Saturday, 29 October 2011

If I don't have any values in one or more of the clusters does it matter? Is there something wrong?

To take an actual example, the person below on receiving their Values Map asks, "I have no values in the security cluster. Does this mean I am insecure?"
VMAP Example - No Priority Placed on Security Values
The reverse is true. The Values Map is a chart of value priorities. If you don't place a priority on a particular values such as security, that simply means you don't have the need to. If on the other hand you were feeling very insecure for some reason, then security would be playing on your mind and you would choose security as a priority.
Another common question is, "I've looked through all my AVI Reports and there's no self-worth. Does this mean I have no self-worth?" Once again, the reverse is actually true. If self-worth issues were playing on your mind you would choose statements related to it when completing the AVI. When matters of self-worth are not playing on your mind, you will choose statements related to other values with the result that self-worth, along with many other values, will appear with a priority of zero on all AVI Reports.
This brings out an important aspect of the AVI and its reports. The AVI is designed to elicit priority values from our unconscious. There is a difference between a value being important to us and a value currently being a priority in our life. For example, returning to security. The person who asked the question about their zero score on security probably considered security as something that is very important value in people's lives, it just isn't currently a priority in their life. So it is with all values, we can believe a value to be important in people's lives, however, if it is not currently important in your life it will not show up in your AVI Reports.
Many values will be important in your life, only some will be a priority--the AVI is designed to identify those which are currently a priority.

Friday, 28 October 2011

What is Brain-Preference? How does it impact on our Values and Communication Styles?

Unconsciously, the processes people use to make decisions and to communicate with the world around them, are selected so as to reinforce their identity. A significant part of people's identity is shaped by deep preferences which arise from the way our sensory [S], feeling [F], thinking [T] and intuitive [N] modalities are "wired" in our "firmware". These deep preferences are termed Brain-Preferences.
Figure 1.
Levels of Choice
Using a computer metaphor of the brain (Figure 1) there are essentually three levels of flexibility/plasticity. At the base level is the hardware--the brain we are "stuck" with. This level people, such as William Glasser, argue is the source of our basic needs: fun, love, freedom and the need to feel in control of our life. These needs are common to all humanity--they are hardwired into us.
All computers have essentially the same hardware. The difference between how computers and people operate comes from the "wiring" at the firmware level. For example, what makes an Apple computer different from a PC, or an iPhone different to a Nokia is the basic operating system programmed into the firmware--this programming can be changed but not easily and normally is only changed in minor ways to provide necessary upgrades or to fix issues. Firmware wiring creates basic "personality" differences--an Apple is more intuitive and graphically oriented than is a PC which is more "left-brained" rational. With people the firmware determines whether a person has a preference for people or things and whether they have a preference for dealing with concrete or abstract realities.

Figure 2.
The wiring of our Sensate, FeelingIntuitive
and Thinking circuits, results in us having a
preference for relating to People or Things
and a preference for dealing with
Concrete or Abstract realities.
At the software level reside applications (APPS). Both PC and Apple computers can run sumilar APPS but the firmware determines which computer type is best suited for which APP. In people, it's our worldview which resides at the software level. Our firmware determines how we create this worldview. A person whose firmware predisposes them to talk and listen to people in a detailed concrete way will obviously create a different view of the world as compared to a person whose firmware predisposes them to them to dialoguing with the world via "tinkering" with things and formulating abstract models of how things work.
Figure 3 has more detail about the nature of a person's preferred mode of dialogue with the world around them depending on their brain-preference.
Figure 3.
Modes of dialogue for each
There are four main types of brain-preference:
  • Technical Architect [Things-Abstract]. These are people who have a preference for using their hands to "tinker" with or to create things and who use their intellect to develop models or plans. They rely mostly on understanding the world through thinking and intellectual analysis. Their style of Decision Making favors rational analysis. Since they prefer to gather information visually, they communicate best through illustrations and graphic representations.
         Technical Architects seek careers as planners, software developers, composers, architects, etc. They are more likely to be corporatists or independents who see political parties as a hindrance to them following their passion. 
         Technical Architects will often create or deploy new technologies. Those who have this brain-preference are often perceived as Visionary Leaders if the technology they have created is widely adopted. In a sense, this can make them accidental leaders because their passion is the technology, rather than the leadership. 
  • Quality Producer/Crafts Person [Things-Concrete]. These are "hands on", sensate people who like certainty and desire activities/organizations to be well structured. They prefer things that are down-to-earth, rather than abstract and intangible. They prefer having or creating a manual for how things are done. They are uncomfortable around people who seem erratic or chaotic in the way they do things. Their Decision Making Style tends to be prudent and conservative, based on carefully gathering detailed information. Their Communication Style focuses on careful documentation of details and linear, sequential processes.
         Quality Produces gravitate towards careers such as athletes, mechanics, surgeons, gardeners, accountants, farmers, etc. They are most likely to support a political party which puts balancing the budget ahead of social welfare.
            Quality Producers can be excellent Transactional Leaders.
  • People Servants [People-Concrete]. Similar to Quality Producers, People Servants like structure and a degree of certainty. However, they strongly prefer spending time with and talking to people, rather than relating to the world of things. They prefer to communicate via intimate, feeling based language and dialogue and are usually good listeners. People Servants strongly favor a style of Decision Making that considers people’s feelings and preserves relationships.
         People Servants often choose careers as school teachers, coaches, therapists, healthcare and human resource professionals, actors, value consultants, etc. They are more likely to support a political party which puts caring for people ahead of balancing the budget.
         People Servants can be great Facilitative Leaders. In that role they can facilitate the difficult dialogues and mediate conflicts that frequently emerge between the Visionary Leaders and Transactional Leaders in organizations.
  • Social Architects [People-Abstract]. Social Architects, like People Servants, prefer the world of people to the world of things. However, unlike People Servants they tend to work with theories & models to explain people’s motivations and behaviors. Social Architects are comfortable functioning in a world of uncertainty--in fact it's their preference--too much predictability and they get bored. They favor both intuition and intellectual analysis. Because of the influence of intuition, the Social Architect's Decision Making Style tends to be variable: at times deliberatively bold and assertive; at other times perceived as somewhat impulsive. They favor communicating verbally through metaphor, models, “big-picture” visionary images and “fuzzy logic.”
        Social Architects are often society’s "greens", deep ecologists, social-activists, social scientists, social policy planners, organizational consultants, writers, etc.
         They are potential Visionary Leaders in societal and organizational transformation. To be effective, Visionary Leaders, like Facilitative Leaders, understand that the key to change is first gaining genuine rapport with people.
Figure 4.
Example of three people mapped
onto the brain-preference chart
Because 40 of the 128 values are correlated to brain-preference, we are able to map people on a brain-preference chart as shown in Figure 4. As you can see from the legend, person 3 on the chart is me which indicates that I have a strong preference for the abstract and a slight preference for people over things. Person 2 is similar to myself, however, is virtually indifferent as to whether they prefer working with people or things. Person 1 has no strong preference--we usually find people who lack preferences are in a state of transition in their life--in some senses they are in a process of breaking free from the "shackles" of their past and becoming their own person.

"Rather than aim for living a balanced life, live a prioritised life." - Michael Henderson

See also: "Scientists Are Beginning to Figure Out Why Conservatives Are…Conservative"

Thursday, 27 October 2011

How is a Repertory Grid used to Concretize Values?

The Repertory Grid method is part of a widely used set of techniques for studying personal and interpersonal systems of meaning. Repertory grids have been used in thousands of studies of a broad variety of topics, ranging from children’s understandings of physical science principles and consumer preferences, to formal structures of self-reflection within cognitive science and the mutual validation of belief systems between friends.
The technique was initially designed by George Kelly, author of personal construct psychology (PCP), as a means of assessing the content of an individual’s repertory of role constructs—the unique system of interconnected meanings that define his or her perceived relationships to others. In its simplest form, it requires the respondent to compare and contrast successive sets of three significant people (e.g., my mother, my father, and myself), and formulate some important way in which two of the figures are alike, and different from the third. For example, if prompted with the above triad, a person might respond, “Well, my mother and I are very trusting of people, whereas my dad is always suspicious of their motives.” This basic dimension, trusting of people vs. suspicious of their motives, would then be considered one of the significant themes or constructs that the person uses to organize, interpret, and approach the social world, and to define his or her role in it [more...].
A an example blank Repertory Grid for eliciting constructs around values is shown below. Click here to download a blank grid in PDF format.
Example of Repertory Grid Form
  1. Take a Grid Sheet for each of the values you have selected.
  2. Write its name and descriptor into the space provided.
  3. Then think of four people, two who live this value well (put their initials in the space provided above 'good'), two who don't live that value well (put their initials in the space provided above 'poor'). Put your initials in the space above 'me'. The remaining column marked 'ideal' is for reflecting about a person living that value to perfection.
  4. Now take three people at a time (say one good and two poor, then me plus two good, then ideal plus one good and one poor, etc). As you take each set of three in turn, think of what two of them have in common in terms of living that value and how the other person lives that value differently from the other two. Mark 'o' under the two that have something in common and 'x' under the person who is different. In the left column under constructs, write what the two have in common. In the right column under constructs, write how the one person is different. Repeat this step until all possible combinations of three are exhausted (you will need more than one sheet per value) and you have done this for all the values you selected.
  5. When completed, transcribe the construct pairs elicited for all sets of three people for each value onto a separate sheet.
Some sample construct pairs are shown below:
Sample Construct Pairs for the Value: Truth/Wisdom/Integrated Insight

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

How can we use values to formulate long-term business strategy?

The CRD Model of Values
Yet another values lens through which organisation can be viewed is the CRD Values Model where C = Control Values, R = Relational Values, D = Development Values. This model is useful in formulating long term business strategy. In a nutshell: if the control values are the highest priority for the group, strategy should focus delivering excellent business systems; if the priority is greatest for the set of relational values, business strategy should focus on customer relationships; if the developmental values set are the highest priority, strategy should focus on developing leading-edge products and/or services:

Values Set Strategic Focus
Control Values
Relational Values
Developmental Values
Operational Excellence
Customer Collaboration
Innovation, Product &/or Service Leadership
  • Control Values are necessary to maintain and bring together various organisational sub-systems. They include values relating to efficiency, discipline, and performance standards. These values guide such activities as planning, quality assurance, accounting and re-engineering. Examples of Control values include: Efficiency/Planning, Control/Order/Discipline, Law/Rule, Management, Rationality and Financial Security.
  • Relational Values guide people’s behaviour in a group setting. These values are based on beliefs about how people should conduct themselves in public, at work and in relationships. Examples of Relational Values are Honesty, Congruence, Respect and Loyalty. Relational Values influence how people behave and relate to each other when living their Control and Developmental Values.
  • Developmental Values are essential to create new opportunities for growth. They are values related to creativity, growth, knowledge expansion and innovation. Examples of Developmental Values include Creativity, Self-Actualization, and Growth/Expansion
In relation to leadership styles, the natural style for people whose dominant values are Control Values, is Transactional. For people whose Developmental Values are dominant, their natural style is Visionary. It follows that people who prefer to put most of their energy into the Relational Values will have a Facilitative style.

The interaction between the Control, Relational and Developmental sets of values has a strong influence on the nature of group and organisational culture:
Interaction Between CRD Values Shapes Culture
Values based strategic planning is grounded in the knowledge that there is a close connection between the successful execution of organisational strategy and the actual values of people charged with its execution.

The Control, Relational & Developmental values sets, when employed in strategic planning, underpin three related types of strategic focus, which, while not mutually exclusive, require very different skills.

We have developed a CRD Profile which enables groups to identify their dominant set of CRD Values. This information enables them to formulate long-term group strategy in a way that is congruent with their values and therefore have the best chance of successful execution.

Below is an example of a Group CRD Profile:

Group CRD Profile

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

What is Values Alignment?

The leader's job today, in 21st-century terms, is not about gaining followership. Followership is an outmoded notion. Leadership starts with gaining alignment with the mission and values of the organisation: What are we about? What do we believe as a group? At Medtronic, we aligned around the idea of "alleviating pain, restoring health, and extending life." It was clear that anyone who didn't buy into that could work somewhere else. [Bill George]
Values alignment is an emergent property in organisations that have a critical mass of people with a common language of values and clarity about how their personal values, personal vision/mission and goals align with the desired values, mission/vision and goals of the organisation.
The following diagram illustrates four possible alignment scenarios of its people's values with those of the organisation:
Values Alignment (Source: Paula McHenry)

  • Position #1: Low personal job satisfaction/low job performance. An employee at position 1 is attaining very little personal satisfaction from working in the organisation. Similarly, the organisation perceives the person as under performing.
  • Position #2: Low personal job satisfaction/high job performance. An employee at position 2 is perceived by the organisation to be a high achiever. However the individual is receiving little personal satisfaction from working in the organisation.
  • Position #3: High personal job satisfaction/low job performance. The organisation perceives the employee as under-performing. However, the employee is getting what they want from the organisation. This is an awkward and untenable situation from the organisation’s
  • Position #4: High personal job satisfaction/high job performance. An employee at position 4 is in an optimal position. Their personal values are highly aligned with the organisation’s values, and they are perceived as a high achiever.
Obviously position #4 is the optimal scenario from the individual employee as well as the organisation’s perspective. The key to this position is for both the individual and the organisation to have clarity about their values, a well-defined sense of vision/mission and a set of meaningful objectives. A free survey is available at for you to explore values alignment within your own organisation.
Creating Values Alignment
The Optimal Performance Model, illustrated below, provides a useful framework for conducting an organisational wide values program for the purpose of setting the right conditions for values alignment to be an emergent property of the organisation.
Optimal Performance Model (Adapted from: Smith, P. & Saint-Onge, H. 1996
Each person and each group in the organisation must give attention to:
  • Concretization. Concretizing their top 10 priority values (using techniques such as: asking VAK questions about each value, concept mapping, and/or Repertory Grid).
    "Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate." - Carl Jung
  • Purpose. Having regard any published organisational values, formulate personal and group values, vision and mission statements. Make statements which are uplifting and motivating.
    "Where there is no vision, the people perish." - Proverbs 29:18
  • Will. Each person reflects on their foundation and vision values, and brain-preference. Vision values motivate so, "Will this organisation enable you to be passionate about and motivated by your vision values?" Foundation values can demotivate if they are not satisfied so, "Do you have strategies and skills in place that turn these values into a solid foundation rather than an achilles heel?" "In this organisation/group, are you able to focus mainly on tasks which match your work-mode brain-preferences and priority values?"
    "How do your top 10 values compare to your group/organisation's top 10 values?" "What common ground do you see?" "If your values are markedly different to the group/organisation's values, can you see a way you could happily live your own values whilst at the same contributing to the group/organisation's values?"
    "How does the group energy management profile compare with your personal profile?"
  • Capability. "Do all in our group have the skills, resources and abilities to live our values in our workplace?" SQ = Spiritual Intelligence, EQ = Emotional Intelligence and IQ = intelectual intelligence, "Do we have the knowledge to develop these intelligences within our group?"
    The group skills profile indicates the skills needs of your group based on the values you all have. "What are the implications of this profile for your group?"
The above program works, and it works very well, because it creates a strong values system (strange attractor) within the organisation based on its people's actual values--self-organisation does the rest. If you are unfamiliar with how self organisation works, the two videos below (the first pertains to childhood education, however, the principles are universal) give a good overview:

Monday, 24 October 2011

Values Systems are the Strange Attractor in all Living Entities. What does this mean?

A strange attractor creates a certain form of order within any complex non-linear system be it the weather, a bushfire, society, an organisation, a team or an individual person. For living entities, their values-system is their strange attractor.

Why use the term strange-attractor instead of simply referring to values as attractors? The terminology comes from the study of complex systems which exhibit "order within chaos". Researchers discovered that certain entities behaved in strange ways yet their behaviours were obviously being influenced by a strong attraction to something. Attractors which led to entities behaving in strange and not entirely predictable ways became known as strange attractors. Attractors which lead to predictable behaviours were termed ordinary-attractors. Gravity is an example of an ordinary attractor. With ordinary attractors such as gravity, one can mathematically compute exactly what will happen in the future. For example, if a person drops a ball from one metre height, it can be calculated precisely when that ball will land.

If understanding a strange attractor cannot be used for predictions, what use is it? While they are no use in predicting the specific behaviour of any entity, they do enable us to ask what-if questions. For example, understanding the strange attractor that governs the behaviour of bushfires is of no value to on-ground fire fighting, however, it does enable us to answer such questions as: What if there is a sudden wind change? Would a fire-break along a particular ridge be adequate? Would off-season burning reduce the risk to people's property in the dry season? In other words, when an entity's behaviour (motion, actions, path, etc.) is governed by a strange attractor, one cannot predict specifically what will happen in the future, however, one can predict the general form or nature of what will unfold.

Having an understanding of a person's values-system (strange attractor), enables us to understand/predict the general nature/pattern of their behaviours. For example, a person with priority values of achievement, competition, work, financial success, etc. will be attracted by these values to behave in a completely different way to someone who has priority values of expressiveness/freedom, play, intimacy, search/meaning, service, equity/rights. Clearly in both these examples you cannot know what each person will do moment to moment, however, you will know with a fair degree of certainty the general nature of what they will and won't be doing as their life unfolds. For each person, the values-system (in it's role as a strange attractor) gives order to their life--it creates their identity/personality. So too it is with teams, organisations, etc.--their values-system (strange attractor) creates their culture.

An general nature of a person's values-system can be explored through categorising values into Control, Relational & Developmental Values. As described in your Top 10 Values list:
  • Control Values are associated with organising the world around you so as to get things done.
  • Relational Values are associated with relating to others so as to function effectively in relationships, teams, organisations, society and ecosystems.
  • Developmental Values are associated with creating that which has not existed before. They are values of change, evolution and transformation.
In a team or organisation, the dynamics of their values-system (strange attractor) creates their culture. in the case of an individual you can think of the created 'culture' as the person's identity/personality:

NOTE: To find out which are your CRD Priority Values, you can take an inventory of your own values at At completion, select SMO as the report code.

Friday, 21 October 2011

How are values classified under the categories of Foundation, Focus and Vision?

The Minessence Values Framework is comprises eight clusters of values and seven worldviews:

Where people map on the MVF depends on their worldview. For everyone there is a tug-o-war between self and other:

The balance point in the pull between self and other is mathematically determined by the centre of gravity of one's values--or non-mathematically, is determined thus (see diagram below): if you place all a person's values as blocks, each having a size proportional to their priority, on a beam, the balance point will be where the beam sits horizontally.
Below shows two different examples of applying this concept to mapping a person's values on the MVF:

The focus values are always above the balance point. The foundation values are to the left, the vision values are to the right.

Unless people are under the influence of drugs, there is always a mental dialogue going on between their current interpretation of their past, which is responsible for their foundation values, and their present interpretation of the future they desire, which is responsible for their vision values. This dialogue synthesises their focus worldview with its associated values:

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

1. What is the basis of arriving at Priority Values? 2. In my Organisation , we have chosen the following Values: namely, Integrity, Passion, Quality, Respect and Responsibility. I do not see a ready match of my Priority Values with these.What should I do?

Values are personal. The values we have are directly related to our world-view, see:

Organisations have their own values. Ideally these are put in place by people in the organisation following the process outlined here: and here:

Where your values differ from those of the organisation, the best strategy is to treat the organisation's values as codes of behaviour--you then need to ask yourself, am I able to live my values in this organisation in a way which is consistent with the organisation's values.

It doesn't matter what values we have as individuals. However, because we live and work with others, it does matter how we life them. It is quite appropriate for organisations to put in place codes of behaviour, codes of ethics and the like which define the way in which people in the organisation should live their own values, see:

Can you please explain what do Foundation, Focus and Vision Values mean? How do you segregate the responses to the AVI under these three groups?

Foundation values are to do with our present interpretation of the past.

Values unfold a person's life in a particular order: from self-preservation, security, belonging, organisation, self-actualisation, service, emerging order, wisdom, to global-transformation. See the video below:

For each of self-preservation, security, belonging, organisation, self-actualisation, service, emerging order (new-order), wisdom, and global-transformation (transcendence) we have identified values which people are likely to hold if their focus is on one of these. For example, if someone is focused on Self-Preservation it will come as no surprise that the values self-preservation, safety/survival, or self-interest would be important to them. Likewise it would come as no surprise to find that someone focussed on their organisation's success will have priority values of achievement, efficiency/planning, financial success.

Values associated with self-preservation, security, belonging, organisation, self-actualisation, service, emerging order, wisdom and global-transformation are called values clusters.
The article at: gives an overview of the values clusters, how they are related to world-views, and illustrates two cases of people with different foundation, focus and vision values.