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Building a new and ethically sound, ecologic and social economy through the lens of holistic management



Saturday, May 9, 2 p.m. ET:

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Building a new and ethically sound, ecologic and social economy through the lens of holistic management

Holistic Management gives us foresight. It gives us the ability to pre-empt unwanted consequences and when it is put into practice on a big scale by governments and organisations, it will bring about the reverse knock-on effect of what we are experiencing around the world right now: we would all be united within a Global Holistic Context and would soon see our cultures, societies, economies and natural world begin to thrive.”--Sarah Savory, African Center for Holistic Management

We will discuss how our decision making becomes holistic when using the holistic management framework.

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The Holistic Management decision making process explained very simply!

When we develop context for a business or government we begin with a Statement Of Purpose for the Organization but I don’t need to go into detail about that for today. 
Before developing a holistic context, we must clearly establish and define what “whole” it is that is under management. When establishing the whole we must include:
  1. The people directly involved in management and making decisions, and if there are people who have veto power or who can in some way alter decisions, they should also be included in this part of the whole. 
  2. The resources available, the physical assets (ie: land, factory and machinery, office building, home, or whatever is relevant in your case) as well as people who can assist, influence or be influenced by the decisions you make (but won’t have the power to veto them – ie: clients/customers, suppliers, advisors, neighbours, family, friends, etc)
  3. The money on hand, or that can be generated.
Only big picture clarity is needed at this point so don’t get bogged down in detail. 

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In this case it will be easy because we are wanting to know how to develop a holistic context either as individuals (or for our families.)
Guidelines for Defining your Holistic Context:
Write it out and keep it to less than a page.
Don’t worry about getting it perfect right away – you will refine it over time. 
Don’t prioritise the ideas you express – it is a context in which nothing is more important than anything else.
Don’t include actions or any prejudice against a future action. 
Include what your are for, not what you are against.
Don’t refer to any problems, only what lies beyond them. 
A Holistic Context is a brief but deeply profound statement describing what kind of life you want to live in the whole you have defined, based on what you most value:
Quality of Life:
This part should express why you’re doing what you’re doing, what you are about and what you want to become. It is your collective sense of what is important, and why. Each person and situation will be unique but there are four areas to consider when thinking about this part of your context: economic well-being; relationships; challenge and growth; purpose and contribution. 
Future Resource Base:
In this part of your context you describe your future resource base as if it is to sustain the quality of life you desire. There are 2 elements to consider – the people you included in the resource base when defining your whole, and the land or environment – even if you did not make reference to it when defining your whole and even if you have no direct connection to the land. 
People: describe how we will have to be perceived for the people in your resource base to remain loyal, respectful or supportive – describe your behaviour. ie: honest, positive, reliable, caring, professional, etc. 
The Land: in the long-term, the well being of any individual, family, business, community or civilisation is dependent on the stability and productivity of the surrounding land. This includes soils, plants, forests, birds, insects, wildlife, lakes, streams, and oceans. Arising from almost every financial transaction there is an effect on the land that is experienced months, or even years later, and generally far removed from the site of the original transaction. 
By describing what the land around us will have to be like far into the future, we give the holistic context a much needed dimension. When we later check to ensure our decisions and actions are in context, we will always be reminded to consider the effects of those decisions on the environment. 
As soon as we have our Holistic Context, we take every single decision, action, goal, mission, desire, need, advice, etc, and before making the decision we first check that it will be leading us towards our Holistic Context. And if we are not sure about any decision, or can’t choose between a couple of decisions, there are 7 filtering context checks which help us to decide which one will be the better choice. 
Again, for the purposes of today I won’t go into detail about the context checks but I will list them for you to have a look at. Today we can just test to see if some of our basic daily decisions will be economically, socially/culturally and environmentally sound and in line with our context. There is also Holistic Financial Planning. 
When we are making bigger decisions or developing policy, another vital step in the framework is that once we’ve made a decision we automatically assume we are wrong and then monitor that decision by establishing the weakest link, or the point where the first sign of it being a wrong decision will show up – we learn about how to establish what the financial, social and ecological weak links will be. 
Testing Questions:
  1. Cause and effect: Does this action address the root cause of the problem, or merely a symptom?
  2. Sustainability: If you take this action, will it lead toward or away from the future resource base described in your holistic context?
  3. Weak link:
    • Social: If you take this action, will you encounter or create a blockage to progress?
    • Biological: Does this action address the weakest point in the life cycle of the organism you’re trying to control or promote?
    • Financial: Does this action strengthen the weakest link in the chain of production?
  1. Energy/money source & use
    • Is the energy or money to be used in this action derived from the most appropriate source in terms of your holistic context?
    • Will the way in which energy or money is to be used lead toward your holistic context?
  1. Society & culture:
    • How do you feel about this action now?
    • Will it lead to the quality of life you desire?
    • Will it adversely affect the lives of others?
  1. Marginal reaction: Is there another action that could provide greater return, in terms of your holistic context, for the time and money spent?
  2. Gross profit analysis: Which enterprise contributes more to covering the overheads of the business? (Use this test when comparing two or more enterprises.)
To get the best results, you must have a holistic context to test actions on. The context makes sure you consider the short and long term, the needs of other people and yourself, the health of your community and the landscape that supports it, plus the welfare of future generations. That’s a lot to keep in your head, but once you have a written context, it’s easy to do.
Once you’re familiar with the testing questions, you can test most decisions very quickly. 
An Example of what a Global Holistic Context might look like:
We want stable families, living peaceful lives in prosperity and physical security, while free to pursue our own spiritual or religious beliefs. We want access to nutritious food and clean water. We want to enjoy good education and health, living balanced lives, with time for family, friends, community and leisure for cultural and other pursuits. 
All this is to be ensured, for many generations to come, on a foundation of regenerating soils and biologically diverse communities on Earth’s land and in her rivers, lakes and oceans, which will be brought about by our having a positive attitude: being open, tolerant, non-judgmental, honest and respectful to all, ensuring mutual respect and support in ‘team humanity’ as we live with each other, and our environment, in harmony.
I hope this is clear and simple – please email me if there is anything you’d like made clearer? And if you have time, maybe you could try to jot the beginnings of your contexts down for later? I’m going to try to set up a white board in case I need to illustrate a few decisions and how they change immediately with a new holistic context! 
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