Updated: Aug 31, 2018
What are the applications of this ancient wisdom ?
As for any piece of wisdom, its truth can be verified in multiple areas. This one is not an exception to that principle.
1. In Organisations
An organisation has to make sure that all its parts are not only functioning but that they are functioning together for the organisation to prosper.
Also, as part of the competition, market, industry and economy, an organisation needs to take into account the counterparts around it in order to navigate in the stream and not be left behind.
2. In Teams
The wisdom can be easily observed in teams. As soon as more than two people work together in a constructive way, the accomplishments will be beyond the sum of their individual work.
Hence in whichever team where results are not being produced, look for the part(s) that is/are impacting the whole. It can be a team member and/or lack of determination, ressources, direction, to name a few.
3. In Provision of Services
Any service provider who ignores the whole by focusing solely on a specific part is doomed to fail. It does not mean a service provider cannot be specialised in a specific area. Specialisation is an asset as long as it is taking into account the part it plays in the whole.
As soon as service providers focus on their specific part loosing track over the parts surrounding theirs, which keep moving, they might realise one fine day that their provided services are no longer relevant, no matter how detailed, cheap and/or trustworthy they are. Their relevance became obsolete when not considered as part of a whole.
This is particularly true at the moment with the rising of Artificial Intelligence and its impact on provision of services.
4. In Mediation
What brings parties to fight is the existence of differences between them.
More often than not, what will be key to a successful resolution of the conflict is the emergence of all existing differences between the parties, no matter how big or small they appear at first glance.
If the parties and the mediator focus solely on the obvious matters at hand without verifying if there are less apparent differences playing in the background of the existing tension, the mediation process is taking a risk to remain stuck :
either at the very start, due to the fact that the underlying difference has not been addressed and therefore the party/ies refuse(s) to willingly enter the mediation process,
or during the last segments of the mediation process where the resolution seems to be at reach but yet remains at bay.
It is important to bring up all the existing differences and address each of them such that the sum of these differences make room for the mediation process to take place.
5. In Coaching
Coaching is about uncovering the parts that remain unseen and non yet integrated, causing the whole to not be so great. This is particularly true for people who feel stuck in a specific situation or don't seem able to fully push through a direction.
Through the coaching process, the person will gain awareness on these hidden parts causing the stuckness or lack of direction. Once the unseen parts are uncovered to bring them from the subconscious level to the conscious level, the sum of all these updated conscious parts create a greater whole, meaning a clear, fully driven and determined person.
6. In Strategy
Strategy is a splendid playground to test out the deep truth of this wisdom.
No matter how brilliant it is, any strategy set up that does not take into account possible strategies used by other parts, is likely to fail. Strategy is like deciding which move to take on a chess board. One cannot have a perfect sequence in mind to win the game without considering the other part's moves.
Another application in strategy: studies show that often a lot of time and care is given in the setting up and in the planning of the execution. However once the masterplan prepared, it will still need the sum of all the executing hands, small and big, to make this strategy unfold into reality.
One should focus on the whole, which includes the planning and executing, rather than surrendering to the sense of biggest part of work done once the strategic plan is up.
7. In Individuals
We are individuals with many facets of personalities that will appear at different moments. Some of these facets may appear more often at work, while other traits will be given further space in personal life. Even within these different areas, there is still a constant movement of parts of us wanting to be expressed.
Sometimes we believe that by focusing on some major personality traits, easily accepted and acclaimed by us, our close ones and/or society, we will be recognised for who we are, we will feel appreciated and these traits will be all one needs to create success in life.
Yet, we are many.
It is only by seeing the presence of all parts in a given situation, that we can rally them through an internal negotiation around one goal. In case of successful negotiation with all parts agreeing to adhere, they will work together towards the accomplishment of that same goal.
Without such a process, the parts within us left behind will create defences, resistances, procrastination, covertness or any other form of subconscious sabotage to self and/or those around us. If we want to move forward with all our willpower, being and actions, it is by rallying all the sums of our parts; it is the best way to get there.
Above some applications of Aristotle's ancient wisdom, to come to the same simple conclusion:
It is when all the parts come together that the greatness of the whole can manifest.
Interesting to see that in each area described above, it will be about uncovering the missing to allow the whole to happen. It becomes about identifying the existing hole between the parts such that it can be added as an entitled part of the whole.
Carina Rogerio is the Managing Director and Founder of SeeAre. She became Partner and Head of the French Desk in an international law firm in less than 5 years, during which she got certified and accredited as Mediator and Executive Coach. Carina made it part of her professional journey to pass forward, encompass the thirst for lifelong learning and the thrill of challenging the existing for the pursuit of betterment in all that is. She is now an advocate of nourishing a curious mind.