Today’s post is a bit of a rant. My main point: as an organization, if you do not have established values that you live everyday, HOW IN THE WORLD DO YOU MAKE DECISIONS?
The potentially obvious, and certainly most common answer to my question (for companies) would be: we do everything to increase shareholder value or increase profits. WHAT? What does that even mean?
If we are willing to make all decisions based on increasing the financial value of the company in the markets, then we are chasing a moving target. It raises one simple questions in my mind: To what end? What stock price will be enough? What profit number will be enough?
I am sorry if I ruffle feathers here, but this is something I have to get out, and I hope you’ll discuss, debate, agree, or disagree with me. The best way to increase shareholder value is to start with values and make decisions accordingly from there.
I want to throw this out there because I know it is a huge debate for business owners and decision makers everywhere. Opportunities come up everyday to flex, bend, break, or crush our values. They always will. The simple truth of the matter is this: If we have established values which we feel are subject to being bent, broken, or otherwise worked around, they might as well not be there. And as an organization, we might as well throw in the towel.
Daniel Pink tells us people are motivated by purpose. Jim Collins and Jerry Porras tell us core ideology is proven to work in building companies that stand for long periods of time.
So why do we keep building companies and organizations around something other than a common purpose and set of values? The world has too many problems and the market’s needs are far too great to do anything less. The world deserves our best effort and the way to get there is through shared purpose that inspires executives, employees, volunteers, and interns alike to row in the same direction. Perhaps when our focus shifts to what matters and motivates, the profits might just follow.
If we don’t start with values, how can we ever make decisions and set the right strategy to fulfill our purpose and maximize shareholder value? After all, if we fulfill our purpose and live by our values, shouldn’t we be meeting the need we exist to meet?