In the quiet moments of need, a simple question often emerges, “Is there anything I
can do for you?” While seemingly straightforward, this question carries the weight of
true intention and commitment. It’s a question that finds its roots in our most
vulnerable—when someone is sick, overwhelmed, or mourning a loss. We’ve all asked
it, hoping to provide solace, yet not always fully grasping the depth of what it might
entail. It’s a ritual of care, a placeholder for words we can’t find. Are we genuinely
ready to step into the arena of action, or are we merely performing a courteous dance,
silently praying not to be taken up on our offer?

Ken Blanchard’s book “Gung Ho” brings this dichotomy to life through the allegory of
the barnyard breakfast, where the chicken’s involvement and the pig’s commitment are
juxtaposed. The chicken’s offer of eggs signifies involvement, a contribution that, while
valuable, doesn’t demand the ultimate sacrifice. However, the pig’s potential
contribution of bacon symbolizes complete commitment—a total giving of oneself. This
story compellingly frames the question of our times: Are we chickens or pigs in our
offers of help? Are we engaged in a mission or merely a “Me”sion?

This reflection becomes all the more poignant in the context of a personal story from
the COVID-19 pandemic. When a teammate, living alone and possibly facing COVID-19,
expressed her needs, it was an opportunity to transcend mere words. Her request—a
shopping list that included essentials from dark chocolate to medications—was a call to
action. The response to this call wasn’t just about delivering goods; it was a
manifestation of genuine commitment, a testament to the ethos of taking care of one’s
wingman, a value honed over 30 years in the military. This action wasn’t just fulfilling a
need but a declaration of solidarity and genuine care.

Why recount this story? Because it serves as a powerful metaphor for a broader societal
obligation—particularly the corporate world’s role in addressing the challenges faced by
veterans. The plight of veterans is multifaceted, encompassing homelessness, mental
and physical health issues, and an alarming suicide rate. These challenges demand
more than mere acknowledgment; they require a dedicated and tangible response. The
concept of Vet READY—turning corporate spaces into environments where veterans can
find purpose, team, and a thriving community—is a call to embody the commitment of
the pig rather than the mere involvement of the chicken.

Corporate America and private industry stand at a crossroads, holding the keys to
significantly impact veteran lives. The question is not whether we can make a difference
but whether we choose to do so. It’s about transforming our workplaces into
sanctuaries of support, recognizing the profound sacrifice veterans have made, and
committing to a mission that transcends the individual—a true mission rather than a

The story of the shopping list is emblematic of a larger truth: many veterans may never
articulate their needs, bound by pride or humility. Yet, the list exists, and it’s our
collective responsibility to respond. We already possess the means to make a significant
difference; what’s required is the willingness to act, to fill those goodie bags not just
with physical items but with opportunities, support, and understanding.

The challenge to corporate America is clear: Are you ready to be Vet READY? This isn’t
just about hiring veterans; it’s about integrating their experiences, strengths, and needs
into the very fabric of your organizational culture. It’s a call to recognize the higher
calling of corporate responsibility, to approach it with the commitment of the pig, fully
invested in the well-being of those who have served.

In conclusion, the call to action is urgent and necessary. Corporate America has a
unique opportunity and responsibility to profoundly impact veteran lives. By choosing
commitment, over-involvement, and mission, we can create environments that not only
respect and honor the sacrifices of veterans but actively contribute to their healing and
success. Together, we can be stronger and ensure that when we ask, “Is there
anything I can do for you?” we are genuinely prepared for the commitment that
question entails. Let’s be Vet READY and make a difference, one mission at a time.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter