The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts


Finishing a WhatsApp message to a family member I smiled realizing the role I had taken up.

The best term is probably “troublemaker”. However, it’s a term that can easily be misunderstood. The kinder way to describe what I did, is to say that I made her think.

Making someone think is creating trouble. It is disturbing them as it asks them to revisit their comfort zone. It is questioning if the chosen path is the one that corresponds with their role and if it will help them achieve the change they are seeking to make. It is questioning if they are doing the right thing.

There is no question, that how we proceed plays a major role in being effective. It is also clear, that there is no gain in creating trouble without consideration of the other. And that isn’t the point.

What this is highlighting, is that however caring, kind, or generous we want to be with our interactions, we cannot avoid that they also create trouble. It’s true for the interactions that happen just as much as those that don’t happen. They all have an impact. One that we can’t master.

And maybe that’s ok. We don’t need to master the future, that is the impact our interactions have. It is sufficient to take part in the present and be attentive to what is happening.

What makes this important, is that when we are building communities within our organizations we are seeking to combine two approaches. One is the more instrumental approach which is there to produce results. The other is the humanistic approach that is there to create a place where we can live, grow and come together. To get both approaches together we have to realize how the value of humanism is to trouble us. Or how Gianpiero Petriglieri expands in his conversation with Simon Western, it is by becoming a more troubled person, that we experience more of life, relate with a broader range of people, and become more solid at all that life can throw at us.

It’s a friction that serves to reduce the excesses of either approach, that is humanistic and instrumental. It is also there to make us achieve things together and always come back to the relationship that belongs to being part of a community.

It means, that tolerance for friction or trouble is a part of harmony.

One that we may have to learn to deal with life as it appears.


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