Many of you have probably heard of Allan Savory and Holistic Management. However it is almost impossible to find information online about HOW to actually apply Holistic Management, most people are forced to buy Allan's book. I am remedying that... I have written a step-by-step guide to writing your very own Holistic Goal which is almost as in-depth as the Holistic Management textbook, but much more accessible for the average person.
"“Holistic Management involves using a simple decision-making framework that ensures all significant management decisions are simultaneously economically, socially and environmentally sound both short and long term. No longer are decisions made toward objectives or goals alone, but always toward a new concept called the holistic context for any management situation. The holistic context provides the context for all objectives, goals or actions toward any vision or mission. This helps greatly in avoiding unintended consequences to our actions that are so universal that economists long ago used the term “Law of unintended consequences.””
The process works like this (in brief):
1. Figure out who your decision makers are, and make sure they are ALL involved in this process
2. Define your context, what you are managing.
3. Do some soul searching (I provide some quick, but effective, exercises for this part of the process)
4. Use the results of your soul searching to write yourself a personal mission statement (also called Quality Of Life Statement)
5. Based on that personal mission statement write a list of everything that must be produced in order to make the personal mission statement a reality.
6. Describe what the land, community, and people will need to be like far into the future in order to sustain the production described in step 5
7. Combine these things together to form your Holistic Goal
8. Start using it in real life.
Writing about regenerative agriculture is my full-time job. Check out my blog, sheldonfrith.com, it is packed with useful resources. And read my book "Letter To A Vegetarian Nation".
Again, not from a perspective of any real expertise in Holistic Management, I created my own worksheet that streamlined these guides and employed language that worked best for me. I'm pasting it below in case anybody wants it.
WRITING A HOLISTIC GOAL
A “holistic goal” is a three-part goal from a school of thought called Holistic Management. It describes:
1. Quality of Life: What we really want our lives to be.
2. Forms of Production: What we must commit to in order to produce the quality of life we want.
3. Resource Base: Our ideal farm / lifestyle – the future resource base the forms of production depend on.
• What are the three things that you really like about your life - right now?
• What three things about your life would you like to change, if you could?
• Name several talents or skills that you have and that you enjoy contributing to your work, family, friends and community
• What is the best part of your day?
Quality of Life
• What are the most important things in life?
• What do you need in your life in order to feel content or happy?
• What makes you feel really excited?
• Describe what it would look like for you to feel that you are thriving in each of the following areas.
– Family life:
– Career / Work:
Behaviors and Systems
Make sure to address each Quality of Life statement.
• What behaviors or systems do you need to put in place to have each of the things you’ve described above?
– The most important things:
– Family life:
– Career / Work:
• What don’t you have now, or what aren’t you doing now, that is preventing you from having the things that are most important to you?
Future Resource Base
Think about your current resources (skills, assets, networks, community, money, land).
This section is about how you want those environmental, social, and financial resources to be far into the future.
• How do we need to be in the future in order for our friends/customers/neighbors, etc to remain loyal and supportive of us?
• What does our surrounding community need to look like in the future in order for us to have the quality of life we’ve described?
• What does the landscape around us (forests, fields, watersheds, wildlife, etc) need to look like into the future to sustain the quality of life we’ve described?
• What do we want the land we manage to look like?
Matt Mill wrote:I am thinking about this process a lot at the moment.
Thanks Matt! This is exactly what I needed to ponder and write out today. I have some major life decisions that need figuring out and soon.
I can’t seem to find my recent copy of the book, What Color is Your Parachute? And the first few exercises I did before quitting my full-time job over a year ago. The exercises helped narrow down for me what I thought was most important to me versus what I really valued the most... and of course it helped with clarifying what my non-negotiables really were.