Holistic Decision Making as a Habit

November 2, 2014

At a recent beginning farmers trainers conference, one presenter asked the audience of about 50 BF trainers how many had heard of Holistic Management and 80% raised their hands. 40% use it and 15% teach it. This surprised me as I haven’t heard many farmers mention HM. During the three day period, I spoke to many extension agents and consultants, many of whom still farm part-time. When asked about their holistic goals or how they manage for financial success, many responses didn’t include a long term vision nor a solid monitoring plan. How can we teach others this process if we’re not walking the walk? This made me think of different techniques of changing behavior and forming habit that I picked up on the job at WeSpire. Using BJ Fogg’s behavior model as a guide, we can make three simple tweaks to the ability and trigger variables to increase the chance of a certain behavior occur (ie. creating a habit out of HM’s decision making process).

  • Keep goals up to date: our goals may change over time, so it’s important to keep them current if we are to use them as a foundation for making decisions that move us toward our long-term goals. We can increase the frequency of triggers by scheduling time to revisit and update the goals with the whole management team at least once every season.
  • Have decision making guide handy when making decisions: increase ability to access and use the decision making filters when it counts by having the filter spreadsheet (I’ve adapted this for our company use) handy via print outs or easily accessible on your computer. Google Docs is one option, so you can easily share it with coworkers.
  • Keep goals handy when making decisions: increase ability to access and refer to goals when making decisions by having them in front of you either on a print out or online on a Google Doc.

In the end, forming a new habit can be challenging. Have a monitoring plan in place to track progress and check out these additional tips on committing to a new behavior for the long term.

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