Most organizations, especially of any size, have a mission that they do their best to live by. A missions paints with broad strokes what the organization hopes to achieve over time. The mission of an organization is usually geared around a statement that is short, memorable and very precise. A great example of this is for TED, which is two words, “Spreading Ideas.”
Integration is all about making sure every part of the organization is living by the mission the organization has as its guiding force. I remember working for a nonprofit organization that went so far as to enact a Council of people from all across the organization to help them make sure the employees knew what the mission was and how they could be part of living it out in the workforce daily. Their mission was literally that important to them.
Each integration team handled specific segments of the mission. For instance, my team was Holistic Care. It kind of sounds new age, spiritual, or some such thought right? My team was really focused on the whole person and how as an organization we each bring our unique abilities and gifts to the table and how can each person feel valued in their job, and like the organization cares about them. One goal of the team was I was part of was helping to establish a great work/life balance. Many organizations have problems with this and expect a dedication to work that is unrealistic. After all, while we might enjoy our jobs, our goal is to be able to financially take care of our responsibilities and families if applicable.
While we worked on our core piece, we also gathered together regularly as part of a large group to make sure we were supporting the over all mission in a strong integrated format. All the teams working together reminded us that our goal was to drive mission over all and then to have the teams burrow down in implementing the mission on a practical level. After all a dream without a practical way of implementation is really just an incomplete painting waiting to be finished.
Mission integration has been a lot on my mind because of working on accomplishing my dream of a new business. I need to have my mission understood first by me, then by others helping me get where I want to go, and then I need to make sure each part of my process meets my mission in an integrated road map so that I don’t get lost of have disconnected pieces. Its an exciting journey. I feel like Bilbo Baggins at the end of Lord of the Rings when he said he was ready for another adventure.