Interesting article from Harvard Business School on creating value versus the more common occurance of claiming value. Leaders that are looking to cultivate this skill in their organizations would benefit by having some fundamentals in place. First, they need to ensure that the purpose, core values and strategic goals of their companies are also value oriented. As the article states, “…Companies that make their purpose just about profit often do poorly because both their customers and their employees sense this quest for the almighty dollar, which makes them feel as if they are being squeezed rather than served.”


The organization’s purpose, core values and strategic plan serve not only as a means of anchoring, orienting and governing the business, they can also drive motivation among employees. Conversely, generic or profit centric messaging can be demotivating.  Who goes the extra mile because they are passionate about making their boss richer?


Secondly, in order for employees to create value, they need to understand the organization’s priorities. Its difficult to channel your efforts without direction. I’m not talking about the arbitrary and all too common, “increase sales by 10%” mandate”. Rather, what, how and why the organization wants to pursue this goal – i.e. how it relates to their vision and their values.


Finally, employees need to know how their role contributes to achieving the organization’s goals. This is often where communication falls off and it’s too bad. Because when goals are broken down into departmental or better, individual measures, employees are empowered to independently see and address issues that impede progress. They can do this because they know what’s important and how to achieve success.