In Australia the first company - Premier YouthWorks
embraces the ethics of Living Values as a Culture Change program.
Last November we held an introductory one day seminar, which resulted in a recommendation by staff that Premier Youth Works management adopt LIVING VALUES as their Culture at every level throughout the Company.
Looking at the wider potential of living values.....
In Australia the opportunity to bring Living Values to schools has been stifled due to bureaucratic and administrative difficulties. This has encouraged LVE Australia to take values awareness into the community.
Last year we introduced Living Values as a 'change in culture' – re-framing how management and a team see themselves and relate to one another and to the clients or customers that they are in business to serve.
The Living Values program requires courage to implement. It requires progressive thinking to embrace a complete turn around for organisations that have been founded and focused on volume, profitability and performance based ideology. Not withstanding this, one company Premier Youth Works, based in Newcastle and also Canberra, New South Wales who have established a business, caring for teenagers and young adults in 24hr supervised housing, decided to embrace the possibility. They recognised that to move to the next level of excellence they needed to change their approach to their ethics and all relationships.
They chose to embrace the Living Values Culture program at every level of the organisation extending, most importantly to their young people, they call 'clients'.
Meeting others needs...how can we serve you best
A proposal was put to the organisation following an audit undertaken with 18 staff interviewed in the two cities, focusing on how they might create change by implementing Living Values.
We offered a three stage program that would empower management and staff alike to embrace Living Values developing pro-active initiatives in the caring for young people and to improve day-to-day operational matters in a cohesive and effective manner, through respectfulness, integrity, personal responsibility and tolerance.
Following the audit, we held a customised LVE weekend workshop in which management, administrative and care givers participated. The Values activities were designed to meet both personal and company challenges and goals and showed how effective it is to have common communication at all levels generating improved working relationships and increased self-responsibility. In the process the group united to support the Living Values culture environment.
A Culture Change Team of four members drawn from all three levels of the organisation was established to supervise all 100 staff in the introduction to the Values. The Living Values Home Study program with activities based on the core 12 values provides a new 'corporate' value every two weeks. This value then becomes the theme for the working environment. Values signs appear at all work stations, as signatures in emails and in-house correspondence. All staff including management are required to send in at least one completed activity taken from the Home Study program with questions answered relative to the value of that period. The Change Team monitor results and keep everyone on track.
The owner of the company and administrative assistant both participated in the LVAYO workshop to gain an in-depth understanding of working with young people the Living Values way.
Our goal is to provide the organisation – Premier Youth Works with the support they need to become a Living Values “Site” in the next six months.
Living in our values, sharing respect and positive regard for one another in our working environment is more than just getting performance, it becomes a way of life. Without these qualities we have little chance of helping people and growing our world from hopelessness and isolation to peace, belonging and respectfulness. The Culture Change program has the potential to address all of this.
One final note: We are all short of funds for our Living Values programs. The Culture Change program will greatly increase employee work ethic, improve customer relations and naturally impact positively on profitability. Companies expect to pay for this service so if you are seeking to gain income to support your other activities consider this program.
Other Living Values Associates and Focal Points are invited to review the Culture Change program in depth online at www.livingvalues.com.au
LIVING VALUES AUSTRALIA
This report is offered to the ALIVE Board following the first year of activity for Living Values in Australia.
Australia is a vibrant young country: It has a constant stream of new migrants arriving from all over the world largely from Asian and European countries adding to the 22 million people already here. Australia is largely respectful of ethnic origins and diverse religions, and is proud of its “Can do. She’ll be right mate.” attitude and its people hold a fiercely independent, individual identity.
Living Values and the notion of living in values comes as a ‘bit of a surprise’ to the average Australian who has generally never given much thought to values or values education. Values have largely been taken for granted and been presumed to be intrinsically incorporated in the family spirit. Sometimes this is true but as the focus of western family life changes increasingly to a more materialistic basis, with young people becoming more technologically focused, independent and less community spirited, there is definitely a schism appearing in the fabric of society. Road rage, family dysfunction, alcohol and substance abuse, disrespect for authority and other’s another’s rights, rebellion in schools, truancy, poor work ethic, etc., all appear to be a growing trend.
People are questioning the loss of values without really understanding what they are. There is frequent mention of values in the media, and in general conversation, but the common theme is that ‘they’ are the ones at fault. Living Values Australia believes passionately that the biggest opportunity here is for the community as a whole to come to recognize the importance of values in their personal lives and the past year of activity has been focused largely on developing this opportunity, which this report will define.
Our primary observation is that everyone who encounters Living Values is very impressed and agrees how important it is and ….then immediately point out ‘it’s those people over there, who need these programs so badly’.
People in general do not consider they need to experience Living Values themselves and this begs us to ask the question “why?” Clearly the benefits are not immediately apparent and desirable.
Therefore we feel that the marketing of Values Awareness must be aimed at many levels to meet the entire spectrum of community. It’s a big job. When we start to think of LIVING VALUES as a product that requires selling we have to start asking ourselves questions. With any marketing exercise we first have to identify the TANGIBLE benefit of the ‘product’ to the ‘purchaser’ and we have yet to come to grips with the REAL benefits of living in Values, in order to share what people might expect if they are willing to get involved. Offering values to a captive audience of students does not require this, but if we want to engage the whole community we are in competition with all the demands on people’s lives and we will need to discover the basic requirements to capture people’s imagination.
From our personal experience and others who have been ‘touched’ by, or engaged the Living Values process, it appears that our life ‘shifts’ to another level as our awareness or consciousness engages the Values in daily life. There is undoubtedly a direct connection between the quality of personal experience in our relationships – intimate, family, work, financial, physical health etc., when our focus is governed by applying and living in the twelve key values. Life comes ‘at’ us differently, a better quality, more loving experience and we appear to receive ‘support’ for what we are engaged in – passionate about and things go ‘right’ for us.
We have yet to find the right way to convey this, or be willing to say it. It is not obvious in our marketing or promotional material. Yet this inherent benefit is the one commodity that almost everyone is seeking.
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
You must be the change you want to see in the world. ….Mahatma Gandhi
The world desperately is in need of Living Values. It seems wrong to ‘sit’ on something that has significant power to change attitudes and behavior for the want of a more proactive approach. If the emphasis of ALIVE is to move into the greater arena of its potential – beyond that of education, the Board might consider consulting a PR firm or professional marketing organization to review the nature of Living Values, to define how it can change lives of those who apply it and create new positioning statements that clearly demonstrate our potential to make a real difference in the world.
NATIONAL WEBSITE: (www.livingvalues.com.au)
Over the past year, LVA has used the national website as the primary vehicle - the shop window to carry the Living Values message to the Australian people. It is set up as a marketing tool to the public with all promotional activity directing people back to the website for upcoming workshops and activities, press releases, newsletters etc. and it is being continuously upgraded.
We are also utilizing it is as an important in-house resource and blog communication medium for our facilitators. As well as marketing tools and forms, the Facilitator Only Access section provides a growing library of successful activities that can be sourced by the facilitators and incorporated in any workshop.
In the last 12 months since we started as the Focal Point we have run almost monthly 2.5 day LVEP workshops for groups of 8 - 14 people with the result that we have now some 15 accredited facilitators in place or scheduled for TTT accreditation by November. Workshops, evening presentations, study group gatherings, are now available in Brisbane, Byron Bay, Toowoomba, Gold Coast, Melbourne.
We have attempted to bring more people to LVE through promoting the Home Study program which requires people to 'live in' each of the 12 values for a minimum of a week or longer at a time to fully integrate the dynamic of the Value. Unfortunately we are temporarily out of promotional funding for the Home Study Course but we have about twelve people currently participating, including some facilitators - recent testimonial received ...
I am loving the home study. I originally wanted to do one value per week but the fist value peace turned into a month and it looks like the others aren't going to be any different. It is such a valuable tool and so different to the workshop and absolutely necessary for a facilitator. I just love it because it really seems to permeate every single cell of your body with that value and so your awareness is so much more acute. Light and Love, Paula, Brisbane.
The Home Study Course is also being used as the curriculum for local community Study Groups. This is a new concept and the Home Study package provides a format that can be offered in any community without the need for a trained Values facilitator. We also recommend to the program to facilitators build their own experience with the Values to help them stay connected to the Values between other activities and if they offer it to a study group it provides a bridge into the local community and awareness of values.
Feedback has revealed that some of the activities are too difficult for younger family members and currently Carol Seymour NZ is preparing a separate page with two activities for each Value suitable for young children that will be inserted in the program to ensure that it will work for all ages.
The Home Study program is still in its infancy; as soon as we are confident that it can work effectively we will make it available to other national ALIVE members. It is promoted as a ‘downloadable’ program to minimize distribution costs and we are also offering a hard copy version on request to assist those with little computer experience. When we have the funding we plan to create an inexpensive bound paperback A4 book version.
As you are aware Australia is operating on a volunteer basis for schools and in other educational areas and we offer workshop scholarships for anyone who is financially challenged and demonstrates that they genuinely want to be of service and use LVEP in this context.
Because it is our desire is that LV awareness be embraced on a whole community basis much of our promotion has been aimed at creating interest from business, corporate groups, and public service type organizations that have a bigger reach. Where workshops and activities are organized and managed by the Focal Point we will remunerate any facilitators.
Australia is a big country with a scattered population and we can foresee difficulties in managing all the activities of individual facilitators in the future which could take up all our energy in an accounting and admin nightmare. Following discussions with our facilitators to simplify and encourage more personal initiatives we have offered that LVEP activities be carried with our approval by the facilitator in their local region allowing them to manage their own activities making a small donation to the national marketing contribution and submit reports on their activities as usual.
ALLIANCE WITH NEW ZEALAND:
We are blessed to have formed a strong alliance and receive support from Carol Seymour in our neighboring country and there are many opportunities for joint projects and exchange of ideas, which is how the Home Study Program was developed.
ANNUAL NATIONAL AGM:
Seeking to create and maintain a real family feeling we have chosen to hold an Annual week long Living Values Australia combination workshop, TTT and AGM each year to bring together our facilitators for a refresher, an update on the Focal Point activities and opportunity to give voice to their ideas and concerns. The first is scheduled to be held in November this year.
COMMUNITIES UNDER PRESSURE:
As a result of a town of some 50,000 people in NSW experiencing serious racial and ethnic difficulties we were invited to present a possible LVEP solution. We proposed offering to train local group leaders in the Values program and provide a series of custom designed workshops and activities that could then
be taken back to the community by their own representatives. This is currently under consideration.
This awoke us to the idea to create a Values Based Community (VBC) program that would invite a community into the concept of promoting “Living in Harmony” through Values based awareness. The program involves all sectors that comprise community living – the idea being that it would be supported by council, retail & commercial businesses that provide to the community and educational and welfare organizations, sports and recreational groups etc. All would be participants - taking membership in the Values program to provide education of Values awareness within their own organizations and extending the values concept to their customer/client base.
The Proposal can be offered to any town or community that is willing to consider developing Values Awareness for its people.
Conversations with local school principals and teachers have highlighted the problem of teachers experiencing work overload and there is complete resistance to anymore work or activities even if deemed beneficial to school life and student activity. Teachers reflect that while many parents believe that it is the school’s job to provide moral and values based support for their children in the 6-8 hours a day at school there is little support given to these aspects in the other 18 hours by the parents themselves at home.
The schools are overwhelmed by the weight of the education curriculum and values in schools while appreciated, are not deemed vital to the educational process. As a result we are currently exploring new avenues of reaching into the school system with a model that can demonstrate the ability to create change effectively and efficiently without negatively impacting on administration and faculty. Some schools here have adopted a Mentor concept whereby the student body elects certain students who display leadership skills.Working on the theme of - "change must come from within” – we have created the concept of
"Students Creating Change".
A proposal has been presented by the Minister of Education in Queensland for the creation of a training program as 'Junior' LVE Facilitators for senior high school students (15 -18) drawn from the ‘Mentors’ groups. These students with support from principals and teachers would undertake facilitator training then independently work with their fellow students in sharing values education and awareness, possibly using the Home Study program as a curriculum.We have applied for several grants to fund the model and if funding should become available before November we would put in place a selection program at several schools in different socio-economic areas around the Gold Coast and possibly Melbourne in Victoria.
Each school would have a team of twelve to support one another and be seen as a solid group with a new focus on life, readily visible for other students to gravitate to. Once we have teams in place and working effectively, we would be able to take our initial teams to other schools to address faculties and school assemblies to extend the program. Eventually we would like to be in a position where this entire school program could be run by graduate students employed fulltime by LVA.In the event that the Gold Coast VBC program is accepted "Students Creating Change" would be a major component.ASSOCIATE STATUS:
A stated goal of this Focal Point is to obtain Associate status within the next year. To this end we are now working with a nonprofit organization that is able to provide the legal ‘umbrella’ and is completely aligned with our purpose. This non-profit, recognized charity organization is currently supporting us with our grant applications for sponsorship funding.
In the last year we have personally discovered the benefits of Living Values and are passionate about the potential in Australia. We know that Living Values has a role to play in this country and defining that role and the parameters is our next step.
We have already explored many avenues and have uncovered many possibilities. We have come up with lots of ideas. We have presented proposals, some of which will bear fruit, others no doubt will morph into other applications. The key for us is to use the Values in our daily life and apply the principals to the focus of this organization.
We thank you and we are truly grateful for this opportunity and look forward to a fruitful year ahead.
Suzanne Stallard and Roger (Raj) Mlles,
Living Values Australia
May 2009 - Facilitators Raj Miles and Anna Aranci
The workshop was held on Saturday, 23rd May, Sat and Sunday, 3Oth and 31st May at Paradise Kids Foundation complex on Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.
This first Australian workshop was extremely successful in that all participants came to the awareness of the Values in themselves that were easily attained and recognized those that were hidden or appeared to be less prominent in their day to day lives.
It is apparent that while LIVING VALUES is structured and designed with the education of children in mind, that everyone, no matter what age can benefit from the awakening of the Values. There is also no doubt that these Values when applied in personal life, in families, in relationship, business or social circumstances that an IMMEDIATE change - a shift occurs. This shift is most noticeable in behavior patterns around respect for one another, in expressions of kindness, in the taking responsibility, in becoming honest and being willing to co-operate.
All components were met with full enthusiasm by participants several of whom were already working in the field of therapy and personal development. All indicated a desire to continue the workshops leading up to Train the Trainer - Facilitator status.
Raj found an overwhelming sense of love throughout the experience, opening doorways within him. He feels the LIVING VALUES to be like points of light that on connection to those inside illuminate a pathway clearing and cleansing of emotions and blockages from the past.
Anna noticed a palpable difference in the participants from the first Saturday to the second with the week in between having provided time for embodiment and awareness. Core values had been well established for their immersing into how to create a Values based atmosphere.
Both facilitators discovered a depth of vulnerability offered by participants which opened for a deeper level of healing to be available than the facilitators expected on the following two days.
In herself Anna noticed a great ease and joy with no hesitation or anxiety arising at the prospect of facilitating the Program, quite different from other activities and workshops she has facilitated in the past.
"We both noticed how beautiful and effortless it was to allow the structure of LIVING VALUES to cradle us all - facilitators and participants as we explored, rested, played and enquired into the Living Values program."