Using Values to Guide Business Strategy, Keep Employees Engaged and Grow Your Business

“The Cause is Hidden, But the Result is Well Known.”

Ovid, Roman Poet (43 BC – 17 AD)

People today are focused on the global economic crisis, but Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter sees also a global crisis of business.

Has the model of American capitalism that worked so well to raise the fortunes of millions of people last century hit a wall? In its place must arise a new model of the company, one that serves society as well as rewarding shareholders and employees, Kanter argues in her new book, SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good.

Kanter, one of my top tier strategy and organizational change visionaries that I follow and learn from, shared key points and great stories at a leadership learning session I attended with my esteemed colleague from the Northern Trust Company, Jill Nabonsal:

1.  Start with a Sense of Purpose. Lead with Your Principles and Values. Think about how you can apply your products and services to address the many unmet societal needs.

2.  Be Open to Discussions. It is Not Your Words But Your Conversations that Matter. Allow for self-organizing, -governing -policing where possible. Give your employees a voice and you may be amazed what transpires.

3.  Value Relationships. A Sense of Purpose Forms a Strong Basis for Your Relationships and Conversations. Start with ‘Who I am, what I believe and what is important to me.’ Speak of values first. Think of meeting others’ needs before your own. (And you may be surprised how your own needs end up being met way beyond your expectations.)

4.  Use Values to Reduce Risk. Having Values at the Core of Your Solutions Reduces Risk. Your standards seem too high? Help your clients reach the higher standards that you may set. Who wins? Who benefits? Your clients, your clients’ clients, your team, you.

Here is a more detailed summary of the book if you are interested in learning more.

But can doing good keep employees engaged and grow your business? You bet it can. Stay tuned for my next post.

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Sandra Schwan

Sandra Schwan

Managing Partner at Evolving Strategies LLC
Sandra is the Managing Partner of Evolving Strategies LLC, a consulting firm helping companies and people learn, adapt and perform. Sandra holds a Master of Science degree in Adult Learning and Strategic Organizational Change from Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Arkansas. Previous employers include the Corporate Executive Board, Lante Corporation, Kensington International, and Accenture where Sandra was awarded mentor of the year.

Connect With Sandra:
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Sandra Schwan

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