Monday, March 4, 2019

Shaping a Holistic View -Seeing both Forest and Trees

A holistic perspective can fix the misperception by exploring multiple thought processes, zooming out to capture the bigger pictures, and seeing both the forest and the trees.

Holistic thinking involves understanding a system by sensing its large-scale patterns and addressing the big picture. In terms of a holistic'viewpoint,' one does often need to integrate different stereotyped or mechanistic viewpoints; it is the integration and searches for new viewpoints that are holistic. At times, when you only want to see things from your own point of view, see what you want to see, or, hear what you want to hear, often you miss the point to understand the real problem holistically as well as how to solve it creatively or systematically. Here are three aspects of shaping a holistic view of digital transformation.

A holistic perspective is a zoom out view and works well when deploying, conceiving, or rethinking a system: The digital business today is not only just about working within the industry, but also permeating cross-ecosystem which is dynamic, continuous, and interactive. Tunnel vision happens that every side of the fence, commercial and technical, under the silo walls, misbelieve the relevance and difficulties of each other’s works. Tunnel vision happens when people work as a group, not as a cohesive team. The tunnel effect causes bureaucracy, diminishes trust, decreases productivity, and decelerate business speed. Therefore, being able to zoom out and take a holistic view is an increasingly important skill in complex situations where it is impossible to predict the behavior of the whole from the behavior of the parts; and where the relationships between component parts are more important than the parts themselves. To gain the in-depth understanding of interdependence, it is important to apply System Thinking to view the digital organization as an interconnected and interdependent whole; and run a holistic business in a structural way under complex, uncertain and ambiguous circumstances.

A holistic perspective helps to both understand the problem from different angles and solve it thoroughly: If the situation is very natural and fluid, with a lot of inter-dependencies, it takes a holistic view, calls for systems thinking for problem-solving. Behind every problem is a relationship dynamic out of the alignment. People have a tendency to try to fix a symptom which results from the actual cause of the problem. Until the underlying problem is addressed, the symptom will continue to return. Thus, it is important to take a holistic approach to solve real problems. The zoom-out view helps to understand the interaction and interrelationship dynamic, diagnose the root cause of problems, and ensure that the business as a whole is superior to the sum of parts. Further, there needs to be a better appreciation to examine a situation and understand the problem from different angles and zoom out to see the larger system and their part in the mess, in order to come out with the optimal solutions without too many side effects.

Try to see the ‘big picture’ and take a more holistic view of the business as a system to make sure that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts: Due to the digital characteristics such as hyperconnectivity and interdependence, Systems Thinking is important for the management to understand the interconnectivity between parts and the whole, look at each function in the enterprise as a system and then, finding a unified means of looking at the essence. After capturing a big picture type of holistic view, and then, the strategic goals need to be well planned and thoughtfully renewed to achieve the “art of possible.” To reach such a state of dynamic balance, a radically different social and economic structure will be needed and the holistic digital perspective is imperative. A holistic perspective can fix the misperception by exploring multiple thought processes; willing to listen to the diverse viewpoints, zooming out to capture the bigger pictures, and seeing both the forest and the trees.

Taking a holistic view of business helps the management understand business as a living system with a set of interdisciplinary practices for moving the business to a dynamic, iterative, integral and interactive digital flow. Taking integral management approaches is all about understanding and examining the whole, breaking down the silo, flattening organizational hierarchical layers, and significantly improving the overall organization’s competency.


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