Many of us have been told that we are two people: a professional self and a personal self, and that we need to follow the myth of balancing work and life. In the business world, we have fragmented ourselves even further into departments, employee resource groups, and internal and external stakeholders.
Letting go of restrictive systems and beliefs is a struggle, as people still feel the need to manage change and have control over the direction they are headed. But deep change, the sort that is needed today, is not easily controlled or managed. You cannot control or manage a huge wave when you are surfing on the ocean—you have to ride the wave and go with its flow. Some senior executives are realizing that the nature of command and control structures is changing, and recognizing that communities are becoming increasingly important. But most don’t know how to build communities, and are too scared to let go of control.
As Bryan Welch shared with us, everything on his farm has a season and a purpose. There is a cycle of life and death that we are all part of. Death and regeneration are simply a fact of life, a fact to be embraced and not necessarily feared. In nature, we plant seeds, we water, we nurture, and finally we harvest. And then we plant again. If we don’t flow with the rhythms of nature, then we are not going to be successful farmers, and we won’t have food to eat. It is amazing, therefore, that we often falsely believe that big business is somehow exempt from the laws of nature, as if existing outside of the universe in its own protected sphere. But that is a delusional view; we are all a part of nature, and we cannot escape that fact.
During my time in corporate America, I was involved in so many annual strategic planning processes, and sometimes I was the one responsible for running them globally. As much as I could, I helped create spaces for conversations to happen to co-create strategies. But of course, most of these processes had very cookie cutter approaches, influenced by with the latest and so-called greatest best practices. There wasn’t a lot of listening happening, because it all came down to the increased sales numbers that would guarantee quarter over quarter growth. The metric of success was the pure brute force of capturing market share. This type of unlimited growth is not in harmony with nature, and its disastrous consequences are catching up with us.
Becoming Whole in the Web of Life
For many people, taking a holistic approach is challenging because it forces us to examine long-held (and often unconscious) beliefs. For example, we are used to trying to find a single right answer and a short-term solution to address very complex problems. Becoming whole means that you seek opportunities that take into account perspectives, that show you a broader spectrum of the possibilities at your disposal.
21st century organizations adopt a holistic perspective that goes beyond their own organizational ecosystem, acknowledging that we are all connected to one another and to the planet. 21st century leaders care deeply at a local, regional, and global level, recognizing the deeper underlying unity. It’s no longer OK to think that we can go into the Amazon rainforest, for example, and take its rich natural resources and assume that damaging this ecosystem will not eventually hurt each of us. In this century, being whole and connected means that if we damage any part of our life web, we end up harming every other part.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish