Establishing our corporate values (or core principles) and strictly working by those values allows us to connect more quickly and effectively with customers– ultimately increasing business. However, the expression of these values may require a sacrifice of precious time or money (OR WORSE). For example, the value of “community service” might allow employees to paint a shelter during business hours or the value of “fair dealing” might sway a business agreement out of our favor. Although adhering to these values can be pricey in the short-term, long-term gains are often realized.
This idea was exemplified during a coaching session with the president of one of the city’s top companies. She discovered her corporate values were being challenged by a financial consultant recommending profit-driven goals. These goals also contradicted the expectations of her long-time clients and employees who were accustomed to “community-focused” and “customer service-based” objectives. Though she was willing to consider profitability as one measure of success, she insisted her company did not become one of the county’s 5 fastest growing companies by placing corporate profits above corporate values.
The question asked in the book of Matthew: “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?” (Matthew 16:26) is addressed in Jim Collins’ book, Built to Last. Collins, my favorite author, writes an entire chapter (More than Profits) describing the paradox of value-driven businesses far outperforming profit-driven businesses. Companies staunchly communicating and adhering to core principles surpassed those companies focused exclusively on pleasing Wall Street.
Collins compares companies from the same industry and time period accounting for changing market forces and economic challenges. Yet, the results are the same: those companies connecting to their clients, vendors, and employees through consistently expressed (and sometimes costly) values, still developed more quickly through profits, growth, and opportunity!
|ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman, an Executive Business Consultant with Leading Synergies, helps high-performing executives refine strategy, inspire teams, and delight clients (specializing in information technology, project management, consulting, and franchise management). She also leads Synergy Groups, weekly 55-minute virtual business mastermind calls for REALLY BUSY Christians in leadership. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 21 years.|