“Six boys, blind from birth, were washing the father’s elephant. The one who washed the tail concluded that the elephant resembled a rope. Another who washed his legs said that the elephant was similar to four columns. The third son pointed out: “You are both wrong. The elephant is similar to two fans that swing back and forth “. He had washed its ears. Another observed: “Not at all! The elephant is like a solid wall”. He had washed the sides of the animal. The fifth son, who had washed his fangs, was convinced that the elephant was a pair of bones. Finally, the last of the blind boys said: “I really have to tell you that you are all wrong. The elephant is like a big snake “. He had washed his trunk. The discussion of the boys continued animatedly, certainly as it was each to know the truth about the elephant. The father saw the children fighting and asked why. After explaining it to him, they asked for his judgment: “Who among us is right?” The father replied: “My dear children, you are all right and all are wrong. The elephant is similar not to one, but to all the various things you have described. You have not taken into account that each of them is only a part of the whole elephant ”. Sri Daya Mata, “Only Love”

The short story above helps me introduce an important concept every leader should take care of: the “systemic view”. This is one of the most strategic views every leader should enhance in order to succeed in the working environment and not only.

Sometimes people prefer being stuck in their own point of view, instead of putting themselves under discussion and looking for a wider picture. Those people are often resistant in joining others perspectives and in internalizing different knowledge dimensions too.

Due to these limits, they risk to have a restricted vision and, consequently, they can take wrong decisions. This is the reason why they are often evaluated as bad leaders. They are keener to push what they think, than understanding what the reality (and the best solution) is.

A systemic view is the view that all systems are composed of interrelated subsystems. A whole is not just the sum of the parts, but the system itself can be explained only as a totality. The systemic view is, then, the opposite of reductionism, that views the total as the sum of its individual parts. In the traditional organization theory, the subsystems have been studied separately, with a view to putting the parts together into a whole at some later point. The systemic view emphasizes that this is not possible and that the starting point has to be the total system.

I definitely agree with this approach, always starting from the “macro” and, then, arriving to the “micro”.

An effective systemic view transcends the perspectives of individuals, integrating them on a common ‘system’. The systemic view also gives primacy to the interrelationships, rather than to the elements of a system. New properties of the system emerge right from these dynamic interrelationships.

This is exactly what should happen in an organization and how leaders should take decisions on its growth.

Take care of your systemic view. It is a certain way of looking at yourself, at the environment you live in, at the systems that surround you and at those people and dimensions are part of, in terms of your interactions.

The systemic view is a way of thinking and acting. Practice it every day and it will help enhance your leadership and your career as well!

 

Enza Artino
Key Resources Development Senior Manager