There are many things I like about Australia, but what I like the most are the people. I guess I could say that about every country in which I have worked, but there is a perception of unpretentiousness in Australia unlike anywhere I have been. We talk about having equality in our society in America, but her in Oz they practice equality in ways that I have not experienced in other parts of the world. In many parts of the world, we value knowledge, and the more letters someone has behind their name, the more important and knowledgeable you are perceived to be.

In Australia, it isn’t what you know, it’s what you do with that knowledge that is important, and it’s how what you do impacts relationships. Viv Read of Emerging Options writes that for Australians, good quality starts with . . .

➢ a relationship in which a person has a sense of secure identity and self-worth

➢ a relationship that recognises ‘Who they are’ -acknowledging the employee’s identity e.g. identifying by name, and recognising the work they perform

➢ a relationship that builds trust through sharing information

I don’t believe that the definition of good quality compared to other countries is an “either – or” proposition. It is not that one is right and one is wrong. Rather, there are things that we Americans and Canadians and Europeans and Chinese can learn from each other about quality. In Australia, I am learning about the power of relationships and maintaining them. Not at all costs, and not when they are toxic or dysfunctional, but certainly not how we do it in America.

I have a colleague who left a job a few years ago, and gave 6 months notice to help transition to the next person. In return, he was given a box and told to clean his office out that day. I have another colleague who gave notice that he was interviewing for a job, and if he was offered it, he would take it. The response of the company was to say “congratulations” and “it will be sad to see you go, and we are happy for you.” He decided, for a number of reasons, not to take the other position. One of those reasons was that the company supported him, maintained the relationship, even though he said he might leave the employment relationship. I think that is what Viv Read means when she says that good quality starts with a relationship in which your identify and self worth is secure, even if you decide to part ways in the employment relationship, we will not take anything away from who you are.

Who we are and what we do are two different things, more so in Australia than anywhere else I’ve been. What you can or can’t do does not define who you are, and for people with any kind of disability, it is a breath of fresh air to have people interact with you as a human being, not a “human doing.” Equality of worth, difference of role. That is what we teach in The Mandt System®, and that is one of the reasons people have been open to our message down under. They already knew it as part of their culture, all we did was give it a name.

Bob Bowen – Mandt System CEO & Faculty