In Social Values, We Live; Trust; Survive.
We talk about “values” all the time in business life.
Every company has “Company Values”.
Yet, does every company share a definition of what a “company value” is?
Or what are they for?
And, why are they necessary?
Beyond this, does any company debate whether values are truly necessary? Or are they perhaps a “thing of the past”?
We guess they are necessary, as every established business seem to have a set of values, published, public, made known to employees, and to customers.
Because every company believe that the “Company Values” are something that can derail the company’s ability to sustain their business into the future… when missing!
What about non-corporations, smaller businesses, local shops, start-ups… Do they have “Company Values”? Do they publish them? Do their websites dedicate prominent web page space to them?
When you think about it, they do much less so, than larger and established corporations.
Why is that? Why smaller companies, businesses, startups, may not care to openly publicise or even set what their values are? Are they not “in business” like the big brothers? Are they not interested in people and customers than larger corporations?
We could examine why values exist in business.
Values exist in people.
We, individuals, operate with a set of values, that for some are not manifested in the open intentionally, or written in notebooks, phones or calendars, or websites… For the large majority, the values we operate with are written in our inner human core. And we make use of such values, leaving exposed evidence of the outcome, not of the value itself, most of the time. We do so because those values represent who we are as human beings, explain what we do in a daily basis, without thinking; these values impact our acts, whether we like it… want it or not.
For some, the values they operate within the open are set by a third party, a corporation; some people hear and read what those values are, and put them into practice, as part of the contract between the corporation and them.
Is that what normally happens?
Not quite; very few humans can operate to this sort of dictate to their behaviour, unless the values set by a company coincide with what their core beliefs are; when they find synchronicities with existing core values within. Every single human has values, built in, well before they contract part of their life-time to a corporation’s terms.
Humans have values.
Corporations that operate with considerable groups of humans decide to select values in their belief that, when acted upon in unison by most of their employed people, generate the best possible business results; this way, they reach the best outcome for its people too, in an ideal scenario.
Corporations understand that aligning people to act most of the time in genuine synchronicity with such set of values increases the corporation’s chances to sustain their business growth overtime; for the joy of stakeholders, including employees, provided the chosen set feels right for most of their customers.
Value differentiation comes from synchronicity.
The magic of corporations happens when their set of values that gain customers’ loyalty are in sync with their people’s core beliefs.
This is why it is so important, for corporations employing many people, to select values that deliver differentiated outcomes to customers: state what they are, make them corporate policy, and have and recruit people who align to them genuinely, in their hearts. These strengths the core of the company’s ability to secure sustainable growth like no other initiative.
Are “smaller businesses” that sustain success without a declared set of values in place just “on luck”?; do they prove the “values-theory” wrong, outdated?
I believe they don’t.
What such businesses manage is to create the culture required to generate sustainable success, bespoke to their value proposition to customers. They focus on culture first.
Culture emanates from values.
Creating a culture is the top tier of value creation in a company. When the culture is in synchronicity with how the customers love to be serviced, the company shows strength to sustain their growth, pleasing their stakeholders just by being who they are, acting in-culture.
Culture, or “the way we (all) do things here”, the behaviour everyone exhibits naturally most of the time, is what the generation, dissemination, publication, enforcement of values is seeking to achieve in large corporations. A shared culture.
Creating culture in small groups is easier than in massive ones; easier than with geographically very dispersed ones. The act of showing behaviours and ways, by every team member, consistently and constantly, and by the leader, every day, is easier to accomplish for smaller teams.
The antagonist behaviours that create competitiveness gaps in businesses, are normally easier to spot and tackle when the team is small. Such teams, whether geographically dispersed or operating from a shared room, can generate the environment that facilitates a level of engagement sufficient for them to sight what the real gaps are. Such teams pave the way for the resolution of what really matters to create the value their customers love. This drives the accomplishing of goals, that return joy to all team members, and confirms the way they operate as the one to nurture. Culture creates out of each success, visibly to everyone.
In such environment, culture grows by itself; it refines itself overtime, into the one that created the value that fits best with customers, creating more value in return: spontaneous circularity in action.
Overtime, culture reflects the (un-written) desired values; the values that are felt and lived internally and fuel external acts that sustain companies consistent growth. No one needs to see such values formally written because they own them internally.
These teams form a value-based and successful business, generally, emanating from the culture they have decided to operate with, naturally.
Business culture shifts.
Large corporations enjoy the spontaneous emergence of culture often. It surges mainly within connected teams, before it expands to the whole corporation. Teams, or smaller communities of well-connected people that take joy in being of value to customers, are where the spreading of the right business values could easily happen, mirroring startup laser focus ways, within corporations.
Startups tend to be close to many parties, out of survival needs: close to customers, close to investors, boards, mentors, technology developers… close to where business making blocks reside, and this proximity allows them to spot the type of culture they need to operate in, to survive.
Creating such environment in larger and larger corporations across their entire operation may require the application of proven efficient business models and processes. When the focus is on the culture customers require the corporation to exhibit, the magic may happen, fast.
This is why the set of values that dynamic, sustainable, thriving corporations adopt are subject to subtle changes every certain periods, all the time. The need to adapt to changing customer’s behaviour and preferences, as startups swing do.
In synchronicity with the values required by customers.
The selection, publication, dissemination, and measurement of values expected of people, and their impact on business results, is perhaps the shortest and most efficient route for corporations to create a culture that becomes the foundation of their business sustainability.
Transparency of the link between values and commercial desired results is essential, as it informs everyone of the type of culture customers expect to experience from the corporation; until customers shift their expectation towards a new shaped expectation, that will constitute a fine-tuning shaped deviation of previous desired experience, small, yet sufficiently critical to de-rail corporations that don’t follow suit. Small deviations are the hardest to implement at the core of well established cultures.
Business is dynamic, the same way life is dynamic. Success moves towards people who can align in values with customers, at every customer strategic mid-term plans. Sustainable growth follows the twist and turns of customers expectations, fine turning its culture to adapt to customers; this is how competitive growth finds a sustainable home.
Social Business Era of the 21st Century.
Duality in Business: to deliver on social expectations, while creating wealth for individuals and stakeholders.
This duality secures sustainable growth and survival for 21st Century corporations.
A culture that practices values that matter the most to customers and society at the same time will create the type of value differentiation that impacts business results the most. Social Business is a new norm to embrace now, and for a few decades to come.
Socially responsible and environmentally responsible corporations are what our 21st Century Societies demand from corporations and businesses worldwide, even when customers may demand value in conflict with society at times. This kind of value demand is not set to last in today’s business world.
Values keep being foundational for making the present-future business sustainable, making business turn “social” in purpose, on purpose: this is the foundation of 21st Century social business models. And this is the only model to make businesses sustainable in the 21st Century ahead of us.
Why do we discuss the present-future?; it is the future we plan today, in this present time, that starts right at the very moment the plan kicks off? Because we are running out of time to care for the future, and every second counts, as perceived by society all over the world.
We create the future via our present-time plans, experience by experience, today.
The values we put into practice today can constitute the foundation of a socially responsible and environmentally caring society in the future.
By spending on-purpose-time today in creating the future, we experience how to adapt our actions to deliver the value society needs tomorrow; adapting by experiencing is our best and probably only effective way to act now; because no corporation has experience in creating the type of social business our communities require just now, and our world will require in the not too distant future.
We live transformative times, and we must experiment, to give us the chance to design the best possible future the fastest, today.
Value-less acts, with no measurable return to society, from any kind of commercial activity, are set to fail, and its businesses to disappear.
Conflicting-value acts that create no impact to both customers and society, socially, will be a source of uncompetitiveness for business, and a waste for society, and are set to fail and disappear overtime.
Companies embracing values that society cares the most for and customers align with, will form the core of Social Business Enterprises of the present-future, this 21st Century, more than ever before.
Queen Elizabeth II showed the values’ way to the World.
Values shared by society and enterprises are foundational to business life success, and in life. The absence of values set turbulent courses, difficult to navigate towards beneficial outcomes.
The death of Queen Elizabeth II has surfaced that all She did for all these past decades, was to create the future, in everyday act. By being a living proof of a set of values that She put into practice at Her every public encounter (what we could see); and possibly, also at Her every private and closed doors’ family encounter. Who would have set and exhibited a value set in ruling, otherwise…?
Culture is always single in every person; it is inside each one of us; formed by the set of values that each of us decide to believe in, nurture internally, at a given point, and use practically, as tools for us to live life with: in private in the inner of us; in public, within our corporate lives, with the surrounding society, with the world.
Queen Elizabeth II created a Culture that millions followed, a Shared Identity, a Brand; Britain, and its associated partner nations, sustained success for decades and decades, thanks to the values She “leader” everyone with, silently.
She led constantly, in infinite acts of service, over seventy years, to the public eye; exposing values with every gesture, relentlessly; She created a culture that generated global success. A success for all who followed Her example over time. Constant, concerted, consistent action generated success over time; generates success over time.
She created culture without publicising Her set of values, without spelling the ingredients out loud, without social media posting them. She did it just by practicing them relentlessly in the naked eye of millions watching, in steady and calculated fashion, that took a great effort and duty from Her side. People made them core in them, without recognising it. People joined in culture, and values. Naturally. Because when mirroring Her, success could follow.
Queen Elizabeth II showed us a successful way. She was the Head of State for 15 or so nations, and created a fifty-plus network of partner countries, in a century when society took pleasure in eradicated the empire building spirit of the past. Remarkable.
Social Business at its best: working for the good progress of society, nothing less, nothing more; embracing change and technology, with a chosen set of values, emanating from Her, with Her understanding of what being successful is; values into action, from Her heart to ours: Heart To Heart communication.
No words spoken. Heart To Heart. Silently. The Elizabeth Way.
Without foundational values, there is no progress, no business, no sustainability, no fairness, no justice, … no future planet.
The inner presence of human values, exposed at every act, communicated heart-to-heart, will secure the success of businesses that turn social, and secure a sustainable planet, a successful society.
God bless Elizabeth II, Queen. An example for humanity in the 21st Century.
In Values We Trust.
and we change the world.
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