Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Just what is integrated mission?

Today was another of our 'Salvos in the 'ville' lunches!  Thirteen different people from five different 'branches' of the Salvos gathered for lunch in the dining room of our local pub ;).  People came from Employment Plus, EastCare, Bushfire Recovery, Care 'n' Wear Shop, and the Corps.  And there were a few apologies too - so we really are gathering a crowd out here!

With so much talk of 'integrated mission', and recently Healesville was noted as an 'integrated' site, I have to ask, just what is integrated mission?  How does it look?

Now, I don't have the answers for this at all.  In fact, I'd argue that we don't really have an integrated site here in Healesville - rather we have several different programs that run independently without any real strategic thoughts of how we can support each other or 'integrate'.  There's limited talk of working together, each offering our own strengths.  There was an opportunity, but that didn't eventuate, and it's a whole different story!

Integration (as defined by trusty is 'an act or instance of combining into an integral whole'.

Today was a time for all of us to gather as 'one'.  We all get phonecalls for each other's sites (don't even start me on why we can't get phone systems that allow us to connect calls easily!).  As far as the public are concerned, we all work for the one organisation!  Sometimes we are way too quick to distinguish our 'separatness', rather than our unity. 

Co-location isn't integration either, its just a smart way to use resources.

Can you imagine a day where no matter where our desk was located, we saw each other as all being colleagues, where we supported each other as one team - having a greater understanding of what each other actually does!  Imagine an unemployed person recording some music one afternoon, then helping serve a community lunch the next week, and provided a suit from the shop for a job interview! 

What would it be like if we pooled our intellectual property?  Working in such different fields gives the whole team quite a wide breadth of understanding of the local community.

Is integration about talking to each other more?  Meeting formally together to achieve a common goal?

Is integration about focusing on an individual (or group of individuals) and working together to support the whole person - not just one component of their life?

Just thinking aloud here really.

So what was the end result of today?  Well, we had a nice lunch together, some of the new staff got to meet others who work in the same town.  In fact - some staff got to talk to fellow Salvo workers who share the same building but have never spoken to each other!  Was it integration - well, no, it was lunch!  But it did foster relationships, and from these relationships we are continuing dialogue about working together on a few projects.  I guess we are on the pathway to integration...

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