Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Towards Integrative Life Planning: Finding work that needs doing - Part 2 of 8

Our previous article introduced Integrative life planning as a model we can use to integrate all the conflicting roles, values and duties of life. Integrative Life Planning (ILP) with its characteristic six critical tasks were briefly mentioned. 

In the this  article, we will be looking at the first of the six critical tasks of ILP: Finding work that needs doing in a global context  

We would also like to challenge you to participate in an activity, which should help you understand the current critical task more clearly.

Big Picture Perspective

In terms of the ILP approach, we are challenged to adopt a big picture perspective, which implies a shift in emphasis away from ourselves to the advantage of our community and bigger society.  

As soon as we apply this perspective to the world of work, we will be facing numerous challenges, characteristic of the global arena within which we function. 

Getting to understand this first critical task will culminate in an understanding of the external context within which our personal and career development takes place. When turning to professionals for assistance in this regard, it is commonplace to find an emphasis on the challenges and issues facing individuals. 

The principles underpinning ILP, however, suggest that an understanding of the external environment is perhaps equally important in the context of personal development. 

As was mentioned in the previous article, the principles of ILP can be represented by a quilt metaphor. The reason for this lies in the manner in which it is constructed: individual pieces are fitted together to form a meaningful whole. 

When applying this metaphor to the principles of ILP, an explication of this first critical task is essential when trying to understand the framework within which personal and career development will take place. 

Modern Macro Context of the Business world 

Based on the work of futurists, demographers, social scientists, management consultants, educators and professionals in other fields, the following macro issues have been identified:
  • Utilizing technology constructively
  • Preserving the environment
  • Understanding work and workplace changes
  • Reducing violence
  • Advocating for human rights
  • Accepting changing gender roles
  • Valuing human diversity
  • Finding spirituality and purpose
  • Discovering new ways of knowing
As was alluded to before, the underlying purpose of the current task is to assist people engaged in career planning to think about the larger context of their life, and the global framework underpinning their career and life development. 

This simply means that the needs identified in the list above, are a representation of many of the issues faced by people around the globe. 

In terms of the process of life planning represented by the ILP approach, individuals should be challenged to identify their own personal challenges in addition to the above list. The outcome of this process should culminate in an improved understanding of the big picture, within which personal and career development takes place.

The phrase “Think Globally; Act Locally” is another way to describe the underlying motive of this critical task: thinking about global challenges should be used to gain an improved understanding of where we as individuals fit into this bigger scheme and determining what our contribution to this can be.

To translate the above into practice, take some time to think about the phrase “Think Globally; Act Locally” and identify two large global and two large local issues requiring attention.

Look at the above-listed macro issues and translate the ones of your choice into specific tasks to be accomplished on both levels. To get the most out of this exercise, it is strongly suggested to discuss this with at least one other individual.

In our next article, we will unpack the second critical task of ILP (Part 3 of 6): Weaving our lives into a meaningful whole.

This article was written by Hennie Scheepers and is used with his permission.  Hennie Scheepers obtained his doctorate at the University of Johannesburg and works as a Research, Career Development and Coaching Consultant.

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