The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts


Not too long ago I was coaching an impressive young man. He was very disciplined and focused. He had recently joined a company where he believed that he would be able to learn something useful for his future career.

Discipline, for him, was a matter of not giving up. That is, he would set himself for example an objective to go every day to the gym. On the less enjoyable days on which he found it hard to go to the gym, he would cope with his determination to never give up.

Whereas focus meant for him to do what he had set out to do for himself. His ambition was to one day establish his own company. What he was learning now, was there to allow that future. His discipline was helping him to keep up with the stuff he wasn’t enjoying and establish the skills he felt necessary.

While he was enjoying the working environment he remained focused on himself. His objective was what was important.

However, as we looked closer into it, what emerged was the distance he had towards his colleagues as well as the objectives of the company. He was committed to himself not the company, he was striving for independence.

In doing so, he realized that he had little understanding of what the company stood for or how his work was making their client’s life easier. He was leaving all the field of the value creation he was contributing to out of sight.

By focusing on discipline in the way he was doing it, he was focused on executing and building knowledge of how he could handle his work most efficiently. But he wasn’t seeing how his work served the people he was working for.

It kept his work at a technical and thus transactional level.

By looking into his contributions and learning what others get out of them he started to see how he could transform his work into one serving others in a much more focused way.

But it meant stepping away from his desire for independence and fear of dependence.





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