As the saying goes, “No man is an island,” and that is more true for today’s commissioner, whether man or woman. In the past year we have introduced the concept of a Collaborative Assessment where the commissioner works with the unit’s Key 3 (another relatively new term). An often underutilized and frequently nearly invisible member of the unit Key 3 is the chartered organization representative (sometimes referred to as the COR), yet this person is vital to the unit and is a voting member of the district committee. When commissioners work with their units, they seek to strengthen the unit, and because nobody is an expert at everything, as commissioners we often need additional resources to obtain the help the unit needs.
In a recent conversation with a regional membership vice president, it was noted by the membership team that Commissioner Tools has the potential to be very powerful depending on how it is used and whether the appropriate information is provided to the membership team. Specifically, the membership team requested that there be a way to export information from the Membership section of unit assessments documented in Commissioner Tools. While the Commissioner Tools Focus Group wrestles with this question and how to fulfill the expressed need, it does raise the important point that as commissioners we are the front line between the unit and the administrative resources and support that the district and council can provide.
Traditionally we say that commissioners should be sharing their knowledge of unit needs and strengths with “the district,” but how does a typical commissioner, who does not attend the district committee meetings, bring that information to the district? Commissioner Tools provides the perfect means to both document and communicate unit needs and strengths to your commissioner leadership (district commissioner and assistant district commissioner) as well as trigger an alarm when there is a priority need, and it is the leadership’s responsibility to summarize, prioritize, and communicate those needs to the district committee, typically at the monthly district committee meeting. If chartered organization representatives are regular attendees at the district committee meetings, in addition to their regular responsibilities, they can aid a district commissioner in conveying exactly what the needs of specific units are in an effort to marshal resources to help that unit. This is not to say Commissioner Tools should— or ever will—replace other means of communicating, including regular district commissioner meetings, yet I’m sure all of us can imagine a scenario where a phone call would be faster and more appropriate to make an initial report of a unit need. If you think about this scenario, it’s pretty easy to see the importance of a commissioner creating a Unit Service Plan collaboratively with the entire unit Key 3.
Because it is impossible to be constantly in touch with all the commissioners in a district, administrative commissioners should regularly review the Priority Needs Units report and use it as a first line of defense for identifying where they need to engage to assist in getting help for a unit.