believe members should be treated.

Get Involved

When top leaders are involved in decision making, even as a final review, members know that fairness is expected. Once you send these messages, your leaders are more likely to take action. 

4.  PRIDE – I contribute to something really meaningful – commitment to goals.

Encouraging pride in individual, team, and organizational successes includes

Job – Individual contributions matter

  • I encourage people to share their unique skills and talents with the team.
  • I frequently tell people how their unique skills and talents benefit the team and the organization.
  • I help people connect their day-to-day responsibilities with the larger purpose of the organization.
  • I help people understand how the work they do makes a difference.
  • I am a role model to my team for giving extra effort to help get the job done.
  • I celebrate team accomplishments.
  • I help my team to understand how our work together makes a difference.
  • Give extra to get the job doneGive extra to get the job done, help each other
  • I encourage people to be a part of District and Department events.
  • I ensure that my team gets information about how our organization impacts the community.
  • I ensure that people can see how they can develop within the organization.
  • I role model a sense of pride in the organization and its products.

Team – Chairman @ Aux. level and higher levels need to build their teams.

Organization – Build pride at every turn, learn from failures, set the tone.


Other ways in which you can foster pride in their individual efforts, in their team’s efforts, and in the larger organization:

Build Pride at Every Turn

Share individual, team, and organizational accomplishments. 

Support a Boundary-Less Organization

Focus on the collective good. In great organizations, members will go above and beyond—working outside the normal scope of their roles and beyond the typical boundaries.  When this happens, people see their own team’s connection with other teams, and they are proud of what those other teams can accomplish because they did their jobs well. Do not let little “fiefdoms” arise.  The truth of the matter is, when you’re in an environment that does do things that way, you are not aware of how much energy and productivity you’re soaking up to protect those little fiefdoms, protect your ego, protect your status, etc.  Instead, help foster pride by supporting a more boundary-less organization.  People should rotate in and out of positions for a more rounded perspective and to allow for fresh ideas.

Learn from Failures, Too

Leaders tend to focus on team and organizational “wins” as ways to increase levels of pride. In addition to doing this, it is also useful to celebrate “failures” in such a way that members can learn from them and move on. Pride in the organization is likely to increase as a result of this.  Celebrating failures is a way for members to learn from mistakes, and move on.

Set the Tone

One of the most important things you can do as a leader is set the tone.  Your extra effort to get the job done and your contributions to community and volunteerism efforts speak volumes to members about what is important. Sharing your own sense of pride in the organization and in the collective efforts of your people also helps set the tone for fostering pride in individual, team, and organizational efforts and successes.  5.  CAMARADERIE – People here are great!  Family feeling, supportiveBuilding Camaraderie includes:Intimacy – People can be themselves

  • I express my beliefs and concerns openly while doing what is best for the organization and the team.
  • I attend celebrations that my team organizes.
  • I encourage people to be themselves, and to respect the individuality of others.
  • I encourage people to celebrate special events.
  • I provide resources and time for my team to celebrate their accomplishments.
  • I take action to help people in times of need.

Hospitality – Welcoming, enjoyment

  • I coordinate or support activities to help new and members feel welcome.
  • I encourage my team to take time to enjoy their fellow members, build friendships
  • I ensure that new members are warmly welcomed to the team.
  • I go out of my way to make new members feel welcome.
  • I help to create and maintain a relaxed atmosphere in my group.
  • I take opportunities to bring fun to our work.
  • When someone transfers to in, I warmly welcome her to the team.

Community – Get along, teamwork, understand each other’s jobs, mentor!  Role model!

  • I create opportunities for my team members to meet other people in the organization.
  • I encourage and reward cooperation in my workgroup.
  • I ensure that everyone on my team understands how the work of other team members creates value.
  • I foster a warm and supportive group spirit in my team.
  • I help people to keep focused on the greater good in addition to our own individual or group interests.
  • I show respect to people in other groups throughout the organization.
  • I consider my team members to be more than just casual acquaintances.



Camaraderie refers to ties between members, and the only influence you have is creating and supporting opportunities for members to connect, and role modeling the behaviors you’d like to see.

Create a Context

Though you cannot fully manipulate the degree to which employees welcome or care for one another, you can put vehicles in place for them to build their camaraderie. As an example; a Mentor Program.

Role Model

A quick way that we can size up the degree of Camaraderie in any organization is to listen for a higher proportion of “we’s” than “they’s.” When people feel a part of a family or team, they will use the word “we” to describe successes and challenges. The larger their sense of
family or team, the larger the sense of “we.” Sometimes people see the entire organization—thousands and thousands of people—as part of the same family.  When you hear “Those people…”  language there’s a need to build Camaraderie.  The more you can use “we” to describe people in your organization, the more people understand themselves to be part of a larger team.

Build Trust

Building trust is probably the most important imperative. Sometimes leaders choose to put a great deal of effort into building Camaraderie at the expense of building trust with people. Helping to foster strong relationships between employees is an important aspect of building a great organization, but trust is foundational. Once you’ve built trust, employees will better accept the leverage you do offer with regard to Camaraderie. When employees trust their leaders, they participate in events and activities to build relationships. And when leaders espouse the merits of an organization that is one big family instead of competing factions, members believe them. 


In all organizations, members come seeking leaders who are believable, hoping that they are respected enough to be set up for success and expecting that they will be treated fairly and with dignity. They want to have pride and meaning in their work, and they want to have positive relationships with the people they work with.

Develop an Inclusive Mindset

Developing an inclusive mindset will go a long way in capitalizing on the talent in your organization.

Learn from Best Practices in Your Organization

Remember that best organizations also put into practice systems for learning from the best practices from wherever they can because good ideas come from everywhere.

The First Balance: Responsibility and Humility

Great organizations have strong relationships, which means that everyone needs to be involved in building that great place. Great leaders make sure everyone understands their roles and that the effort to build a great organization is a group endeavor.  But great leaders balance their strong personal commitment with a humble belief that others have an important role as well.  You need to train your leaders to understand how the system works.  They need to call when they have questions.  Take any power and authority and put it in your pocket because you don’t need to use it. When you need to use it, it’s there and everybody knows that. You can say no when you want to. The better thing to do is to forget about it and stay humble and go to work with your friends and get the job done. It’s not an ego trip. It’s a lifestyle.As a leader, you must accept responsibility for your role in culture. You are the chief role model and trust builder, and people look to your behavior and decisions for guidance on their own behavior and decision making. But you also need some degree of humility that allows you to reach out and enlist people. Your responsibility needs to become everyone’s responsibility if you want to create a great organization.

The Second Balance: Passion and Patience

Leaders at great organizations put a priority upon people as an important cornerstone of the organizations’ success. They see the success of their organization as intimately tied to the emotional health of their members, and they want to take decisive action in order to make positive changes. They also know that building relationships takes time; it doesn’t happen overnight.

The Third Balance: People and Results

Leaders at great organizations advise you to strike one last balance in your perspective: people and results. Behind every job description there is a person, and behind every organizational accomplishment there is a team of dedicated people. But while grateful for members’ contributions, leaders at great organizations make their expectations for success clear and hold people accountable for results. Err on the people side, and your organization may be fun and caring, but not productive. Err on the results side, and goals are met, but people live in a state of burnout and fear. As a leader, you need to be sure your managers understand this balance. You need to hold people accountable for great results, but also ensure that they are building a workgroup culture that values its people.The point of view you have as a leader sets the tone for the entire organization. Your commitment to the organization’s values is important, as is your passion about the role of people in your success. But these must be balanced with the belief that you can’t create a culture on your own, and it’s not going to happen overnight and without some degree of accountability. Once you’ve determined your own personal blend of responsibility, humility, passion, patience, people, and results, you can begin to put what you’ve learned into practice.Using Best PracticesFirst, practices become part of the fabric of an organization because they are rooted in the values, history, or operating environment of the organization. Remember that culture arises when people successfully solve problems or capitalize upon opportunities in their environment, and success will be defined in the context of each organization’s values, history, and operating environment. The second important thing to remember about best practices is that they become so when they strengthen the relationships that people have with the organization. The relationships themselves—trust, pride, and camaraderie—are relatively consistent across organizations. But the people in those relationships are different. People have unique skills and needs, and your people’s skills and needs are likely different from those in an organization that may inspire you.

Action Planning

Action plans start with information. Creating a great organization is no different. You need to understand the quality of relationships from the employee perspective. Identify your strengths and opportunities; think critically about their nature before proceeding. First, consider how your strengths can be used to help develop your opportunity areas. Perhaps your group’s strength is a sense of community among people. If that is the case, perhaps they would respond best to encouragement and support from each other.  Your strengths give you guidance as to the tactics that will be most successful in working on your areas of opportunity.Second, often we find that opportunity areas are a function, at least in part, of the age of the organization. They all have strengths and areas of opportunity.  And they focus doubly on building their strengths until they are bedrock to the culture, and part of their competitive advantage when it comes to talent.Lastly, when you begin action planning in a particular area, you need to think critically about the strengths that you have in that area. You might be thinking you have no strengths at all if you’ve identified it as an opportunity area! But there’s always something that’s going well. Even if your strengths seem small, taking time to understand your own starting point helps you to take a measured next step, one that your leaders, peers, and members are comfortable embracing. If you attempt to go too far too quickly, you will encounter resistance at best, and broken trust at worst.  Don’t push people out of their comfort zone too quickly.  Sometimes it is necessary to push people, but recognize that once you have a reservoir of trust built up, you will be met with less resistance. In the beginning stages of your journey, the need to take a reasonable next step rather than a huge leap is important.

A Step-by-Step Guide


  1. Choose Areas of Focus:  Note that areas of focus are not action plans. They are areas that warrant your attention.  You should choose two to three areas of focus. While you may feel as though you want to work on more areas, there is a danger in spreading yourself too thin. It is better to make solid change in a few areas than unsustainable change in many areas. Moreover, you’ll find that y
    our results in other areas may improve as a byproduct of your focus in just two or three critical ones.  Try to get as close to the root cause of trust as possible. Remember that two-way communication underlies much of the Model. Chances are, if your two-way communication is an area of opportunity, any chances of building a greater sense of, say, impartiality are lower.


  1. Take Inventory: Once you choose your areas of focus, determine two things. First, what strengths might help you with each area of focus?   If you learn a lot about new members when they sign up, you might use some of that information to customize their welcome and how they can get involved.  Second, take inventory of what is already going well in each area. This is your foundation for any action plans you create. You’ll need to understand where you are starting from in order to behave in ways that build incremental trust without backfiring.


  1. Map the Gap: The next step is to look at the gap and to determine the first two to three steps that get you closer to where you want to be. It may take several steps to get there, but beyond the first few, it is difficult to predict what might be most appropriate. Don’t recommend building the entire plan for this reason. After you take the first few steps, you’ll remap the gap.  The success (or failure) of these actions will tell you where to go next.  You’ll also want to be realistic about the obstacles that may be in your environment. If you’ve answered the questions above about your chosen best practices, you should already have an idea of what these are. Remember that the gap may not be closed until you remove these obstacles. The first few steps are the most difficult, because they often feel slow and cumbersome.  But once there is some momentum, you should be able to move more quickly toward your desired practice or outcome, both because you’ve built more trust with your people and because you’ve become a better change champion.


  1. Check Your Thinking: Before nailing down specific action steps in your areas of focus, have a conversation with people in your group. You may want to share your analysis of strengths, resources, and opportunities to determine if you’ve been accurate in your approach. This type of conversation builds more trust, particularly in two-way communication, collaboration, and treating people as full members of your workgroup. Every conversation is going to move along differently, and if you find yourself in a deficit situation when it comes to trust, you may want to attempt to make progress on some key behavior changes before sitting down with people. Or you may have private conversations as a first step. Below are some questions you may ask, using your own judgment as to how your group will respond:
  • What is your general experience of our group? What are some things you really appreciate? Are there other things you feel are obstacles to our being a great organization? What am I doing, as a leader, when each of these things are happening?
  • How do you feel about my focus on these two to three areas for the next few months? How does your behavior need to change if I take these steps? Would your experience be improved if we have success in these areas?
  • Any ideas for how, specifically, I might make my action steps even more successful?


  1. Take the First Step: You’d be surprised at how difficult this is sometimes! There is never a “wrong” time to deepen the trust relationship. Sometimes it is difficult to keep it up until a true change in the environment is experienced. It may take people time to adjust to the changes and respond appropriately. If you don’t see immediate change, that’s not a sign things aren’t working. Trust builds over time, and you will need to ensure you have personal support from your leaders or mentors to help you continue to move forward even in the face of skepticism or confusion.


  1. Add to the Inventory and Remap the Gap: Once you’ve been successful at executing the first few steps in each area of focus, it is important to take inventory again and then remap the gap before generating action steps. We often find that progress in one area comes with additional benefits. In the process of taking action in one area, you may strengthen other areas, or build resources that can now be used to continue your journey. We recommend setting aside time to reflect at four- to six-month intervals as you take action to improve your organization. As leaders can tell you, this process never ends. There is always room to improve or modify your culture as the environment and members change.

A great organization won’t materialize overnight, but it will come to be when people like you commit to making changes. You realize that your very success as an organization depends upon the health of your culture. People’s experience with the organization helps people to deliver on organizational strategies and goals.An organization is living and breathing and it has to do with everyone around you and their values. Write down what you believe in. People like to be part of success and that’s the really wonderful part about it.  And the more success you have at doing it, it just reinforces it.  Building a great organization is building the relationships people have with their leaders and their fellow members.   Let’s keep this mind as we go forward working for veterans and their families!