Value – An Organizational Perspective

The existence, and success of any organization depends on the value it provides. While almost all organizations pursue end user value, they often overlook empowering the value delivery engine. It would behoove any organization to not build the value focus in its every job function. Just like quality, value must be built-in and not bolted-on in all aspects of organizational functioning (internal and external).

Value Dimensions and Drivers

Recent Harvard Business Review studies articulate the value dimensions from two perspectives:

  • Business to Business: 40 elements of value: Table stakes, Functional elements, Ease of doing business, Individual value, Inspirational value.
  • Business to Consumer: 30 elements of value: Functional, Emotional, Life changing, Social impact.

While knowledge of value elements is important, it is absolutely critical to know the value drivers. Since we deal with complex human brain, we must tap into the factors that influence people’s everyday decisions. A number of theories and studies have explored this area. One of the more popular ones is Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs.” It deals with the innate desire to fulfill the most basic psychological (food, water, warmth, rest) to complex self-actualization needs (achieving one’s full potential, including creative activities). When used in conjunction with other approaches listed in this blog, it can transform the value dimensions and inspire the organization to deliver outstanding value.

Pathway to Value

Notwithstanding the value dimensions and drivers, the path to value delivery must traverse through organizational values, whether explicitly stated or implicitly derived.

Many organizations have clearly defined corporate values. These values can take multiple forms:

  • Core Values: Deeply ingrained principles that guide all organizational actions.
  • Aspirational Values: Values that the company needs to succeed in the future but currently lacks.
  • Accidental Values: Values that evolve and take hold without being cultivated by leadership.

Regardless of the form, organizational values provides a guiding light for employee actions. It represents the organizational DNA and serves to create the organizational identity and differentiation, aka value delivery. Delivering value is the outcome of the process in which organizational values serve as one of the decision making frameworks.

Actionable Steps

The following actionable steps can be taken to actualize the value delivery:

  1. Discover
    • Top-down: Utilize the value dimensions and drivers to discover the pillars of value delivery for the organization.
    • Bottom-up: Identify the stakeholder types for each function (employee, organization and internal/external customers)
    • Connect the dots: Appreciate the 360 degree perspective of each value dimension for the enterprise. Plan the value from its lifetime perspective.
  2. Engage
    Engage the entire organization in discovery of value dimensions and set up governance structures to measure and improvise the value delivery.
  3. Plan
    Establish a simple, sustainable and self-correcting process that is based on feedback mechanism resulting in effective, efficient and agile implementation. The implementation road-map must have a tie-in to organizational values and governance framework.
  4. Deliver
    Create milestones and measurements in strategy execution so that the organization sees the progress and impact. The non-negotiable organizational focus on value must have a spectrum of outcome that ranges from offering rewards to firing of resources.
  5. Improvise
    To achieve breakthrough achievements, there needs to be a never-ending process of continual improvement that utilizes the feedback mechanism from and outside the system to feed positive change.

Since value is the reason for organizational existence, the entire organizational ecosystem needs to be structured around it. Only when we “walk the talk,” can value get the needed attention. Value is a strategic asset, and must be treated as such.

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