HRINZ Conference 2005 Working Through Values Working Through Values  

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Concurrent Workshops

Day Two – Thursday 15 September

2.15pm to 3.45pm

Master Class #2

Michael Henderson Dougal Thompson    

A Business Case for Working with Values

Michael Henderson and Dougal Thompson, values @ work

How many organisations create a set of values, hang them on the wall and never refer to them again? Or how many choose a set of values emboss them onto everything from T–shirts to coffee mugs, to giant posters and mouse pads without having a criterion for determining if they have the right values for their organisation other than the executive team liked the values they created? This session will highlight a business case for values through a robust and proven approach with values that directly links them to strategy, leadership and personal values.

A compelling business case for any organisation to work with values has emerged out of research comparing the impact of strategy and culture on performance variability. (Mike West of the Aston Business School in the UK.)

The study of 100 companies over an eight–year period showed that an organisational strategy accounted for 2% of performance variability while organisational culture accounted for 17% of performance variability.

Even the best business strategy in the world will under perform without a supporting and aligned organisational culture.

This relationship between strategy and culture highlights an often–missed aspect of leadership. Many business leaders are reasonably qualified in aspects of strategy and business and yet not in culture values or anthropology.

When leaders are capable of ensuring the strategy (the organisations plan(s) for moving in a chosen direction) and the culture, (The system of shared beliefs, values, customs and that are transmitted from one generation to another through observed behaviour and learning) are in alignment with one another, only then can leaders be confident of achieving their strategic objectives.

Fred Wiersema and MichaelTreacy the researchers and co–author of The Discipline of Market Leaders point out that fundamentally there are only three integrated business strategies for establishing an organisation as its market place leader. These are, Product Leadership, (P.L.) Operational Excellence (O.E.) and Customer Intimacy (C.I.).

The authors suggest that for organisations to survive they need a basic proficiency in all three of these elements. However in order to grow and become a market leader, organisations must choose to prioritise one of the three strategies ahead of the other two, and then manage the quality execution of their chosen strategic mix.

As we noted earlier with your culture accounting for 17% influence on performance variation, the effectiveness of your strategic mix becomes vulnerable if paired with an unaligned culture.

The key ingredient of any culture is values. Often misunderstood, values are simply preferences and priorities, which reflect what's most important. In all organisations, values are at work everyday. Using the 128 values of the "Global Values Inventory" three values categories can be used to relate directly to the three strategies identified by Wiersema and Treacy.

All values in an organisation culture fall into one of three distinct categories – Control, Ethical and Development.

The Control values comprise of such values as administration, communication, productivity, profit, criteria and rationality, obligation, efficiency, planning and management.

Ethical values include the like of accountability, competition, congruence, collaboration, empathy, discernment, friendship, dignity, equality and loyalty.

Development values include adaptability, discovery, pioneering, co–operation, competence, endurance, growth, expansion, insight and innovation.

Michael Henderson and Dougal Thompson are International Values Practitioners licensed through the values research and education centre Minessence Foundation. They've over twenty years' of values consulting and workshop delivery experience, and are;

  • Co founders of values@work a specialist values consultancy operating internationally
  • Joint authors of the book 'Values @ Work The invisible threads between people, performance and profit', published by Harper Collins and released in New Zealand, Australia, America and Europe
  • Michael is the author of 'Finding True North Discover your values enrich your life'. Winner of New Zealand’s Ashton Wylie book award for best new personal development book 2004
  • They are joint designers of the C.E.D values process, enabling organisations to align the cultural values of the organisation with its' overall strategy for growth. This is a pioneering values process for identifying the actual values at work within the organisation. This shows to what extent, and in what nature those values relate to and support an organisations strategy for growth and market leadership. This unique values approach has been successfully integrated into the strategic business disciplines developed by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema
  • Designers of the True North Values Assimilation programme, recognised by the Values Fellows of the International Management Centres Association as a leader in its field
  • They are co authors of the forthcoming book by Harpercollins business "Leading Through Values"

Their clients include, Lion Nathan, Vodafone, Shell, Tip Top, ACC, ASB, HarperCollins, Burger King, Yellow Pages.

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