A holistic approach to business practices: Is it the time to adopt this new strategy?
I was having a conversation with my friend at the restaurant the other day. She told me that she wants to become a licensed therapist and provide help and support to black women victims of sexual assault. She has this beautiful dream of opening the first Black Therapy center in Canada (hopefully, she will open one in Africa too!)
I loved her idea and asked her about her thoughts on Holistic approaches in general. She first said that the first word that comes to her mind is: Spiritual. I asked her, from her perspective, how we can integrate holistic approaches to business practices. We had a great discussion on understanding how a holistic approach has many benefits to the growth and expansion of businesses worldwide.
A holistic approach means looking at something as a whole interconnected entity, understanding the bigger picture, and not only thinking outside the box but also removing the box altogether.
The holistic approach to well-being has been around since the 4th Century BC, taught by Hippocrates, who encouraged people to look at themselves as a whole rather than just focusing on specific body parts or illnesses.
In comparison to the holistic approach to health, my friend explained that this view emphasizes the importance of the whole-body system rather than pieces and sections that are treated individually. This includes the connection of mind, body, and spirit.
Despite being a fresh concept, the approach is increasingly popular among small and large companies worldwide.
There are many benefits to companies using holistic approaches. It allows them to see which sections of the company are failing or are weaker than others. For example, when looking at departments individually, it may seem that the two departments are failing or falling behind. However, when looked at as a whole, it may appear that only one department is falling behind, impacting the next department.
Even though the approach looks at the company as a whole, this doesn’t necessarily mean companies merge departments; it simply means they align a company to see and analyze its overall aim.
This approach gives equal importance and an overall shared purpose to every department, ensuring a company is running to its full potential.
My friend and I were arguing that, similarly, a holistic approach to health is essential to address the leading cause of the problem rather than just the symptoms. It considers everything and encourages people to take charge of their health and well-being. This is why this approach can also apply to businesses with the same concept.
For example, companies such as Apple have successfully used a holistic approach when adapting their designs. Initially, Apple’s products showed little resemblance to each other because each department worked separately with its heads of innovation. By using a holistic approach, Apple looked at all their products as a whole and designed them to have an overall synthesis. This, in turn, powered their brand image. Customers now buy Apple products to own a piece of the brand and the product itself. Other big-name companies such as Heineken, Nike, and Nespresso have also taken on holistic approaches, which have resulted in substantial growth and exposure.
Companies adopt a holistic approach for different reasons. However, one overall goal is usually grown in a current local or international market or when expanding globally. Companies need to understand a market with a cultural context to pursue growth with the specific needs of the culture at the forefront of their expansion. Using the same marketing techniques and structure in each country won’t make every growth or development venture successful.
For example, to look into the financial sector of any African country, a company wouldn’t just want to look at banks but the financial environment as a whole. How do people use banks in relation to their location? Do they have access to banks directly? How do they save their money? How do they invest?
Understanding and implicating the cultural context of a specific market holistically ensures every aspect of a product or service is appropriately targeted, accessible, and desirable to the customers within it. This will help not only growth but also retention and conversion.
There is no such thing as knowing too much about a market. Developing holistic views on markets, businesses, companies, and products increase the likelihood of a country’s success and growth. The more a company knows about the country and cultures they’re in or expanding into, the better their global advances will be. The easier a product/service can access and consume in a country, the more trust customers will have in that company.
With the proven success of holistic approaches undertaken by big-brand companies, it’s clear why the approach is increasing in popularity and recognition, with more companies taking on this approach to get the most out of their expansion, growth, retention, and conversion ventures.