In the Sunday edition of the NZZ of 26 June 2022, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who was Danish Prime Minister from 2001 – to 2009 and then Secretary General of Nato until 2014, describes having recently looked through his old notes. These notes are from 2008 and come from a meeting between Nato and Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin already made the statement at that time that Ukraine is not really an independent state, but an old Russian country. Similarly, he believed that Crimea was illegally awarded to Ukraine at a meeting of the Central Committee of Soviet Communists in 1954.

Rasmussen describes that he had done many things to bring Russia on board in Europe and that the strategic partnership between NATO and Russia had been one of his priorities from 2009.

The war is in no way justifiable. The political question is not whether one could have predicted the Ukraine conflict, questioned Rasmussen’s intentions or whether the West is complicit in the conflict.

It would be interesting to know how, after the talks with the Russian president, a multidimensional reflection work took place and worked with holistic approaches and sharpened one’s own values and identity.

Holistic approaches include the approach of interrelating the individual components of a system to understand how they work in the context of larger systems.

This is where Holistic Leadership comes in and proposes integrative perspectives in its approach. Contradictions or ruptures are identified as areas of tension and points of orientation are sought through a common understanding. These points of orientation may seem insignificant at the beginning, but they form the sustainable basis for finding common solutions and supporting decision-making competence.

Active listening and forward-looking questions help to connect perspectives and create a common understanding of perceptions in wholeness.

In the business context, it is about understanding one’s own company as a learning world and using collective knowledge through a developed self-management competence and relating this to the dominant world of thought.

The example of the Ukraine conflict can be taken further and in a business context this would be a threatening and challenging situation for the company. Something that is happening right now and needs a holistic view that develops viable and sustainable possibilities from the moment.

It is the creation of a connection with dimensions that go beyond one’s own limits and, in the best case, allow something new to emerge.

Mentoring programmes can support leaders in how to link “learning” and “action” in order not to find “The” solution, but that viable paths are taken in relation to dysfunctional conditions and that the conditions are created for movement in the desired direction.