The enemy of the healthy organization is fragmentation. Fragmentation of the human / business system is simply the segmenting or disassembly of the system such that the system is forced to operate with pieces unconnected or missing.
Sometimes the fragments are hopelessly expected to perform as the entire system once did. Fragmentation stems from unawareness of interdependency and of system structure -- also from personal and collective misperceptions.
How often do you catch yourself thinking you have your arms around the whole issue, only to find that you have left out some very important aspects? And how often do you find another person in your organization thinking the same thing -- yet each of you turn out to have different, yet essential parts of the whole issue?
When the whole is put together, customers are better served, work becomes more satisfying, and the organization grows. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
We can learn how our current understandings and perceptions can ”trick” us into believing we have all the pieces of the puzzle on the table when instead we only have a portion of them. We need to have a clearer understanding of what the ”picture on the top of the puzzle box” looks like so we can be more certain we haven't ignored essential pieces.
It goes beyond finding all the pieces. A human / business system is more than a collection of pieces, it is a collection of pieces that interact with, and interdepend on, one another. Each piece functions and is understood only in context of the whole. We must practice anticipating and finding the larger picture in ways that maximize individual and organizational potential.
Many past organizational development programs -- such as TQ, Diversity, and Reengineering -- have met with limited success because the planners unconsciously ignored the larger system in their design.
Through whole-system processes involving multiple levels of skilled dialogue, we can create wholeness within our own minds, in the minds of others, within teams, and finally within the entire organization -- wholeness of values, purpose, knowledge, skill, and vision. Our organization will not only react instinctively, but will be able to create the future as well -- an organization of people that can think and act as one.