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360 in Development Part 4 (conclusion?): Being Holistic
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Friday, 15 June 2007

Not so many years back, "holistic" was a far-out and esoteric word nowhere to be found in management literature, derived as it is from the same source as the words “whole” and “holy” and therefore suggesting something beyond the individual entity. Now we have holistic all over the place – even to the point of “wholistic” (sic) dentistry.

In the manner of Fred Emery’s Open Systems, Garratt’s Learning Organization and Senge’s Fifth Discipline, we are encouraged to think further than the little bit of turf on which we stand. This broader way of understanding explains why so many worthwhile initiatives and restructures fail: they are overtaken by another part of the division, of the organization - or of the economy and society. They just didn't think that little bit further, in the US usually not beyond the three monthly reporting.

It follows that before we undertake any initiative we should look at where the organization is headed. Otherwise, the little pocket of holistic thinking that we create in a team (the Micro level) can easily be engulfed by the sea of short-term planning around it that struggles myopically, at best seeking success at the Macro level.

If we are really daring and truly aiming for long-term success, we should look at how the organization’s direction links to the society it inhabits and its sustainability. Yes, of course, that means we should begin by thinking Mega.

Once there is a direction for the organization that accords with societal good, then you have automatically created something that everyone can align with, feel good about and be proud of – you have kindled the flame of loyalty and passionate involvement in your people.

Our process of 360 Facilitated® is then simply a means (and we think a very good one) of making that happen by helping people understand one another, work better together, contribute and use the best ideas available, and help the organization (their organization) be successful.

In this series we offered a brief article about rating managers as a means to improvement. It’s a good example of a non-holistic approach that hones in on just one subset of the manager’s behaviours. And it can have unexpected repercussions that range from knee-jerk reactions and camouflage to depression, revenge and retaliation.

We began the series by suggesting that leaders develop best when they face up to the real world – the people they lead, the tasks they are responsible for. Also that they are accountable for the totality of what they manage – both the task and the people. This is a holistic process for building leadership. It also builds leaders within the teams as people who put their hands up, step forward and play their part.

In Part II of the series we pointed out that this process is about overall performance improvement in which everyone (not just the manager) takes account of what must be done. The relentless monitoring of action plans ensures that these are completed (or updated and rewritten) and therefore lead to agreed results. Getting results is what we want and this is more important than the simplistic concept of putting numbers on managers.

In Part III we suggested that giving people opportunity within their team structure and supporting their ideas and contributions is actually a form of action learning. You give them the chance plus the resources to do the job and they produce the results - benefiting the team and the organization. At the same time they benefit themselves professionally and personally as they grow into the task.

We can't close without recommending that the organization continually measures its progress and prioritises its path to improvement within the framework of Mega Planning.
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posted by Dr Ron @ 22:13  
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