In what ways might Permaculture Farming offer lessons for today’s Organizational Leaders? In the retreats we facilitate for YPO, EO and Executive Teams, we seek retreat destinations, where nature is the fuel for innovation. We found an Air B & B in the countryside outside of Silicon Valley, California, providing an ideal opportunity for a senior team to review how the 12 principles of Permaculture could help them identify areas of growth, impact and sustainability. (Yes, we have them feed the pigs with their leftovers after lunch and I have to say, they get permaculture principle 6: No Waste.
Here’s the 12 point Permaculture Playbook. How many principles are being addressed in your organizational strategy.
There are the 12 principles of permaculture as described by David Holmgren.
- Observe and Interact – “Beauty is in the mind of the beholder”
By taking the time to engage with nature we can design solutions that suit our particular situation.
- Catch and Store Energy – “Make hay while the sun shines”
By developing systems that collect resources when they are abundant, we can use them in times of need.
- Obtain a yield – “You can’t work on an empty stomach”
Ensure that you are getting truly useful rewards as part of the working you are doing.
- Apply Self Regulation and Accept Feedback – “The sins of the fathers are visited on the children of the seventh generation”
We need to discourage inappropriate activity to ensure that systems can continue to function well. Negative feedback is often slow to emerge.
- Use and Value Renewable Resources and Services – “Let nature take its course”
Make the best use of nature’s abundance to reduce our consumptive behavior and dependence on non-renewable resources.
- Produce No Waste – “Waste not, want not” or “A stitch in time saves nine”
By valuing and making use of all the resources that are available to us, nothing goes to waste.
- Design From Patterns to Details – “Can’t see the forest for the trees”
By stepping back, we can observe patterns in nature and society. These can form the backbone of our designs, with the details filled in as we go.
- Integrate Rather Than Segregate – “Many hands make light work”
By putting the right things in the right place, relationships develop between those things and they work together to support each other.
- Use Small and Slow Solutions – “Slow and steady wins the race” or “The bigger they are, the harder they fall”
Small and slow systems are easier to maintain than big ones, making better use of local resources and produce more sustainable outcomes.
- Use and Value Diversity – “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”
Diversity reduces vulnerability to a variety of threats and takes advantage of the unique nature of the environment in which it resides.
- Use Edges and Value the Marginal – “Don’t think you are on the right track just because it’s a well-beaten path”
The interface between things is where the most interesting events take place. These are often the most valuable, diverse and productive elements in the system.
- Creatively Use and Respond to Change – “Vision is not seeing things as they are but as they will be”
We can have a positive impact on inevitable change by carefully observing and then intervening at the right time.
Blog References: David Holmgren is best known as the co-originator with Bill Mollison of the permaculture concept following the publication of Permaculture One in 1978. His passion about the philosophical and conceptual foundations for sustainability which are highlighted in his book, Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability
Rosemary Rein, is the Author of Go Wild! Survival Skills for Business and Life and a Global Keynote Speaker and Facilitator on Leadership and Innovation. Rosemary facilitates retreats and forums for Executive Teams including the Young President’s Organization and Entrepreneur’s Organization. Plan your Leadership Retreat connected to Permaculture.
Visit Rosemaryrein.com firstname.lastname@example.org (239) 910-3354