Stage 6.5.4  Reconfiguration and Integration


The new change unit is like a new wing on a house. There has to be a blueprint for how it fits into the larger structure. Where it connects and in what ways must be clearly shown, then these connections have to be authorized and agreed to, then the new relationships have to be tried out and redesigned; and practiced and practiced. There are innumerable connections, both formal and informal, that have to be made and then strengthened before the new unit is truly an integral part of the old system. This takes time. It also takes redundant effort and a persistent will on the part of those who want to make the change renewable or permanent.
 

There are many types of actions that represent this solidification of status and integration into the system. We list a few of these as suggestive.


Standing committees (vs. ad hoc committees)

The original change effort may have been sanctioned or monitored by an ad hoc committee of representatives of the system, perhaps appointed initially by the superintendent or some other high official. As this group continues to meet, the question will arise as to whether it should receive more official and permanent status. If the initial efforts have been successful, any moves to extend the life of this group will be supportive of integration.


Annualized activities

Anniversaries are extremely important in the integration of new elements of a system. Each succeeding anniversary represents an achievement and a shift from "temporary" towards "permanent" status.

 

New responsibilities defined in writing and shared

As roles and functions representing the new elements become clarified, they get written down, and then they get shared around, amended perhaps to conform better with what the larger system wants or can live with.


New connections and lines of communication and authority

Any new connections that can be made between elements representing the change effort and elements belonging to the host system will be positive steps toward integration. Such connections are myriad, including shared or adjacent quarters, talking and exchange of greetings between members, etc. The more frequent and the more routine these connections become, the more de facto integration there will be.


New units, new offices

Any sustained innovative effort needs a home, a place to call its own, a place where it can build its identity, where it can strengthen its internal connections and plan and prepare for each and every new attempt to move the larger system. Sooner or later this means that the "project" must become some sort of unit or office, and that unit must be recognized by the larger system for what it is. Thus, while the unit with its special place facilitates much greater internal connectedness within the team, it must also build multiple connections to key units and elements of the larger system. Isolation can be prelude to erasure. There is a progression:
                  Out of sight  >>  Out of mind  >>  Out!