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As I discussed in one of my previous posts, Self-management, Wholeness, and Purpose are the basic ingredients to create exponential growing companies. In this post, I want to focus on the most important and the hardest to adopt ingredient: Wholeness.

Relatively it’s easier to understand and implement the concepts of purpose and self-management. They are more concrete, easy to understand, and therefore easier to implement. Wholeness on the other way is vague, hard to grasp and requires a behavioral change from all (or in best cases most) of group members.

The first question is what wholeness is all about? The definition of wholeness has two main elements:

    • Wholeness of groups: is the understanding that each individual is part of at least one group. Each group becomes a part of a bigger group (that contains all the subgroups). These sub-groups create one big group, or a “whole”. Therefore, the company is one whole. This concept of wholeness contradicts the classical departments or groups that you’ll find in most of the current organization (Marketing, IT, Finical, Operations, etc).
    • Wholeness of individuals: is the understanding that people are a combination of abilities, core values, morals, principles, and behavior. All of those elements create a whole which is you and me. To work with other people, we need to give them the ability to be what they are, to accept them as a whole and to let them be who they are at work. Just if we will give people the ability to be who they are and we will accept them that way we will be able to get over different views and personalities and work as one coherent group. A coherent group means that regardless of the different personalities or culture rules that people have, they are all working as one group. We all know already that a cohesive team is better than one lonely genius; we just don’t know how to achieve it. This contradicts with the concept of the lonely hero and the request from people to show up to work with “professionalism” and to check other parts of the self at the door.

    I hope that I help you understand the concept of Wholeness and make it more concrete. You still probably puzzle about how to implement this concept into the existing organization’s culture. To be honest, the hardest part of creating an exponential growing team is implementing the concept of wholeness. Creating Wholeness culture in a newly forming team is much easier than installing wholeness in an existing culture. In this post, I’m trying to share what I’ve learned about injecting wholeness into an existing culture and change this existing culture from within.

    I will share my experience and I hope that other people will share their own experience, so we can all learn one from each other.

    Group Wholeness

    I’ve learned that although the two aspects (wholeness of a group, and individual) are going hand in hand, it’s easier to introduce the concept of wholeness of groups than the wholeness of individuals. I tried to change group wholeness several times, with little success. What I learned from those failures is that you need to break the current teams and departments that exist formally and informally into groups that have a mixture of needed people from the previous structure.

    The only successful way that I found was to use the overall company purpose as a common purpose. Once there is a common purpose for all people in an organization, the next step is to brainstorm what are the main functions that are needed to reach the common goal. The wholeness of a group can be created by creating hybrid groups. Hybrid groups are groups composed of people from expertise that were grouped in silos, but now working in one group based on company need, not expertise.

    Following this approach, you’ll end up with a new structure that is far away from the artificially created structures that mainly exist today (silos). This new structure has better logic, and if you involved your group, it has the buy-in. Yet, it still takes time, care and attention to make the new structure as the de-factor organization structure. This is not an easy task but is significantly easier than the individual’s wholeness.

    Individual Wholeness

    There is a simple method to implement individuals’ wholeness, but it takes more time, effort and people’s resistance. The best way that I found to implement personal wholeness is by pairing group members with opposite personalities, needs, and behaviors.

    Peering is not enough. Next, you need to make the two people understand that each of them behaves in a certain way because that is how they function and do their best work. Not because they hate the other person or try to be a negative person. In this long process where two people learn what motivates other personalities and how to appreciate and work with people with different or opposite personalities than their own.

    This process also slowly teaches people that they can and need to bring their whole personality into work. For example, it’s better to discuss tensions between group members, rather than let some professional entity do the work for you. This approach works for us, the only limitation is the time and resources needed to drive this change.

    In this post, I tried to share my experience and what is working for us. I’ll be happy to hear what is working for you. If you have questions, feel free to contact me in the comment section.

    Categories: AgileMarram

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