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Holistic management testing questions

Have you ever overlooked something important when making a decision? The Holistic Management testing questions help you systematically consider the social, financial, and environmental aspects of decisions you make.

Use these questions to determine whether a proposed action takes you toward or away from your holistic goal.

Take a few seconds for each answer, then tally up the total. If one course of action passes considerably more tests than the alternatives, that's probably the one you want.

Sometimes you'll need to go ahead with an action that fails most of the tests. In this case you know there's a problem, and you can plan the better action you'll take when you can.

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 goal?
  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 goal?
    • Will the way in which energy or money is to be used lead toward your holistic goal?

  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 goal, 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 goal to test actions on. The goal 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 goal, it's easy to do.

Once you're familiar with the testing questions, you can test most decisions very quickly. Using the questions develops excellent habits of mind, and the decisions you make will work in the context of your whole life.

Copyright © 2004 by Joy Livingwell, some rights reserved.

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Posted 25 January 2002