The Model: Four Traditions
Our model for a healthy organization has been developed and refined over the past twenty years. Its roots come from our shared experience in four traditions of thought and practice—social currents that, we are sure, many of you have navigated in your personal and professional lives. These social currents are the exploration into the dynamics of complex systems, application of continuous quality improvement methodologies, the eastern spiritual practice of yoga and an appreciation of holistic systems of health and healing.
Underlying these seemingly disparate fields of systems thinking, quality improvement, yoga and holistic medicine are common themes that form the framework, principles and organizational development practices of Healthy Systems. All are based on wholeness and change, and provide dynamic, integrative solutions to the "problems" we encounter. Two relate to organizations, systems thinking and quality improvement, and have made profound shifts in the way we work and the way we view leadership. Peter Senge, John Sterman, Margaret Wheatley, Shigeo Shingo and Peter Drucker are a few of our heroes in these fields. Systems Thinking values the identification and understanding of the dynamics of our complex organizational systems, recognizing the predictable patterns of their behaviors, identifying levers for profound change, and the influence of a "balance" of stocks and flows on the vitality and sustainable of dynamic systems. Continuous Quality Improvement emphasizes process flow and process improvement to eliminate waste and add value, strategic planning to achieve and maintain focus, data collection and analysis to surface root cause, employee involvement for best solutions and customer service excellence.
The two others, yoga and holistic medicine, relate to individual health and have endured for centuries; recently rediscovered, they are transforming the quality of individual lives throughout the western world. Swami Chetanananda, Swami Rudrananda, The Dalai Llama, Nityananda Institute, Dr.Thomas Becker, The National College of Naturopathic Medicine and The Hahnemann Institute head our heroes list in these fields. Yoga is the practice of knowing oneself as part of Life. Yoga practice frees us from limiting patterns and tension so that we experience our wholeness—of body, mind, and spirit. It teaches self-mastery, inner focus, and balance using breath and enhanced energy flow. Different systems of holistic medicine such as homeopathy or acupuncture increase our understanding of what health is and how healing occurs.
Underlying these four systems are similarities that validate them all and lends a richer appreciation of each. Combined, we believe these four fields of thought and practice form a powerful vision for organization transformation and the ingredients of success in the profoundest sense of the word. The principles they espouse will significantly contribute to optimum health for us as individuals and for the organizations within which we work.