How to turn company values into competitive advantage
We are inclined, for whatever reason, to treat values like worksof art. We view them as nice to hang on the wall, and beautiful tolook at, but we don't act as though they truly mean much tous in the real world. In fact, the opposite is true. The bestorganizations understand their values, articulate them clearly, andhold them higher than any short-term concerns or short-cut methods.This does not put these companies at a competitive disadvantage. Itis the source of their competitive advantage.
If there's no clarity at the top about what values really mean,then there's no consistency at the management level or further downthe organization. This means that there's no way to measure, coach,assess, promote or fire people in line with those values. Anyorganization that does not articulate its values concretelyfunctions like a modern Tower of Babel. No one can be quite surethat they are speaking the same language at different levels ordifferent locations within the organization. Decisions don't alwaysmake sense or feel right. Confusion reigns. No matter howcompelling and inspirational the organization's vision may be, itsaspirations fall far short in reality.
Values are about achieving results in a way that is consistentwith what an organization stands for. They provide a directconnection between the CEO, the factory worker and everyone inbetween; and form the basis of the organization's "brand" asunderstood by employees, customers, suppliers and evenshareholders. When the work is done right, values provide anorganizing principle, a directional compass that helpsorganizations succeed; they become a source of energy for anorganization's vision, strategy and day-to-day efforts. Vision,strategy, market share, reputation and profits are all veryimportant - but having a clear and consistent set of valuesis far more critical in predicting whether an organization willcontinue to succeed and grow as its people, markets, competitivelandscape and technology change. People must make theircontributions to an organization willingly and independently tobring passion, commitment, creativity and energy to a job. But theywill do so only so long as they believe that what they are doing isauthentic and meaningful, and is part of a code of commitmentshared by the organization as a whole.
Inside the Box focuses on values in a clear and practicalway to understand what they are, where they come from and how theyare transmitted from employee generation to generation. Insidethe Box provides a roadmap for any leader or manager on how toidentify the values that make an organization, department, team, orindividual unique. It also shows how to measure whether anorganization or individual is operating according to those values,and how managers can use values as the basis for all of theirpeople decisions and drive superior performance as a result.