Communities Serving Veterans: Here’s the Lowdown on NVI’s PsychArmor School for Community Leaders
As of November 1, 2020, National Veterans Intermediary (NVI) is called the Local Partner Network. Older content may reference our original name.
In December, NVI launched the tenth and final course in our collaboration with PsychArmor Institute. The “School for Communities Serving Veterans” is a portfolio of online courses that help veteran-serving leaders hone the skills needed to achieve impact at all stages of the “collaborative journey.” NVI researched and developed these courses in collaboration with subject matter experts from places like like RAND and the Aspen Institute’s Collective Impact Forum (CIF), and incorporated perspectives from several experienced practitioners within our own Local Partner network. The school is energized by narration by a cast of experts, from former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff GEN (ret) Martin Dempsey, to our own Bob Woodruff, who represent a diversity of leadership experiences.
While the courses are designed to be of interest and value to a great range of stakeholders, here are some specific recommendations for collaborative leaders at differing stages of development:
For prospective collaborative partners who are new to veteran-serving work
Chances are, members of your collaborative are already aware of the strengths that veterans and their families bring to American communities. But not everyone understands veterans as a community asset, or what their role they can play as a stakeholder in veteran wellness.
- Make the case for why veteran wellness is so important for strong communities: Why Veterans are an Invaluable Resource in the Community
- Help prospective collaborators understand why a cross-sector, community-based collaborative approach is needed: Why Collaboration is So Important in Supporting Military Members, Veterans, their Families and Caregivers
For beginner collaboratives
The problems that necessitate a collaborative approach are complex by nature and require cross-sector systems change. Tackling issues at that level can prove overwhelming, and it can be tough to know where to start. These courses are perfect for a new or beginning collaborative:
- Learn the special leadership skills that facilitate success in collaborative environments, where a diversity of stakeholders can achieve impact together: Leadership Skills that Drive Impact
- Assess where you are on the “collaborative journey”, and where to go next: Where Are You on the Collaborative Journey
- Learn to identify potential collaborators in your community and plan how you’ll bring them into the fold: The Collaborative Table: Who to Invite and How to Engage
- Familiarize yourself with the concept and functions of a “backbone” organization: What is a Backbone Organization and What is its Role
For intermediate collaboratives
Intermediate collaboratives are likely to be codifying internal systems and building efficiencies in their work together. Being intentional about creating a collaborative culture and making sure systems can survive turnover is important at this stage.
- To know whether collaboratives are moving the needle on the issues facing veterans, they’ll have to implement a data strategy; this course can help organizations get started: Developing a Data Strategy
- The most successful collaboratives have a culture of openness that supports shared learning. This course shares three tested models; see which best for you and your community: Models for Shared Learning
- Best practices help collaboratives work smarter, not harder; coming up with a plan to identify and codify these practices is essential: Documenting Best Practices
For mature collaboratives
Mature collaboratives have worked out strategies for governance, data, and learning, and have built their capacity to collaborate. At this stage, understanding the cyclical nature of collaboration can help plan for sustainment.
- This course borrows an analogy from the world of biology to illustrate the collaborative ecocycle, and help you anticipate and overcome potential roadblocks: Sustaining Momentum
Creating a free login account at PsychAmor.org takes less than a minute and gives you access to our entire school (as well as PsychArmor’s entire library of courses). We hope that you’ll share this resource with the veteran-serving leaders in your network.