Secretary McDonald on leadership: Leaders must be purposeful and deliberate

McDonald speaks at Georgetown University



The following article was first published on Georgetown University’s website.


VA Secretary Bob McDonald said successful leadership starts with being deliberate about developing and shaping your own purpose and values during his presentation in Georgetown’s historic Gaston Hall on Jan. 29 to an audience that included the university’s student Veterans.

“Making that purpose pervasive and making those values pervasive” leads to better lives for others, McDonald said as he shared his thoughts on leadership based off his 63 years of experience.

Refocus on Values

McDonald worked as chairman, president and CEO of Procter & Gamble, before his appointment to lead over 300,000 VA employees and oversee its budget of more than $70 billion budget.

McDonald joined Veterans Affairs in 2014 after the organization came under scrutiny for delays in medical care at VA hospitals across the country. Since taking the helm he has refocused attention on VA’s core values – ICARE, an acronym for integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect and excellence.

“Today’s world is filled with distractions that make it easy to react rather than engage in purposeful ways,” he said. “Because we’re always time-starved, we always wind up managing by exception. We wait for something to go wrong, … then, we try to correct it. What I try to do is see how I can catch people succeeding.”

‘Smart Enough or Big Enough’

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Former U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Distinguished Executive in Residence at Georgetown, lauded McDonald’s leadership during the Friday address.

“No one is smart enough or big enough to run an institution,” said Hagel. “There are so many leaders within those institutions that help shape those institutions and build culture. Bob knows how to do that. … He’s accomplished an awful lot in his career in many areas.”

Ideals and Values

LeNaya Hezel, director of Georgetown’s Veterans Office, moderated a Q&A with McDonald and students after his address.

“Today’s event provided a great opportunity to see the investment Georgetown makes into the military community,” Hezel said after the event. “I hope the presentation creates additional opportunities for many other discussions that will raise awareness of military members on campus and the great strengths they bring.”

Georgetown, home to more than 550 students who are Veterans or engaged in active duty, received the No. 1 college for Veterans ranking from U.S. News and World Report in 2015.

“As students, scholars and colleagues, [Veterans] represent the ideals to which we aspire – a dedication to service, a commitment to each other and an ambition for living in accordance for our most deeply held values,” said Georgetown President John J. DeGioia.

Commitment to Research

Georgetown faculty members provide regular analysis of veterans’ policy issues based on their research expertise in discovering abnormalities in brain imaging in Gulf War Illness; pioneering work on PTSD, TBI, schizophrenia, depression, substance abuse, sleep disorders and the genetic basis of psychiatric conditions in Veterans; numerous projects in prosthetic arm function; and mindfulness-based fitness studies.

“As a university, we are committed to engaging the resources of our community to improve life for Veterans at Georgetown and in the world beyond,” said DeGioia.


 

This article was first published on Georgetown University’s website.

Author

VAntagePoint Contributor

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Comments

  1. Yahunna Wadley Smith    

    My name is Yahunna Wadley Smith and my husband was in the military and yes he was receiving benefits every month [redacted] but I draw social security [redacted] and yes he had honorable discharge my husband pass on December 23,2014 they say that I don’t get none of his benefits he was 70% I get nothing forma the military and I feel like something is wrong because my husband had seizures, and heart problems, he had claims in for his feet and he had PTSD I have been trying to get some help with this matter but everyone that I have talked to says that I should be getting something for being a widow of a veteran but Congress has a limited what a veteran widow can get no one had to watch my husband cry,stay up because he couldn’t sleep but me and the Lord so if there is anything anybody can do for me please help me and Thank you.

    Note: Portions of this comment were redacted by the Vantage Point staff.

  2. Arnold Cabral    

    Once again i going to asked can someone please tell them me in God’s name why a Veteran has a Lawyer the Legislation Branches can’t help a solve a Veteran prove Healthcare Professionals Made a MALPRACTICE Negligence Mistake against a Veteran at the same time.

    1. AWIFE OF A USN VETERAN    

      Luck you my husband also serve 22 years retired with honorable discharge he has seizures memory loss cannot work cannot drive his benefits was denied listed as aggravated by military service not cause by military we get nothing keep on asking for help and we are also joining your cry is there anything anybody can do to please help me his problems is more than just seizures and memory lost.

  3. James T. Kallsen    

    Sec. McDonald, thanks for your service and thanks for your work in the Veterans Administration. that said, I have a issue with the response time (or lack of response ) when I send a request for records (other than medical) to the VA. I have sent 3 requests for notes from Vocational Rehabilitation through various VA websites, NO RESPONSE. yet in the same time frame I’ve sent email questions to local city’s websites as well as company websites with customer support requests and got almost instant responses. even if the request went to the wrong department, they made sure my request for information got to the right departments. The same should happen at the VA. We’re all familiar with the term ” The Commander’s intent”, and I believe that you have made it abundantly clear that you’re intent is to make sure that all VA employees understand that there only job is to help veterans, answering written requests is part of that job. and if that request is sent to the wrong department, help get it to the right department. anything less is a disservice to veterans.

    James T. Kallsen

  4. Arnold Cabral    

    To whom who reads hopefully know how how to contact Robert McDonald Secretary of Veterans Affairs telled him in a assertive way come to Phoenix, Arizona so Veterans can express their belief how to improve Veterans Healthcare and myself as well. ……SEMPER FI.

  5. Raymond Melninkaitis    

    Believe it or not the Vietnam Blue Water Navy was in the Vietnam War. I was there.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hWPqSP31lY&feature=share

  6. Referrals    

    How does one contact Secretary McDonald. I have been around and round with Veteran Affairs all day today, calling for a # or email to get in contact with him or someone in his office. I have been unsuccessful in this. Is there even away to get in contact with someone in his office for any assistance?

  7. Gina F. Myers    

    My comment is awaiting moderation. Moderation? I could use some moderations to the dis-repair of my health and home. I could use some moderation in the costs of my medications. I could’ve used some moderation when [redacted] was calling me and screaming at me constantly, even though I begged her to stop due to the PTSD I was suffering. She lied during the EEO investigation. It’s not slander when it’s true. [redacted] won an award for what she did to me. [redacted] continues in her supervisor job in the business office [redacted]. So I guess it is a perfectly acceptable thing to lie, cheat, scream, and commit fraud to injuried vets and employees. Moderate moderate. I wish the Facility Director would’ve taken steps to moderate [redacted] when they tortured me to the point of near suicide. Thanks for nothing….

    Editor’s note: Portions of this comment have been edited by Vantage Point staff and a previous comment moderated per VA’s social media policy. A full copy of the unredacted comments have been provided to VHA for follow up.

  8. Mark a majors    

    I am mark majors, a USAF disabled veteran an I have been fighting for a rating with the va an I have dav of Winston Salem helping me an senator burr also,I’ve put in many appeals with the Winston Salem va office, I’ve wrote secretary of va McDonald an all I ever get is the run around,an my health just keep getting worse, an the injury I gotten from USAF which is my lower back an it was fused at va hospital in Durham in 2012,it has developed into degenerative disc disease an now I have many bulging disk putting pressure on my spinal cord an neurosurgery at va which is Duke doctors say they are inoperable an im in so much pain an at risk of becoming paralized at any time, ive wrote secretary McDonald to help with the claim cause the USAF screwed me over with disability discharge an I need a rating from the va can someone please help me with my claim, please

  9. ManuelHM    

    Is there any VA center, hospital or clinic using Ketamine for very difficult to treat depression? How about depression related to TBI or traumatic brain injury ? There had been some very good results mentioned in the news media.

  10. Hon.WILLIAM H.QUINION    

    I REQUESTED A TREATMENT OF DECOMPRESSION THERAPY FOR MY SERVICE CONNECTED DISABILITY THAT CAUSED THE DISINTEGRATION OF THE DISCS IN MY SPINE THAT SUBSEQUENTLY CAUSED [ CRAMPING ] AND SEVERE PAIN IN MY CHEST, BACK, SHOULDERS, AND NECK. BECAUSE THE VA FACILITY AT THE STRATON VA MEDICAL CENTER IN ALBANY,N.Y. DOES NOT HAVE THE MACHINE NECESSARY TO PERFORM THIS PROCEDURE, I REQUESTED THAT THIS TREATMENT BE ADMINISTERED AT A NON-VA FACILITY THAT DOES HAVE SUCH A MACHINE THAT HAS BEEN PROVEN EXTREMELY BENEFICIAL TOWARD IMPROVING MY MOBILITY AND RELIEF OF THESE CRAMPS AND PAIN. BECAUSE OF THE REFUSAL OF THE VA TO PAY FOR THIS TREATMENT PREVIOUSLY, I WAS FORCED TO PAY FOR THIS TREATMENT MYSELF. THE SUCCESS OF THIS TREATMENT WAS MERITORIOUS AS IT RELIEVED ALL OF THE PAIN AND IMPROVED MY MOBILITY TO THE EXTENT THAT I COULD AGAIN PARTICIPATE IN DANCING.

    THEIR RESPONSE WAS THAT THEY ONLY PAID FOR TREATMENT THAT WAS DIAGNOSED BY THEIR DOCTORS AT THE HOSPITAL. WHEN THEY WERE INFORMED OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE NEW VA FUNDING AND BENEFITS BILL THEY SENT ME A NOTIFICATION STATING THAT THEY WOULD PAY FOR THIS PROCEDURE BUT ONLY AUTHORIZED MUSCULAR MANIPULATION BY THE CHIROPRACTOR HAVING THE DECOMPRESSION MACHINE. I TOLD THEM THAT I WAS PROVIDED THIS TREATMENT PREVIOUSLY BY TWO DIFFERENT CHIROPRACTORS THAT HAD MADE THE CONDITION WORSE. THEY FAILED TO LIST THE SERVICE AND CODE FOR THE REQUESTED PROCEDURE ON THE AUTHORIZATION FORM ALONG WITH THE PAYMENT INFORMATION. TO ME THIS APPEARS THAT THEY HAVE A TOTAL [ DISRESPECT ] FOR THE LAW AND VETERANS IN GENERAL AND HAVE HAD NO CONCERN FOR MY PAIN AND SUFFERING CAUSED BY THIS CONDITION FOR THE PAST 58 YEARS AND HAVE TRIED TO [ KILL ] ME AT LEAST TEN TIMES EITHER DELIBERATELY OR THOUGH NEGLIGENCE.

    IF YOU AND YOUR COMMITTEE CANNOT HELP ME, I WILL BE FORCED TO PUBLISH MY BOOK ABOUT THESE CONDITIONS AND THE ABUSE SUFFERED IN SERVICE THAT CAUSED THIS CONDITION. IN ADDITION, ALL THE OTHER ABUSES I WAS WITNESS TO, NECESSARY TO PROVIDE COMPENSATION FOR THIS TREATMENT AND THE COMPENSATION DENIED ME BY [ FALSE ] DIAGNOSES ENTERED INTO MY MEDICAL RECORD, ALONG WITH RECORDS REMOVED BY U.S.NAVY ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS! THE RECORDS NECESSARY TO PROVE THAT MY DISABILITY WAS INCURRED WHILE IN SERVICE ARE STILL PRESENT IN MY COPY AND WERE DETERMINED BY SOC.SEC.DOCTORS TO BE TOTALLY DISABLING AND PROVED ME TO BE TOTALLY UNEMPLOYABLE IN 1956???

    RESPECTFULLY, The Hon.WILLIAM H. QUINION

  11. Ralph Richardson    

    Mr. McDonald, welcome! with each new leader we expect great changes in the way we are treated and the development of our claims. I live about 70 miles from the Atlanta hospital and just after you took over we receive a letter about how the veterans choice would change and it did it got worse. People who work there are have developed the same attitude as their counterpart at the hospital a truly ” I don’t care” those who do care are swamped word get’s around as to whom to get in touch with!

  12. Issa Rockwell    

    Mark Majors you are a perfect example of why the VA needs complete quality control inspection in the immediate future. They are far below par and for the sacrifices made to this country. I hope that the diligent work will pay off for all wounded warriors. It is of the utmost importance that only the top care be provided for the ones who bravely gave up their very own lives to ensure our safety. Without that sacrifice the USA would be at risk. The Defense Agenda fails to recognize what is really given and taken. You are not alone in your fight and I pray you continue to have faith in your country. There should have never been an appeals process especially for a veteran like you. I will continue to be proactive in yours and many others fight. If they say the money isn’t there, we all know it is. Have faith and believe, persevere and receive what is yours. Thank you for your sacrifice we are fighting for and with you.

  13. james g doerr    

    i would like a VA loan,just a VA loan to buy my house that is all,You guy” send me crap i do not need,i just to buy a home

  14. Stephen Lee Rue    

    This is[redacted] I have been waiting for 4 years no one cares I am sorry I ever put on a uniform because when you take it off you are forgotten.

    Editor’s note: Portions of this comments were redacted by Vantage Point staff per VA’s social media policy.

Comments are closed.