Business Values – are they of value?

“When you are led by values, it doesn’t cost your business, it helps your business”
Jerry Greenfield

Many business advisers and media commentators maintain that business values are essential for a business to be successful. Many CEOs and business owners think this is just “consultant speak” or just a marketing ploy to drum up business. They think the prime purpose of business is to make money.

An ongoing debate in the business sector seems to be around whether or not business values are of any value at all. When Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai what was their purpose? To give clear expectations on how God expected people to behave. To dictate what someone of the Christian or Jewish faith can and cannot do. So in our modern world has anything changed – are values in business important?

Think of some recent business failures.

These may illustrate the point about whether or not values are important. Remember Enron’s collapse in 2001 after the company defrauded investors and the senior executives were gaoled? What about the late Alan Bond who deceptively siphoned off shareholders’ funds from Bell Resources to prop up his Bond Corporation in the 1990s? Unfortunately not only were shareholders’ funds lost. People also lost their jobs.

Wayne Bennett, an Australian National Rugby League (NRL) coach is a positive example of the ‘value of values’ in an organisation. In over 25 years of first grade coaching, his teams have won 7 premierships. Quietly spoken, at times appearing unemotional, much of Bennett’s success could be attributed to his high values which flow onto the players in the teams he coaches. Talent is not enough, players who do not meet behavioural standards, work ethics or have the team’s interests at heart, were quickly removed from the team. Bennett showed his true values when he sacked Wally Lewis, as Broncos captain. Lewis was also an Australian captain. The public outcry was overwhelming, with irate fans calling for the Broncos to re-instate Lewis and sack Bennett. He had the long term interests of the club at heart and the Broncos went onto winning more premierships.

As a manager or business owner, business values and your values are important. Sound business values lead to better places to work, more satisfied customers and higher profits. Furthermore, they provide guidance on how to handle everyday problems. This is why values have expectations.

As a manager or business owner, people whether employees, customers or the public are watching……

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