Frances Hesselbein on Integrated Wholeness

Frances Hesselbein is one of the most inspiring people I have ever had the honor of meeting. A small group of us ate lunch with her before she gave a keynote address at a leadership summit a few years ago. She talked about her interview to become the CEO of the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. and explained that she always considered herself a volunteer.

I feel that the following quote explains why Patty and I named our approach “wHolistic” Changeā„¢:

“Peter Drucker admonishes us to “Focus, focus, focus” (he never says it once). “Focus, focus, focus” drives us to pay attention to those few things, those critical initiatives, that determine relevance, viability, and success in the future–and this reverberating phrase walks around with many of us. Yet it does not negate the imperative of seeing the organization whole. Indeed, we can see the significant priorities clearly only when we see the organization complete and intact, embedded in the world at large. Only by seeing things whole can we understand and articulate to others why we focus on our few significant priorities. And only by seeing things in their entirety can we recognize when continued relevance and viability demand that we change our priorities.

When we see the organization whole and when our goals, objectives, and actions describe in a powerfully inclusive, embracing way the future we will bring alive, then all within the walls as well as those we serve beyond the walls and those future customers we will find, listen to, and serve will partner with us in our journey. All of this integrated wholeness–everything building upon everything else, flowing to and from in a circular movement–becomes a remarkable strategy for ensuring organizational relevance far into the future.” – Frances Hesselbein

It is by defining our success, considering and involving our stakeholders and customers in the change, and ensuring that we have provided all of the tools to make this change a positive transformation for ourselves and the world around us, that we will truly create a viable business not only now, but into the future.


About Michelle Smeby

Michelle Smeby is CEO of wHolistic Change, Inc. with more than 10 years of experience implementing enterprise solutions at Fortune 100 companies. Michelle specializes in helping corporations deliver transformational change.
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