Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Sum is Far Greater Than Its Parts or a Different Picture Altogether

“Indeed, to some extent it has always been necessary and proper for man, in his thinking, to divide things up, as if we tried to deal with the whole of reality at once, we would be swamped. However when this mode of thought is applied more broadly to man's notion of himself and the whole world in which he lives, (i.e. in his world-view) then man ceases to regard the resultant divisions as merely useful or convenient and begins to see and experience himself and this world as actually constituted of separately existing fragments. What is needed is a relativistic theory, to give up altogether the notion that the world is constituted of basic objects or building blocks. Rather, one has to view the world in terms of universal flux of events and processes.” David Bohm

The contribution an individual can make in his/her life goes way beyond the bits and pieces of individual deeds and tasks. Lately I’ve come across this need for people to be able to reduce things or compartmentalize things in such a way that they can rationalize it or measure against it based on what they already know, not the depth and breadth of what they don’t or the infinite possibilities.

Let me give you a few examples….

In the government, in order to have someone in an area of expertise on call to be able to draw from their services when needed, there is generally a standing offer in place for the organization to utilize. When a service doesn’t ‘fit’ into any box they’ve categorized before, they begin to take the service apart. When I commented that if the description of the services is not articulated in the proper and specific way, what the organization will get will ultimately be a generic, watered down version of a service that nowhere near represents what they wanted in the first place. The response I got was “Other people will so some things similarly, so we will get some of what we want” or words to that effect.

Actually they won’t.

In another example, when someone wanted to take the training I do for the School of Shadow Coaching™ which teaches seasoned executive coaches this unique model of coaching, the person making the inquiry was so intent on being able to compare it to other means of coaching he had experienced in the past, that he didn’t look at the global impact or uniqueness and complexity of the training. He needed to have a rationale, understanding in comparison to what he already knew rather than looking to learn what he didn’t.

One cannot take apart a procedure, model, or concept into tiny bits and expect the same results. It’s just as much the putting together the pieces of various puzzles, perspectives, overlying concepts and key dynamics that takes what might be ordinary in its components and give you extraordinary results.

To bring an analogy to the table I know very well, years ago, when my son was born with partial paralysis, the treatment the specialist recommended was absolutely not acceptable and we looked elsewhere for answers. We had asked if surgery were possible and the answer was “No. It’s way too dangerous, never been done and it is not an option”. We could have taken that as gospel and not looked any further, signing the papers that would pretty much eliminate the problem (in the specialist’s mind) and redefine my son’s life or quality of life forever.

We found a surgeon doing research in this field who agreed to try surgery. When we went to our national health care insurance asking for funding for this, as the cost was thousands of dollars, what they did was try to compartmentalize it into what they already knew. So an exploratory was X amount of dollars, a nerve repair X amount and so on. The total came to a few hundred dollars as what they didn’t have fee charts to measure against, they ignored altogether. Did they take into consideration that microscopic surgery was being done on an infant, not an adult or that the nerve repair was just next to the spinal cord? No. It was generic. There was nothing about the day long procedure that fit any mold, however the outcome far exceeded the bits and pieces that the health insurance table described.

Shadow Coaching™ goes layers deeper than any conservative executive coaching and emerges the observer in the client themselves so results are ongoing, evolutionary and in many cases, life and career altering. It’s not the ‘what was’ of coaching. It’s the cutting edge of coaching.

So may I suggest to all of you who look to put things in boxes so they’re explainable and understandable within the realm of what you already see, know and have experienced in the past, that in order to grow and fly in life, you need to learn what you don’t already know, experience the unexpected, and forget measuring by the yardstick of what was, as there’s no ceiling to what can be; just sky. The sum can be far greater than its parts, or even another picture altogether.

Donna Karlin

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