Your Business Coach: The notion of 'value' is changing for business

Bill Fournet: For years, consumers and businesses have used the term “value” to mean “a good buy” — the financially least expensive or highest quality choice. But, the notion of “value” is changing.
BY BILL FOURNET Published: April 29, 2012
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For years, consumers and businesses have used the term “value” to mean “a good buy” — the financially least expensive or highest quality choice. But, the notion of “value” is changing. Now it is becoming associated with “what the business stands for.” A real shift is occurring in our economic culture, where companies that walk their talk — and their “talk” is values — is becoming the key reason why people choose to work for them and to buy from them.

Principled Leadership is quickly becoming applied by many companies to ensure their strategy and their culture pursues their core values. Identifying your organization's core values, and then using them to make decisions, is the foundation to create a values-based culture. Principles — basic mores or rules that describe how we will conduct ourselves — are a great technique to ensure the culture “walks the values talk.” A company should identify its four to six key principles by which it will live, and then share them throughout its workforce.

What are principles? There are three criteria to help create a solid principle:

• It should be accessible or understandable by anyone in the company.

• It should evoke an emotional or visual connection with the person.

• The company must be willing to fire someone if they do not pursue the principle.

This last point is crucial; if your company is not willing to hold its employees accountable to the key principles, then it will not become a values-based organization.

Some examples of good principles are:

• “Contribute to the mission today! Don't just keep a seat warm.”

• “Make a difference in the company every day!”

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