One of the jobs of a leader is to lead. Being a leader does not necessarily mean that you will be everyone’s friend. From time to time we all need to take a step back, evaluate where we are going and more specifically how we are going to get there. That may mean that a leader goes out of their way to say or do things that raise the hair on the back of your neck, and it may also mean that from time to time we must calibrate what we are doing against what we are trying to do.
A nautical phrase many of you may have heard before is that you cannot change the direction of a ship if you are tied up to the pier. One must set sail in order to change direction. Years ago when NCOA was a good sized organization and we had an affiliation with Academy Life, no one paid much attention to how we were doing things and how we communicated. No one cared much about fiscal responsibility because we had a fat cat covering all of the bills. A few bad apples did things that they shouldn’t have and brought some bad publicity to this organization. Using some of the liberal mentality of today, we remove any semblance of memory to those times. The problem is some of our members were hurt. Some of our members did not, or perhaps even today, do not have the capacity to forgive. Removing the memory doesn’t solve the problem, but learning from it does. NCOA needs the good members who were hurt back then to return as a contributing part of the organization. We need to recapture the good things that NCOA had done. History happened and removing it like many in our culture today would have us do removes teaching moments and is like “throwing out the baby with the bath water.”
If you are one that still bears the hurt from our past, I humbly apologize and ask you to give the current leadership team an opportunity to make things right with you. NCOA has made some significant improvements over just the last five years. Our Board of Directors is smaller and not just a conference board, but we meet via conference calls every month or so to deal with issues that impact you and your family. The level of communication from the Board out to you has improved significantly where you can now hear what is going on monthly from myself, the President of the Association, our Executive Director and most recently from our Grand Knight.
Our new Executive Director has held almost every possible position within the chapter and board hierarchy before assuming the operational day to day running of the association. He truly cares about each and every one of you because he has been where you are and has felt your pain.
While we are not as young as we used to be and our energy levels have declined, we still have one asset that is not to be underestimated. Experience! I and your current leadership love this association and have taken an oath to do everything in our power to “Make NCOA Great Again”. We can’t do it by ourselves. Equally important is that we realize that we can’t force how we used to do it down the throat of today’s generation or we truly will cease to exist. If you are a parent or grandparent or maybe even a great grandparent, we must be patient and teach today’s generation the truly important accomplishments of our past and guide these young members through the maze of confusion that is today’s culture. You would do it with your kids or grandkids, so why not our new young members? Be flexible and patient for the alternative is death!
If you have any ideas or suggestions, either contact headquarters or contact me at email@example.com and I can assure you that your leadership will take note.
Strength in Unity & Leadership By Example,
MCPO (SCW) Terry M. Haines
Chairman, International Board of Directors