Do you ever feel like each business department within your company struggles to work together? Maybe each team operates smoothly and each project seems to make sense individually, but the entire company feels disjointed. It's like you're running several different businesses instead of one.
In contrast, you probably dream of the day when your company runs like a well-oiled machine in which everyone works together in a seamless workflow and all projects complement each other. This vision represents the idea of a holistic approach to business: every piece working together to complement the whole. And when you take a holistic view of your business, you can see exactly what parts are moving while also understanding why, how and when they move.
What Is a Holistic View of Business?
Cast aside any preconceived notions of the word holistic solely relating to alternative medicine. According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of holistic is "relating to complete systems". In other words, rather than breaking your business into parts or departments and analyzing each separately, you look at how the business operates as a whole.
You can develop a high-level holistic view of business by looking at how each department works together to allow the business to function. It's sometimes helpful to think in terms of a project's workflow. Where is the idea for the project conceived? Which departments put their stamp on the project and when?
This gives an essential picture of how each part of your business connects. You might even discover that one department in your company routinely plays a much smaller role in projects than others. It's up to you to decide whether that role is vital or extraneous. Does it help or hinder the overall process?
How Does a Holistic View Help Business?
Adopting a holistic approach to business helps you stay focused on what really matters: determining what's working and what's not. You'll clearly see how each part of your business influences the overall success of the company, allowing you to cast ineffective methods aside and to put more resources toward effective solutions.
If you're worried that a holistic approach will overwhelm you with too many variables and considerations, you should be happy to learn that the opposite is true. A holistic view actually frees you from distractions by helping you pinpoint weaknesses exactly where they occur. Rather than taking all the department heads to task for poor revenue, follow the problem to its root source(s) and fix it there.
What Is a Holistic Strategy?
A holistic business strategy is detailed and emphasizes the role each department or team plays in fulfilling the strategic objectives. For example, the sales department can't expect to close many deals if the marketing department isn't able to generate many leads through advertisements.
Focus on the workflow and how information will be cycled through key players in the company. For example, how will the sales department be informed of leads? And how will the marketing department be informed of insufficient leads?
Sometimes a project can be split up into different parts that run simultaneously, and it's important to know what's happening, when and why. For example, while the design team finalizes mock-ups, the marketing team can already work on researching the target audience in order to gear up for a campaign. Having a holistic strategy simply means you know exactly what parts of your business "machine" are moving and when.
Cathy Habas specializes in marketing, customer experiences, and behind-the-scenes management. Cathy has contributed to sites like Business and Finance, Business 2 Community, and Inside Small Business. She served as the managing editor for a small content marketing agency before continuing with her writing career.