Holistic Approach to Strategy, Policy Development, and Planning — Part 4

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Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

There is one other inefficiency that gets lost in the looking for the biggest challenge in existence and working to solve them by priority setting. That is the silos, and all the budgeting and staffing processes that attend them, that produced people and groups of people who have, at best, a perspective that is limited, and ideas which they are attached to as truth, thereby blocking additional perspective. And at worst, they have defensive positions on turf that throws reason to the wind and substitutes rationalization. These divisions cannot be reassembled by integration and dialogue processes any more than humpty dumpty can be put together again. You have to start with whole eggs.

Key to getting to Systemic thinking for Wholes

Essence is core

Revealing essence via a story of place process in a naturally defined place or engaging in an essence revelation process for persons and other entities (e.g. animals, species, communities, raw material in nature and customers). Preferably, revealing essence for all the wholes in the greater whole of the entities that they impact. This is also true for a corporation understanding its story and unique work, as well as each unique consumer or customer guild.

Understand the working of specific systems

Looking at the systems inside and outside the Whole and understanding their working in producing the vitality, viability, and evolution of the whole. “Storying” a place is the most effect way to do this connecting to a whole. It provides a means of revealing patterns that exist in both the landscape and the culture, simultaneously. It makes possible innovation that has staying power because it comes out of something real that has always been there and is in everything. Essence is still unfolding in our present time. And it will continue to be there beyond our time. Humans have a role in the natural process since we are a nested system inside of the place.

Both humans and the landscape have work to do today. This is where the potential exists. In the essence, not the problems or even the reframing each problem as an opportunity.

Find potential for a specific and distinctive place

Potential is found in revealing the essence, which is the source of its uniqueness, manifest landform and culture. This new consciousness is then applied in every from of planning, policy development, community project and land use development. So a park will reflect the essence, as will an apartment building. Essence has permanence as it does in a person and does not change through time, although it may be further revealed. It can be made opaque or even distorted by distractions or poor human judgment.

Finding purpose, or work of the person or place—sometimes called its vocation. Each unique place has work to do; in the watershed in which it is situated and in the specific location in which it works. Every piece of land is working as part of the place to make it function ecologically.

The role of story is to teach the mind to connect with wholes, to bypass the mind’s conservative nature to settle for the familiar and tendency toward working on parts and pieces. It is an education instrument, but also a way to work with a whole so that reality is present and not the abstraction of functions, elements, parts and problems. It causes the mind to soar and find innovation and potential. All other ways drain potential and kill spirit. They do not build connection to life and to nature. They do not build passion and caring. They do not call people to work urgently because they cannot feel it. With parts we get overwhelmed and lose hope. With wholes, real places, we increase motivation and love of the places we inhabit and develop within.

About Carol Sanford

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Carol Sanford is a regenerative business educator, the award winning author of The Regenerative Business: Redesign Work, Cultivate Human Potential, Achieve Extraordinary Outcomes, and executive in residence and senior fellow in social innovation at Babson College. She has worked with fortune 500 executives and rock star entrepreneurs for 40 years, helping them to innovate and grow their businesses by growing their people. Learn more about Carol and her work at her website.

Sr Fellow Social Innovation, Babson | Best Selling/Multi-Award Winning Author | Regenerative Paradigm Educator

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