EVENT – 2012 International Wisdom at Work Conference – “Wisdom with Aim”

On Wednesday October 31st, 2012 Dianne Timmering will be one of the presenters at the 2012 International Wisdom at Work Conference in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Conference is a presentation of the Tyson Center for Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace, a part of the Sam M. Walton College of Business One at University of Arkansas.

Dianne will be presenting on the subject of spirituality in the workplace and her presentation is entitled “Wisdom With Aim” and a preview of which is as follows:

Long-term care and post-acute company Signature HealthCARE’s Department of Spirituality is founded on the belief that nurturing the spirit is an integral part of human well-being and can unleash our greatest capacity for healing and purpose. Believing that spirituality is sacred to the human experience, we seek jewels in cultural differences and fold them into a library of respect and new understanding, embracing the social impact of unending mercy and endless hope as life-changing interventions of the most powerful kind within the fabric of healing.

A signature component of the program is that spirituality is not “watered down” but specific paths for individual discovery are made available. An army of 75 full-time chaplains serve residents, employees and local communities meeting the vision of healing through care-planned interventions and other critical partnerships that enhance wellness, pursuits of purpose and overall quality of life for our people.

Vice President Dianne Timmering and her team have built and maintain the largest for-profit, multi-faith Spirituality Department in the nation.

The exact schedule for the conference is still being set, however registration and further details for it can be found at http://tfsw.uark.edu/conference.asp.

Dianne H. Timmering, Vice President of Spirituality
Signature Consulting Services, LLC

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“Time Given” by Dianne H. Timmering

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

I remember in the early years of the spirituality program lots of travel as we were building and developing the program; I specifically recall one time in a Tennessee facility and passing by a room where a man laid flat on his back. I passed him by thinking he probably couldn’t respond or talk since he appeared to have little cognition or alertness. But the Spirit moved and I heard God whisper even as I walked away, Stop, and go back to that man; this man is requesting a visit. God had heard this precious man’s thoughts while I was focused on what he could not do or who I thought he no longer was. As I turned to go back into his room I had fears—fear that the man might not respond, fear that he might be too sick for his skin was graying and he appeared near death. But God said, Fear not, for I am with you both. This man knows you are there.

So I cradled my trembling hand over the man’s cold fingers, and looked into his feverish eyes, so delicate with the wear of use in his many decades of life. And there he was, looking back at me. I smiled and said something which I don’t remember now and his face changed from square to round like it had been lifted from the bed, and his eyes squeezed with the recognition of another, a simple conversation of hope without the parable of any words.

Is it as simple as time? Time given to hear God; time given for another; time given for those who can no longer speak for themselves, except through the listening voice of God.

Love to you all. Dianne

Dianne H. Timmering, Vice President of Spirituality
Signature Consulting Services, LLC

“My Recipe for Peace” – Presentation on July 12, 2012

The following is the text of the presentation at the “My Recipe For Peace” Dinner, a fundraising event for Interfaith Paths To Peace, which took place at The Temple on Brownsboro Road in Louisville, KY on July 12, 2012.

“We started the inter-faith Department of Spirituality at Signature Healthcare with one philosophy: to love everyone where they stood, to build a department based on unconditional love and respect for all cultures and faith traditions, without watering it down. In this, we have shattered misperceptions of spirituality in the workplace, its efficacy, its life-changing aura, its viability and sustainability, and its fortuitous power.

On the tip of this new contemplation, this simple formula keeps peace in the accordioned quilt of who we are as a company. All in all, that has moved the mountains, along with the sanctity of respect, and prayer which I find myself steeped in daily.

What happens is truly inspirational in that seconds, minutes and moments turn into even the tiniest of miracles. And so it is in that unexpected encounter, that special wink when a prayer is the only cure, when a word can reverse the course of a bad decision, when a new understanding evolves, when questions of ‘why’ are answered, when spirituality links the confusion of dementia with the sound of angels, where only God can give solace in the stillness of punishing grief, where writing it down unlocks the pain into passing away, where healings are unexplained except by the touch of the Lord’s magnificence, where wounds close and falls are prevented, where time meets that instant of dire need.

I remember my first year in this endeavor and I was at one of our Tennessee nursing homes and passed by a room where a man laid supine (on his back). I remember passing him thinking he probably couldn’t respond or talk since he appeared to have little cognition or alertness. But the Spirit moved around me in the peace of the moment and I heard God whisper even as I trundled down the hall, Stop, and go back to that man, He said. This man is requesting a visit. God had heard this precious man’s thoughts while I was focused on what he could not do or who I thought he no longer was. As I turned to go back into his room I had fears—fear that the man might not respond, fear that he might be too sick for his skin was graying and he appeared near death.

I cradled my trembling hand over the man’s cold fingers, and looked into his feverish eyes, so delicate with the wear of use in his many decades of life. And there he was, looking back at me. I smiled and said something which I don’t remember now and his face changed from square to round like it had been lifted from the bed, and his eyes squeezed with the recognition of another, a simple conversation of hope without the parable of any words.

A new trust abounded in me that day, a new love for mankind and our perfect imperfections, that we are all vulnerable, that we will all need help at some cross-section of time. God knew. He had heard the sheep among us and connected it with a shepherd who might risk a kind word and the jewel of love.

Delight in miracles for they come in every moment of every precious breath, the honk of a goose, the velvet touch of a rose, the grain of wood, the fragrance of mango, the feel of thick molasses, the sight of a gentle waterfall, the notice of a human in need. God is in every touch, squeeze, and the ear that is ready to listen. He is always willing to listen to us; let us always be willing to listen to Him. For in prayer, there is peace.”

Dianne H. Timmering, Vice President of Spirituality
Signature Consulting Services, LLC

“Love With An Honest Heart” by Dianne H. Timmering

 “A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

Loving with an honest heart is hard to do sometimes. It is easier perhaps to nestle into anger, resentment, bitterness. Sometimes it feels even “right” to feel this way because of the slight, or the perceived unkindness from another where it is easy to nurture the wrongness that one feels has been done. Much harder is it instead to discern, think through or reflect upon and try to see the perspective of the other.

But taking it to God and putting it out onto His doorstep relieves you of this burden. There is a freedom and peace in all that, even though it may not mean that you are wrong, just that you are free. And then you feel lighter having laid the toil at His feet; you can walk with an honest heart, burdened with a searing hurt no longer, and it feels good and right and real. Anger subsides and love rekindles. Bitterness peels away and hope for the other restores. Blessings abound.

Just love, because it just is. I suppose that’s what we mean when we talk about “unconditional love.”

Keep going, be encouraged and love to you all. Dianne

 Dianne H. Timmering, Vice President of Spirituality
Signature Consulting Services, LLC

“Prayer From The Elder Serve Luncheon” by Dianne H. Timmering

Recently our CEO Joe Steier and several company’s representatives attended a luncheon hosted by Elderserve, Inc. in Louisville, KY where Joe was presented with the 2012 Champion for the Aging Award.

I was aksed to offer the prayer for the luncheon, the text of which is presented below.
Dear God. We love you so much and are honored to be here today as a collective community to celebrate life in any season. We thank you because we can gather freely and express ourselves in whatever multitude of manner we might choose.

We thank you for the opportunity to serve both you and our precious elders. Stay with us always. Put your loving arms around us and the vulnerable rich people we serve.

Let us not turn a blind eye to such wisdom perhaps still unlocked in their grip. Let us embrace their wisdom and exquisite beauty. Thank you for their service and courage in the building of our nation and the loving care they provided to so many of us in the room.

We are a byproduct of their greatness. Let us never forget this, and that purpose reigns in every breath. Bless elderserve and all their affiliates and their 50 great years committed to nurturing a maturing life still so full with many gifts to  give.

Bless the businesses and organizations represented here today.  Bless all to overflow. Pressed down shaken together. Bless this food. Bless it to the nourishment of our body. And bless
all hands. Amen

Dianne H. Timmering, Vice President of Spirituality
Signature Consulting Services, LLC

PRESS – Business First Article – “Spirituality Plays a Valuable Role in the Workplace”

The June 29th edition of Business First Magazine featured an article written by our good friend Dr. Rick Underwood and me entitled “Spirituality Plays A Valuable Role in the Workplace”.

The entire text of the article is below, or you can view it free on Business First’s website HERE.

Spirituality plays a valuable role in the workplace
by Dianne H. Timmering and Rick Underwood

Are there appropriate ways that spirituality can play a positive role in the workplace while respecting diversity issues? There are some for-profit organizations who think the answer is a resounding “yes.”

Through the years, faith-based, nonprofit organizations such as hospitals often were the only workplaces that placed an emphasis on faith development and growth in spirituality. That is changing as more for-profit organizations experience the value of promoting spirituality among their staff and clients.

Some, such as Signature HealthCare, are integrating spirituality into their business plan while enjoying positive business outcomes. Signature, for example, launched its grass-roots spirituality program in 2005, focusing on spiritual care delivery with a dedicated chaplain and spirituality program for each long-term care center.

Qualitative and quantitative results confirmed the need for well-trained chaplains in spiritual care as it related to employee empowerment, meeting residents and their family members at the very point of need, and improved therapy and clinical outcomes.

For Signature, spirituality became an issue of the heart, founding the program on unconditional love for all faiths and cultures. Educating the Signature chaplain corps on tenets of understanding, listening, and humility was key to the spirituality program’s early success as well as encouraging the love and respect for one’s “neighbor,” regardless of religious or philosophical affiliation.

Members of the Signature community began to learn from one another with the barriers down. Now God (of each person’s understanding) in the workplace is a part of the fabric of their culture, from recruiting to decision-making. Purpose and personal mission, which all of mankind eventually pursues, are explored and encouraged.

Background of the movement
The roots of spirituality in the workplace began in the 1920s as individuals sought to live their faith and spiritual values in the workplace. Through the years, the interest in finding creative ways to integrate spirituality into the workplace has grown.

Some trends that led to this interest were:

• Mergers and acquisitions that destroyed the sense of security for workers and led some to seek forms of inner security;

• A global economy that called into question long-term economic viability;

• A decline of mainline church attendance because, for many, the message was no longer relevant;

• Baby boomers facing retirement who began to ask questions about meaning and purpose.

A new focus on spirituality
In the workplace today, terms such as transformation, transcendence, meditation and soul have become commonplace. Many workers in a knowledge-based business environment want to bring their entire self to work: body, mind and spirit.

It now is apparent that interest in matters of spirituality is shared by active members of faith groups of all kinds, by people whose religious practices have lapsed and by those who seek purpose, especially when it is lacking or seems to be unidentifiable.

Implications of spirituality in the workplace
Spirituality is essential to health, credibility, trustworthiness, respect, fairness, meaning of work, sense of community, creativity, commitment, ethical behavior and productivity. Recent unethical behavior among top corporate executives has confirmed the need for integrity and ethical behavior. Fortune magazine found that corporations that adhere firmly to integrity based on these values have a 50 percent higher growth rate.

Traditionally, the term “religion” has been associated with an institutional community that practices faith in a specific tradition or creed. In contrast, the word “spirituality” in the workplace is being treated as an alternative or, in some cases, a complement to religion that involves focusing on a particular way of thinking about self, others, work and organizations.

Promoting spirituality in the workplace

Activities that promote spirituality in the workplace include:

• Servant leaders/employee assistance programs (or less of a need for such);

• Programs in diversity, bereavement, wellness and stress management;

• Support groups and prayer systems;

• Management and leadership systems that promote growth, development and transformation;

• Encouragement of creativity, self-expression and innovation;

• Feedback systems that help all walk the talk of the values of the organization;

• Brown-bag lunch discussions of similarities of different faith group beliefs and practices.

As the world faces many uncertainties in the future, new strategies that integrate spirituality as one of the core business functions can help bridge the generational gaps, empower people through a spiritual intelligence of gained wisdom, inspire and retain a loyal work force, create outstanding customer service, contribute to the development of a global future story and ensure financial sustainability.

Rick Underwood is managing partner and performance consultant for Leadership Management Institute in Louisville. Dianne H. Timmering is vice president of spirituality for Signature HealthCare in Louisville.

Dianne H. Timmering, Vice President of Spirituality
Signature Consulting Services, LLC