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Love these two stories: Values-based management (and leadership) is simply working with the integrity of what you believe in as being good. We need more of this to happen:
The beyond-profit perspective is familiar for those who concern themselves with value-creation.
In a strategy consulting exercise with a product manager at a reputed web services company, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the intrinsic value driving his company’s business was “happiness of users.” Profits mattered, as they allowed the company to continue increasing productivity and extending capability. I pressed further. “Do you mean that the happiness of your users is important because it leads to more profits?” “No,” he responded. “We are very clear that profits are important because they help us build great products that make our users happy.”
In another strategic consulting experience with a pharmaceutical company, a client team member raised the question, “What if clinical studies show that our treatment is not as effective as we had thought? Can we market it in words that are legal to get as much mileage as possible?” The head of the organization had been engaged — but silent till now. He now spoke slowly and decisively: “This company was founded on a core idea. Anything we do must pass three tests — it must be legal, it must be based on solid science, and it must help our patients. If it fails any of these tests, it’s not an option.”
Profitability is important, but only when placed in service of the organization’s core values. And when strategy loses touch with these values, beyond-profit leaders restore that connection.