MY APPROACH – Holistical and Integral Development


 

I work holistically and integrally. But what does integral mean? To put it short, integral means comprehensive. But this is not all. First of all it is important for you to know, that I have developed the content of my work on the basis of this kind of thinking. When I talk about organization development, I mean this in a holistic manner. Holistic or not at all – this is exactly my position.

I believe, that you can only fully and effectively develop things if you see them as a whole.

Holistically and integral means for me that I take all perspectives and don‘t prefer any of them, to make it possible to serve everyone. Within a scheme, everything will find its place. The different, integral perspectives – according to Ken Wilber¹ – can be divided into five categories: perspectives of quadrants, levels (or waves), lines, types and states. A familiar abbreviation is AQAL (All Quadrants, All Levels). Wilber developed his integral theory from the following hypothesis: “All theories in the world (Eastern and Western) are correct, but only partially”. (“True but partial”) He first published the resulting meta-theory, which shows how everything fits together, in 1995 in his book “Sex, Ecology, Spirituality”.

THE QUADRANT PERSPECTIVES

1. General use

Every human has an interior (subjective, experiencing) and an exterior (objective, visible, measurable) and is integrated into a system (e. g. social environment, family, organizations). Consequently, four different, equally important perspectives are formed, which can be structured in the form of a quadrant image. The quadrants form by subdividing the whole into external (right quadrants) and internal (left quadrants) as well as into individual (upper quadrants) and systemic (lower quadrants). In other words: on the left side, there are the subjective perspectives (I and WE) and on the right side the objective perspectives (IT and THEY). The world looks differently from any of those perspectives. But all are equally important. All things and events can be looked at through the quadrants (quadrivia view) Let‘s look at the example “car”: objectively speaking, IT (the car) has 4 wheels, an engine, etc. and is part of the traffic system (THEY); I believe my car is useful and comfortable, WE (at least a majority) in Europa also consider cars to be bad for the environment.


Ken Wilber’s quadrant perspectives: general use

 

2. Use for social structures/business

Now, if you use this model for social systems (for example a company), the upper quadrants show the “interior” and “exterior” of the individual elements of the system (e. g. employees) and the lower quadrants show the “interior” and “exterior” of the system as a whole (culture and functional structure). The diagram shows an example of the business aspect from the four quadrants‘ perspective. Most consulting and change approaches focus on one of the four quadrants, but neglect others, since all quadrants interact and grow together (so-called “tetra evolution”), they all have to be considered simultaneously.

 


Ken Wilber’s quadrant perspectives: focus on social structures (corporations)

 

Four business perspectives that have to be considered simultaneously

  • On the upper right, employees are viewed as individuals “from the exterior” (body, behavior neurology, number of men and women, measurable abilities, etc.) This is where the focus of HR development (recruiting, retention management, skill management, diversity management, etc.) and behavioral/knowledge training lies.
  • On the lower right, the functional and social system is highlighted, i.e. the structures, processes and other aspects in systems theory terms. This is where the “classic” organization development sets in.
  • On the upper left, the focus is on the “inner life” of the individual in the organization. It is all about the internal and individual aspects of consciousness. Coaching can generate more commitment and service attitude.
  • On the lower left, the interior area of the system (ethics, culture, common understanding, team spirit, etc.) is highlighted. It involves for example the development of vision and sense of unity as well asteam and organization development.

My work focuses on integral, holistic development and change. The 4 segments of my work are: Strategic organization development, development of culture and values, executive coaching and training and empowerment.

My understanding of strategic organization development:

Strategic company development and organization development respectively follow a holistic view and the coordination of internal and external development processes (e. g. mission – vision – strategy). Their entrepreneurial performance and success optimization have a lasting effect through a process oriented and consistent implementation and control (coaching, training).

What is it all about? (Examples for illustration purposes):

  • Development and implementation of guiding principles, strategies, action plans according to the entrepreneurial purpose, the vision and the mission.
  • Fusion of different perspectives, varying systems of thought and value with different levels of awareness into a profitable solution.
  • Connection of “hard” (economic) and “soft” (human) factors to achieve highly feasible measures with a practical orientation.

Questions you can ask yourself:

  • Do we have an entrepreneurial mission and vision as well as a strategy, to meet these goals?
  • How are decisions being made, how are they launched and how are they controlled?
  • Who should guide whom, how, and when to do what?

My understanding of development of culture and values:

The model of “Spiral Dynamics” offers a visualization to achieve a holistic development of values and awareness of individuals, teams and whole companies. Spiral Dynamics² demonstrates which values shape individuals, teams and companies, which values are important for them and how are these values perceived by others, for example customers. The thereby obtained knowledge is used to specifically select options and adjustment possibilities and implement them into processes.

Questions you can ask yourself:

  • Do we have a corporate culture? If we do, what does it consist of? How can we impart this knowledge on a sustained basis to our customer?
  • Which value systems are when, where and how active within our organization and what are their effects?
  • By whom (from the individual to the team) and how is which kind of entrepreneurial awareness lived and shaped?

My understanding of executive coaching:

Executive coaching is a consistent instrument for perception, creation, and acceleration of change processes and development. Executive coaching how I understand it has the goal of making the coach unnecessary. (Thus avoiding the organization becoming dependent on a coach!)

Who can profit from executive coaching?

Executive coaching is equally suitable for people who have to deal with professional as well as private change processes. Executive coaching is temporarily limited, systemic and goal-oriented.

Questions you can ask yourself:

  • How can I/we change permanently and self-sufficiently?
  • How can I develop solutions by myself in the future?
  • Which resources (tools) can I activate for the change process and how?

The principle that guides my coaching work: Executive Coaching should strive towards the goal of not needing a coach.

My understanding of training and empowerment:

Training and Empowerment describe the practicing of clearly structured measures in order to improve and maintain the entrepreneurially envisioned performance (behavior, skills). Approaches, tactics and competences are being practiced or extended, which are essential for entrepreneurial success.

Questions you can ask yourself:

  • How can I minimize resistance and conflicts in a flexible manner?
  • How can I stay authentic and competent when dealing with employees and customers?
  • Which skills and behavior do my employees need to be able to apply?

The following aspects have the highest priority in my work:

  • Holistic self-promotion and demands towards the individual as well as the organization.
  • Targeted support of relevant core competences of individuals, teams and organizations.
  • Development of jointly defined assignments according to the wishes and goals of the customer.

These key questions build the foundation of my work:

  • Who are you? (individual – organization)
  • Where do you come from? (history – background – career)
  • Where do you want to go? (development – change – solution)

My understanding of process-oriented implementation:

  • Definition of the core problem
  • Generation of freely selectable solution and implementation possibilities
  • Implementation (organization development, executive coaching, training and empowerment)

Organization development – Holistic or not at all.

Footnotes:

1) Ken Wilber: the “father” of the Integral Theory was born in Oklahoma City on 1/31/1949. His main focus is to fuse philosophy, science and religion, the experiences of mystics and meditation with modern research.

2) Spiral Dynamics is a registered trademark of National Values Center. This is the name under which the Spiral Dynamics Group has marketed a theory about the development of human problem solving concepts. The concept of this theory has been developed by Don Beck³ and Chris Cowan based on the theories of Clare W. Graves and have been introduced in 1996 in the book of the same name (published in German in 2007). Its original concept was geared towards an audience of managers, but became popular with different audiences as well, due to its comprehensive description of culture and psyche. Source: wikipedia.org

3) Bernhard Schweizer has been trained by Don Beck.