Holistic Management as a Pioneering Movement

The Holistic Management framework, while it has been around for a while, is still an innovative approach that is pushing the frontier for managing resources and relationships in ways that are more in line with living systems. For those that are involved and tracking the uptake of the framework, there’s a sense that Holistic Management is more akin to a movement than anything else. It’s grassroots, where individuals can engage and contribute beyond their farm and their own life to something much, much larger for our planet.

But being ahead of generally accepted practices, leading activities like this tend to be heavily scrutinized and dismissed by onlookers. When people are making judgements about something new, they consciously or unconsciously run through a checklist of reasons to ignore or dismiss it. Understanding the dismissability factors can help those working with Holistic Management to see some of the limitations around people’s thinking about this approach and over time help you to more effectively engage them in conversations about the benefits of Holistic Management.

Dismissability Checklist to Holistic Management (ie. reasons people would dismiss)
Depending on the situation not all of these are necessarily at play but some of these would appear more often than others, some possibly not at all.

  1. Non-player. It is seen as outside of the mainstream and not relevant to the normal way of going about business.
  2. Exploitive Self-Interest. People see Holistic Management as being only about gaining money or power.
  3. Naïve Self-Interest. Holistic Management is seen as status seeking or trying to be better than other groups/individuals.
  4. Lack of Competence & Judgment. Holistic Management is seen as inexperienced, unrealistic or incompetent. Dismissed because it doesn’t have sufficient scientific/research results to prove the methods.
  5. Lack of Respect for Others. Holistic Management is seen as insensitive, arrogant or uncaring.
  6. Lack of Confidence. Holistic Management is seen as unsure, insecure and confused. Dismissed for example because practitioners new to Holistic Management find it difficult to explain it.
  7. Ideologue. Holistic Management is seen as a cult or radical.
  8. Hostile Agent. Holistic Management is seen as subversive or predatory. Dismissed because people see it as ‘trying to take over’.
  9. Personality Disorder: Holistic Management is seen as a compulsive non-conformist, crank, trouble maker, delusional.
  10. Unsure. Unsure but willing to further test the value and significance of Holistic Management. This is good, and much easier to work with.

So how do we combat this? Learning how to navigate the dismissability factors in a conversation takes practice but with time, you start to learn how to overcome each of the different factors in different ways.

One of the best communication methods we have that portrays the value of Holistic Management is our reputation and through people getting on with integrating the framework into their operations and their daily lives. Others will see the change and by actually demonstrating the value, much, much more is said while not saying anything at all.

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