Thoughts from Linda:
A guide to Personal &
Brian P. Hall
What are values? Are they imposed on us? Are they self-chosen? How do they develop and do they change during our lives? If so why?
In this book, Dr. Brian Hall develops the theory he wanted to explore, “What is it that we need to know from a values standpoint to transform a person into an exceptional human being? What is it we need to know to build a better society?”
The thesis of the book is that the critical factor in the transformation of people and their organizations is their values. His definition of values is: “Values are the ideals that give significance to our lives, that are reflected through the priorities that we choose and that we act on consistently and repeatedly.”
Originally published in 1994, this book offers a paradigm around values that matches Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in many ways. It offers a comprehensive map of 125 human values developed by Brian Hall and his organization, Values Technology, formerly of Santa Cruz, California. It explains how our values shift if two conditions are met: 1. A nurturing environment for growth and development and 2. The availability of tools.
Dr. Hall taught at St. Mary’s College in the Bay Area for many years and he and I first met in 2009 when I was leading Interaction Associates as President & CEO. We explored a business partnership and he and his wife, Elva and my husband and I came to be friends and colleagues. We later expanded this friendship to Brian’s best friend, Father Ron Carignon, an Oblate priest and co-developer with Brian of various elements of the theory. We learned from Father Ron, after Brian’s passing and then, Father Ron passed away in 2018.
The business partnership we originally sought at IA did not develop at that time, but over the subsequent years, we have come to understand Brian’s work much better and now have Rod Hall (no relationship) and Brittany Hall as partners working with us at DNA Consulting, where we represent the work of Brian and Elva. Today, Rod and Elva would be considered the world’s leading experts in the field of values and we are so pleased to work with them and be learning from and with them.
This book offers the full story of values and how important they are to the shifting of consciousness in our lives. His taxonomy and various ways of organizing and exploring values and their shifting significance offer a fascinating treatment that is unique in the world of transformational tools and approaches.
Working with an international team in the 1970’s Brian posited that there are 125 values that underpin human behavior. He mapped them out into a 4-Phased paradigm with many sub-paradigms. At the University of Santa Clara, he went on to develop an instrument, the Hall-Tonna Values Assessment, that has been validated by the American Psychological Association, for these values for individual and groups. In the 1990’s he and Father Ron developed a document analysis tool that helps to identify values based on written documents of individuals and organizations.
The book traces his journey into the field and provides the history of values. He provides background information on various theories: The Values Clarification Movement, Kolberg’ work on Moral Development, Maslow’s Heirarchy of Values and Rokeach’s Terminal and Instrumental Values.
This book and theory continue to stimulate my thoughts and here is a section I will leave you with on the role of values in understanding the basis for reality:
“Without exception, all value theorists agree that any treatment of human values will lead us to this question: What is it we understand by the nature of reality? What we value and give priority to in our life is conditioned by what we think life is about, by what is real for us. We cannot solve the age-old problem of what reality is, but we can address this question: what is the minimal understanding of reality needed to define what we understand by human values? The subjective and objective nature of values suggests that reality is minimally both these things, and that values appear to bridge the gap.
Values then, are the mediators between our inner world—our hopes, ideals, dreams and images—and the external and observable world of everyday life and human behavior. Our values stand between the two worlds, and are a way of understanding both our inner life and our external behavior.”
You will not be disappointed in this book. It is interesting and important. As a leader, it is most useful for self-knowledge and for your teams and your entire organization as a vehicle for the development of human consciousness. This is a ‘must read’ for anyone leading a transformational effort.