Best-Selling Author & Creator of the “Dignity Model”
Dr. Donna Hicks, author of the best-selling book Dignity: Its Essential Role in Resolving Conflict, has gained worldwide recognition for her unique approach to transforming conflict by shedding light on our universal desire to be treated with dignity. Dr. Hicks has 25 years of experience as a facilitator of international conflicts in the Middle East, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Cuba, Northern Ireland and the United States. Her unique focus on dignity and the essential role it plays in resolving conflict has transformed work environments for the world’s most prominent companies, non-profits and governmental agencies. Read More >
What is the motivating force behind all human interaction – in families, in communities, schools, in the business world, and in relationships from the personal level to the international level? DIGNITY. It is the desire to be treated well. It is an unspoken human yearning that is at the heart of all conflicts. When dignity is violated, the response is likely to involve aggression, even violence, hatred, and vengeance; the human connection is the first thing to go. On the other hand, when people treat each other with dignity, they feel their worth is recognized, creating lasting and meaningful relationships. Surprisingly, most people have little understanding of dignity, yet it is our highest common denominator. While a desire for dignity is universal, knowing how to honor it in ourselves and others is not—it needs to be learned. The talk will present a definition of dignity—what it is and what it is not; the basic elements of dignity; and how to put it into practice in everyday life.
When relationships break down, inevitably there are underlying violations to people’s dignity at the core of the problem. Observing the dynamics of failed relationships for over 25 years, Dr. Hicks has made explicit this universal root cause of relationship failure. We all want to be seen, heard, listened to and understood. When the relationship fails to provide these essential elements of dignity, it is likely to break down. This talk highlights the ten essential elements of dignity—the building blocks of a healthy relationship, along with the ten temptations to violate dignity. The skills and tools offered in this presentation can be used in the family, the workplace, in the community and all aspects of our public and private lives.
One of the great challenges in an organization is keeping people engaged and productive. Research has shown that people who feel valued are more likely to give their discretionary energy to the company and are more loyal than those who do not. This presentation addresses two aspects of creating a culture of dignity: the interpersonal (knowing how to honor the dignity of employees) and systemic (developing system-wide policy that is mindful of the necessity of treating people as if they matter). Knowing how to create an environment where people—at all levels on the hierarchy—feel safe to speak up when their dignity has been violated is a key component to the work. At the same time, knowing how to honor people and executing it on a daily basis, brings a dimension of joyfulness to an organization that not only makes people feel valued, but brings out the best in them.
Research has shown that leaders who consistently treat people well are those who get ranked highest on the “great leaders” scale by their employees. So many leaders with whom Dr. Hicks has worked have instantly embraced the dignity model in principle, but fall short when it comes to implementing it. Many of the skills that are necessary to “lead with dignity” are counterintuitive. This presentation highlights the fundamental behaviors of dignified leadership as well as the multiple challenges that any leader will face in trying to embody it.
Everyone wants to be treated with dignity, it's a universal human desire. Surprisingly, very little attention has been paid to educating our children about the importance of it in our lives and how to honor dignity in ourselves and others. With her ten elements of dignity, Dr. Hicks' model makes it clear what it looks like, on an everyday basis, to extend dignity to others and how to avoid violating one's own. While we were all born worthy of dignity, we are not born knowing how to act like it. This educational approach not only teaches people to build strong, healthy individuals and relationships, but can repair relationships that have broken under the weight of conflict. If indignity tears us apart, dignity can put us back together again.
"Wow, she was awesome! It was a great day and her Dignity Model fit right in with our Day of Human Understanding. She was friendly, made everyone she met feel at ease and had some great conversations with our faculty and staff. Donna was also wonderful with the students at the Meet & Greet. She had great interactions with them and was super engaging."
"Donna’s personal and professional focus on the topic of dignity resonated with the audience, and her stories and lessons were directly targeted to Landmark’s unique population. In a poignant and simple message, Donna spoke to the core issues facing students with learning disabilities, which are their rights and needs to be seen, taught, and respected for who they are as they battle to believe in their own self-worth.
Donna’s message is both universal and personal, and creates thought and change immediately. Her relaxed presence places everyone at ease, her sincerity fosters credibility, and her passion evokes emotions."