The Power Of Business Values
A value is a belief, a mission, or a philosophy that is really meaningful to the company. An example of a business value is: “Customer Satisfaction.” Another example of a value is “Being Ethical and Truthful.” Every company has one or more values, whether they are consciously aware of it or not. Another way of saying it is that a value is a statement of the company’s intention and commitment to achieve a high level of performance on a specific QUALITATIVE factor.
In many recent business management books and journals, developing, adopting, and implementing values has been identified as perhaps the single key in the success of many high growth, high profit companies. A passion for a value and its implementation into the daily activities of work was identified by many as the single key to their business success.
For example, Merck, the pharmaceutical company became so successful in its field because the company was so dedicated to the value of “high quality and purity of its drug products”. Because of this perceived value, distributors felt secure carrying Merck products, and felt confident recommending the products to their customers.
If we examine most companies, we will find a particular value propelled it to success. Here are some examples:
— Sears’s commitment to customer trust (any product could be returned with a money back guarantee from rural areas in the 19th century).
— Apple Computer’s and its belief in the values of ease of use and service to society (Apple created the Macintosh computer to end people’s fear of the computer).
— Marriott’s values of systemization and standardization (which enabled it to seamlessly duplicate its standard model hotel hundreds of times across the country).
What a Value Consists of
When defining a value for your company, it’s a good idea to try to describe it in detail. For example, a company may adopt the value “Customer Delight.” That’s the value’s name. The description for the value could be something like: “We recognize that in today’s highly competitive market providing excellent service is not sufficient to satisfy customers and ensure their loyalty. Our goal is to convert the customer’s interaction with our company into a thoroughly and unforgettably enjoyable experience.” You are describing how the value can uplift a company in general, or your company in particular.
Which Values Should We Use?
Here’s a list of values that we have found particularly powerful among the many companies we have researched:
The desire and ability of the company to develop and incorporate ways to improve itself.
The positive emotional response and joy that the customer feels from interaction with the company’s people and products and services.
The most successful businesses have discovered a formula that goes beyond product and service. Their business is providing delight to their customers by understanding their specific personal interests, anticipating their needs, exceeding their expectations, and making every moment and aspect of the relationship a pleasant — or better yet, an exhilarating — experience.
The desire and ability of the company to improve the lot of the employees working for it.
Businesses are most successful when the leaders are not merely concerned with their interests (sales, profits, success), but with the concerns of the customers, and even more so to their own employees. But all said and done, the sales and profits factor just cannot be brushed aside as they are vital for the functioning of the company. There is a ton of free information available on the internet, viz. https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2014/01/overcoming-common-sales-objections.html on how such aspects can be enhanced to keep a company from going bankrupt. Total concern for employees brings the business to a state of unity, which can attract infinite accomplishment. Read more here about it.
The desire and ability of the company to venture into new, breakthrough areas of opportunity.
MAXIMUM UTILIZATION (OF RESOURCES)
The desire and ability of the company to improve its performance by full utilization of its current resources.
COMMITMENT TO SOCIETY
The commitment of the company to focus on the social needs and aspirations of the society.
Their greatest growth occurs at moments when companies align the development of these internal engines with the explosive emergence of new forces in society. Companies that can attune their business strategies to reflect the evolutionary changes of society in several or all of their growth engines (market, products and services organization, people, and finance) catch the growing swell of the wave of social advancement. By synchronizing multiple waves of this energy, they are catapulted forward and upward to levels ten times or more their previous position.
We have also found the following values to be of great importance to a company:
Communications, Cooperation (Teamwork), Standardization, Systemization, Coordination & Integration, Timeliness, Punctuality, Respect for the Individual, Responsiveness, and Integrity/Honesty.
Implementing, Institutionalizing Values
Values are only as good as they are implemented into the company AT ALL LEVELS. Just to describe a value in a mission statement or values statement is useless unless it is pushed down into and implemented at all levels of the company. A value is thus institutionalized when it saturates all aspects of the business; when it permeates all aspects of the company, eventually without encouragement or enforcement; and when it systematically operates on its own through all activities and job positions. When this is done, the value has an enormous potential to energize the company, which leads to dramatically increased revenues and profits for the firm. Anything less than the full saturation of values at all appropriate levels of the company will not enable the value to bring the desired positive results.
To fully implement and thus institutionalize a value in a company the following steps need to all occur:
- SELECTION — Choose the values that you are interesting in fully implementing in the company.
- COMMITMENT — There needs to be a full commitment to implement the chosen values. Senior and middle management, and other employees need to fully commit to those values; commit to improving performance on those values.
- STANDARDS — A set of standards for each activity in the company needs to be implemented for each value.
- STRUCTURE — The company needs to have the right structure (of job positions, divisions, departments, etc.) to implement the values.
- JOBS, ACTIVITIES & SYSTEMS — The company must have clearly defined job positions, activities, and streamlined systems to facilitate to implement the values. Values need to be incorporated into every job position, activity, every system. Standard operating procedures and even individual job position tasks need to be linked to these values.
- EMPLOYEE RESPONSIBILITY — The responsibility of each person to implement each value must be clearly defined and understood (e.g. in their job orientation, in their job descriptions, from their manager, etc.).
- SKILLS — Everyone must have the skills to achieve high performance on the values. Everyone must have the skills they need to fulfill their responsibilities for the value. If necessary, additional training should be implemented to upgrade the skills for value implementation.
About the author: Roy Posner is the founder of Growth Online, a web site that provides fresh, new insights into human evolution and transformation. Inspired by the life and teachings of the Indian sage and seer Sri Aurobindo, Roy embarked on a journey thirty ago to understand the deepest truths of life. A good part of what he discovered along the way is presented at Growth Online. http://www.gurusoftware.com/gurunet/Start.htm