Wholeness is the second elephant in the china shop of organisational learning, and should not be considered in separation from the first one, complexity (see part II). In fact, both elephants are so much connected that they are sometimes referred to as the fifth discipline.
Continuing the discussion with my colleagues on how to act in a complex environment, their first reaction was: how can we fully grasp the dynamics of the environment in which we work if farmers are not fully open about any other engagements they may have besides their commitment to the cooperative? How unfair of them!
Sure, pointing the finger at someone else is the easy way out of the discussion. But does it really offer a solution? We should never forget that as we point a finger to someone else, there are three fingers pointing at ourselves. (Try it and you’ll see!) Before we blame someone else, ask yourself the following questions: have I never acted the same way in a similar situation? Would I act differently if I were in their shoes?
Refrain from pointing a finger at someone else if you haven’t pointed it three times at yourself. Not only will you be sharing a lot more positive energy as you blame others a lot less, this practice will also make you reflect on your own behaviour, which was the case in point. We cannot control anyone else’s behaviour but that of ourselves. It serves little purpose, thus, to be looking for solutions outside ourselves if we haven’t first exhausted our introspection.
Take a deep and honest look at your own behaviour, at the assumptions and attitudes that guided you through any given situation, and examine alternative courses of action. This is where wholeness comes into play. Is it realistic to expect that we can change other people’s lives if we are not willing to change your own? Of course, this requires leaving our comfort zone and diving into the unknown.
Questioning our own assumptions, habits and attitudes can make us feel very uncomfortable and we will think more than twice before we wholly engage in this practice. Yet, it is the only way to make exponential leaps in your life and work. It is the only way to bring about sustainable changes that lead us out of gridlock, that breathe inspiration and creativity, and that regenerate the environment around us.