What is a "Holistic Company"?
A Holistic Company is our vision of a sustainably successful company. It combines purpose and profit-making with the primary objective to serve all human beings and creation as a whole – instead of the other way around.
Transforming into a Holistic Company is the fortunate result of a long and often crisis-ridden development process of a company, which will be outline here at a high-level:
The starting point of any independent company is its birth as a so-called “start-up“, which is led by its founders in an enthusiastic, purpose-oriented, but often also very directive manner. Like in childhood, improvisation in chaos as well as overwhelming optimism coupled with a pinch of naivety are the order of the day.
With increasing success and growth, this management style becomes more and more problematic – sooner or later, the company is restructured in terms of organization and becomes more formalized. Profit- and KPI-orientation increase and eventually become an end in themselves – often driven by investors and financiers.
Companies then increasingly “freeze” due to their self-created hierarchies, sets of rules and cultures, which make them inflexible and slow, especially as matrix organizations (“Machinery”). At the same time, exaggerated profit expectations and focus on quarterly results lead to increasingly short-term, opportunistic and also fearful action.
Sooner or later, new competitors or other external changes bring many companies into a crisis, as a result of which they often disappear from the market – either through takeover or bankrupcy. Kotter already pointed out that less than 30% of successful companies remain so in the long term.
The only “way out” of this (churn of) crisis is the consistent further development of the company to a higher state of maturity – which is, in the direction of being a Holistic Company.
This can be initiated through bold organizational changes that enable more participation, agility and self-organization in stuck internal machineries, as well as by moving away from shareholder- to a stakeholder-orientation that focuses equally on customers, employees, investors and society.
The prerequisite for this is a courages leadership team that shapes the fate of the company with a trustful and empathetic attitude and which consciously (and not superficially) places humanity and sustainability at the center of its actions.
The more the leadership team succeeds in leading authentically with heart and mind, shapig a culture of togetherness and connectedness, the more the company will turn into a successful Holistic Company. A Holistic Company corresponds to the highest level in all evolutionary development models and thus outperforms “classic” companies in all dimenensions by far.
“Companies either act based on the fear of the ego or the love of the soul.”
Richard Barrett, Chairman and Founder, Barrett Values Centre
For a detailed presentation, we refer to the book by Volkmar Koch “Holistic Company”. Vision of a company led with love.”, published by Europa Verlag, Munich, 2019.