Why Holistic Thinking?

Everything that exist in this world are inter-connected. Nothing can exist on its own meaningfully and usefully. There is a connection between trees and birds. Birds enjoy living on trees. Trees not only protect birds but also give fruits for the birds to eat and live. Birds naturally help disperse the seeds after consuming its fruits. It helps grow more trees. Trees help all living beings to breathe fresh air and drink fresh water by facilitating rain. Rain helps grow food and keeps the soil fertile. Food helps all of us to live a healthy and energetic life. We can keep connecting all the dots and we can go deeper.

At workplace recruitment, thinking, learning, knowledge, talent, team, collaboration, task, customer, and performance management all are tightly inter-connected. Many of it are addressing through atomistic thinking. Hence, the creation of so many piece-meal-solutions. Imagine a different parts of the car in the rack. What value does it give anyone?

Whole is more meaningful and valuable than the collection of its various parts. You can see many examples across sectors from farming, education to rocket research organization. Without getting the big picture, one cannot truly come out with a sensible solution. Industries that does not think about environment destroy the environment and the entire planet. Therefore, we need holistic design thinking for sensible and sustainable progress.

Learn to understand all the related entities, get ideas from all stakeholders and team members, creatively connect them, and create sensible solutions.

9 Principles of Holistic Workplace

1. Inter-connected whole is lot more valuable than sum of the parts

1+1 should be greater than 2 but not less than 2. In 20th century, many best practices have been introduced in workplace. Many are designed towards driving high productivity and quality. Each of these best practices are implemented by different task force and group of evangelists. Now there are too many of them addressed in silos and change management have become too complicated. So we need a paradigm-shift in our thinking to inter-connect, converge and simplify.

2. Integrated systems designed with paradigm shift in mind helps deliver excellence

Looking at the best practices holistically is just one part of the solution. Only an integrated technological approach can make holistic thinking a reality. This approach will be cost-effective and meaningful in today’s context. Piece-meal disintegrated approach is ultimately adding to workplace stress and creating major roadblocks. Workforce find it extremely difficult to embrace multiple platforms. Convergence and integration will make these best practices really the best.

3. Socialized thinking unlocks the collective potential

Top down hierarchical thinking is no longer relevant in this knowledge era. Collective knowledge should be made easily accessible. Social thinking designed for enterprise need to be adopted to harness the collective intelligence. Social thinking, learning, working and socialized support will revolutionize the workplace to get smarter and highly responsive.

4. Customers and partners will be delighted when they are integral part of the ecosystem

When we bring customers and partners to the ecosystem, we will interact better and understand each other better. This will help bring strong binding and empower customers to learn and work lot more effectively. Complicated or slowing down workflows need to be removed. Employee, customer and partner connect will help deliver magical performance.

5. Self-governance and democratized approach give freedom to freely learn and work

Top-down control structure or command-and-control management are designed for running factories. Knowledge workers of the 21st century need to be empowered, trusted and supported to self-manage, self-realize and self-correct. Managers need to become leaders to motivate, mentor and monitor the team members.

6. Personalized approach makes learning and working more relevant

Everyone is unique. Our desire, goal, competency and skill gap are very unique to each individuals. Each one need to travel their learning journey using a personalized learning road map. Each one of them need to be managed personally one-to-one. This approach will make everyone work at their optimal level of performance.

7. Self-empowered workforce drives change without resistance to become super stars

If we nurture and harness the power of self-esteem and self-respect, individuals will take the responsibility to behave responsibly and they will ensure that their roadblocks are cleared. This will facilitate change and continuous improvement. Implementing this to consistently manage across the workplace, systematic thinking is necessary.

8. Getting enriched by right knowledge at right time makes people smarter

At every level and at every stages of our work experience, relevant knowledge such as tacit, explicit, interactive, thoughts, guidelines and so on must be available to right people at right time. Holistic knowledge management should become the lifeline of the workplace. Driving the flow of relevant knowledge makes the work environment energizing, efficient and effective.

9. Lean and agile brings efficiency and effectiveness at work

Most systems we have today are inherited from the past. They are based on technology, thinking and thoughts available at that point in time. Some of them are just an automation of manual approaches and they have become a liability in the current environment. Through radical thinking and simplified approach, efficiencies need to be eliminated completely so that we can do everything in the best possible way to deliver the best possible.

Note: Originally posted in by Lakshman Pillai in October 5, 2013.