For the particularly close followers of HKY4Vets or the most devoted from our legion of blog readers (all ones of you :), you will remember a mention that in recent months the Catawba Military Taskforce has attempted to put this "organization" on solid ground to build from in 2019.
In virtually every respect, this is and will be the most critical year of this fledgling effort and set our trajectory for the foreseeable future. Throw in your favorite cliche related to maturing or growing and it probably fits us right now.
The way we wanted to flourish in these times is through knowing our values, having solid vision of where we want to go/to be, an ingrained sense of our mission...ultimately manifesting themselves through strategic actions in 2019. We will get all of those other items in time and will be sure to feature them on our website, but I wanted to focus solely on HKY4Vets' Vision.
For those unaccustomed to crafting vision statements (me included), the best way to describe a "vision" is "where you want [the organization] to be at some point in the future". So, pick a marker out there and describe the ideal situation presuming everything falls into place. This forward-looking action and statement provides direction because "where you want to go in relation to where you are is key to identifying those areas where you need to improve" (h/t Tim Herndon). Seems clear enough, right? But still hard to do.
I will go into the full details of the group crafting our vision statement or how backwards I tried to do it, but it was interesting that among a whole group of people we had clear consensus on what we "wanted to be" - clear patterns emerged over and over in our ideation exercises and basically the 1st draft remain nearly unchanged through the final version given below:
"HKY4Vets will be a well-known and preferred conduit between transitioning veterans, their families, and the Catawba County business community, and a transition assistance/employer resource organization of choice, with presence across major military installations in the Carolinas."
I believe key points to pull from the vision statement are the following:
We have two audiences that matter: We have 2 very distinct audiences we cater to - Catawba County employers and Military Families. I will particularly note that we do not necessarily distinguish between service member and their family - they are one in the same in our world, and we aim to assist the total package.
We want to be a critical junction point: By nature of how we are organized, we will be unable to cater to every demand. But our goal is to know the right people, at the right organizations, or where necessary to develop our own programming to ease our audiences' frustrations.
We want to be known for being really good: Thankfully there are hundreds (if not more) organizations across the country devoted to supporting veterans and military families. There are many that do absolutely tremendous work and others that provide less than appealing impacts. We want to be in that upper echelon of resource providers - the ones that get promoted and suggested by friends, colleagues, soldiers, spouses, airmen, etc - because we are doing something unique and truly assisting these individuals/families, as well as our local companies.
We want to be out there and to have a presence: We want to ensure we are being proactive and going to these 2 audiences; we want to meet them where they need us to be...be it through our website, this blog, in the Catawba County community or directly on an installation.
This is where we want to be - this is our snapshot of 2-3 years down the road. It will take a tremendous amount of work to get there, but we believe it is entirely achievable. I (for one) think we are poised to make that happen starting in 2019. It's going to be an exciting year and we urge you to keep up via this blog or our social media outlets (found on our website).
Before I go, I must underscore the importance of the Catawba Military Taskforce members throughout this vision/mission process. They provided ideas, tremendous guidance, legwork, sounding boards, wordsmithing and beyond. I would especially like to single out Tim Herndon for his time and thoughts to jump start our discussion. Tim has a wealth of experience related to strategic planning, and he was kind enough to dumb it down for a novice like me.