According to Peter Cohen (Value Leaders, 2003), there are 6 standard Values that have helped eight publicly-traded companies achieve superior financial and stock market performance.
- Value human relationships. People matter – they make the difference in whether a business succeeds or fails. Satisfied customers are more profitable; satisfied employees are more productive. Your personnel are your most sustainable competitive advantage. Ensure that they know your Purpose. Define expected behaviors for your Core Values. Foster mastery as a building block of greater autonomy. Motivate them to build effective working relationships with all stakeholders (peers, customers, suppliers, partners and others).
- Foster teamwork. More heads are better than one. People who work alone risk undermining your company’s survival. Hire people who can work well with your stakeholders. Teamwork increases productivity; high productivity accelerates profit growth.
- Fulfill your commitments. Trust is vital. If you can’t trust people to deliver, your business is in jeopardy. Hire people with a well-documented track record of delivering on their commitments. Once you’ve hired them, you must fulfill your commitments. Reward people who follow your lead and dismiss those that don’t. Trust sustains relationships and relationships promote productivity.
- Encourage innovation. Competition is relentless – no process or technical advantage is sustainable for long. When things are going well, the tendency is to rest. But that complacency will cause you to ignore threats and opportunities that come to you. Success can breed failure. Maintain intellectual humility and a healthy hint of paranoia. Keep pursuing improvement and innovation to remain valuable to your customers. Innovation spurs growth in market share and earnings.
- Grow through multiple means. If you are growing due to one product or service, you are vulnerable to competitors. Don’t bet your future on just one revenue generator; make it hard for competitors to copy your strategy by offering multiple ways to produce value for customers and profit for you. Multiple revenue drivers reduce price pressure and risk, while increasing earnings growth.
- Support your community. Doing good matters. Encourage your people to contribute their time and skills back to the community. Giving to your community is a business imperative because it signals that you believe in your company’s long-term success. Community engagement increases customer loyalty and employee satisfaction. Higher customer loyalty increases retention and ROI; higher employee satisfaction increases customer satisfaction.
Which of these Values are consistently demonstrated in your business?
How can you ensure that your people understand the expectations for each of your Values?