Below are sentiments from our President & CEO, Brian Copes:
There is a saying among old Soldiers, “The Army never changes and… the Army is always changing.”
It was a tongue-in-cheek bit of wisdom to remind (and comfort) us that change is inevitable, constant, often positive, but always uncomfortable (sometimes painful).
HVAF is changing (which is evident to all of us) and we are all experiencing “growing pains”.
It’s GOOD change, but change nonetheless.
From an agency perspective – it’s good change. More grant and giving income, expanded programs, added teammates, upgraded facilities, new construction [Proctor Place] which will posture us to serve more veterans in-need and to provide enhanced services (like the therapist hire and our workforce development proposal to Lilly).
From an individual perspective, it’s at best uncomfortable and at worst painful and distressing. It’s good news and “bad-ish” news. While supervisors at every level are gaining new team members, the reading resumes and interviewing and onboarding and orientation and training all consume time, energy, and attention as our new colleagues get up-to-speed. There WILL be “gain” at the end of this “pain” but… there’s still pain getting there.
From a supervisor’s perspective, it’s often tough to find enthusiasm (mush less excitement) as you’re busier than ever reshaping your team and managing the associated increase in workload.
THEN there’s the practical challenges such as “creating” office space, acquiring and fielding new laptops and phones, swipe cards, parking passes, parking spaces, email accounts, admin requirements, etc. – all good stuff but stuff that takes time, energy, and attention and MUST be done NOW so… of necessity, these time-sensitive transactions compete with other operational priorities so… tension, stress, anxiety, frustration, uncertainty, and conflict.
SO… back to my Army maxim – when you have accumulated 3-4+ decades of life and work experience, you may come to realize that “steady state” really isn’t. Steady state in almost any organization (and in our lives) is actually the transient state – it never lasts long before change rears its head and keeps us in a state of perpetual transition.
Our collective challenge (and my leadership challenge) is managing the pace and scope of change – not too fast, not too slow – way more art than science in application. I won’t pretend or suggest that I’ve come close to getting the pace or scope right in the last few months and for that I offer you my sincerest apologies. I am sorry that with the best of intentions and for the greater good, I have both inflicted and allowed “good change” to generate some “bad experiences” for the entire team.
So… I said all that to say this – I ask each of us to continue being patient, kind, dedicated, respectful, and supportive in interacting with our clients and each other in the weeks and months ahead.
There IS gain at the end of our collective pain. We are in a good place as an agency with many positive initiatives in-progress and moving forward.
Hang in there. Be safe. Be well.
THANK YOU for all you do every day in serving our veterans, supporting your teammates, and helping make this agency better.