Making Values Valuable
By Betty Shotton on Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 10:40am
When the subject of values comes up in business and corporate planning, you can feel the suppressed yawns…
Values like integrity are introduced into conversations when it sounds good but in actual practice or as a matter of being practically incorporated into operations, values are too often in short supply.
This is a very unfortunate reality because adherence to values such as accountability, integrity, and altruism might have stopped the Tony Hayward/BP disaster; the collapse of Lehmann, Bernie Madoff’s legacy to investors and many other large and small scaled consequences of leadership behavior gone wrong.
We have marched on beyond the financial collapse of 2007 but still we continue to witness leadership practices that lack a strong foundation of values The resurgence of strong financials from big banks, hedge funds and investment institutions reminds us that contribution continues to be measured primarily by the bottom line as people and communities struggle to make mortgage payments and hold on to jobs.
I think most people would agree that values in leadership are important but in business, attention is given to those areas that can be measured. If strategies/goals/performance can’t be measured and leaders held accountable, they fall off of the radar screen …such is the persistent and current state of foundational leadership values.
To date there are no accepted, standard measurements or benchmarks for long term sustainability, employee satisfaction, customer loyalty, product integrity, and contribution of an organization’s mission to the welfare of society.
But there could be.
To make values valuable we need a comprehensive, credible and accepted measurement that represents the health of the human side of business. Such a measurement could be developed by professionals with knowledge of human resources, strategic plans, leadership, finance and statistics. It could combine retention, turnover, performance, customer loyalty, brand loyalty, employee satisfaction and other pertinent data into one number that shows up along with the rest of the indicators that CEOs and others in leadership are measured by and that they use to access the overall position of their organizations.
I am calling this VOP, The Value of People; if it can be defined with integrity then it can join ROI/EPS/NOI etc in assessing the performance of leadership.
If values are to be valued in leadership then they need to be incorporated into as an accepted standard of evaluation.
Let’s bring VOP on to the balance sheet!