Living Your Values

Creating company values isn’t always easy but having the right values that make sense to you and your business and will stand the test of time is crucial if you want to be taken seriously. Values really matter to customers. 

Make them mean something. 

If your values are too hard to live by, then they are not your values. If they are just a list of nice things to have so you get more customers, they are not your values either. Take a long hard look at them and ask yourself if you really can abide by them. If not, take time to re-evaluate what is important to you and how that aligns with your company practices. Don’t forget, they affect everyone in, and everyone who deals with, your business. If they are empty promises to you, they will be empty promises to them too and you won’t get the best out of anyone, let alone have any employee or customer loyalty.

Living by your values is hard at times. Creating and using a value statement is hard too, but if it is going to be too painful, you need to reconsider why that is and what you can do about it. Similarly, going against your values for short term gain is not the name of the game. It’s not an easy ride, but it’s one worth taking if you truly care about people, communities, and the environment.

To the rescue in times of crisis.

One major bonus of having company values is they help you make difficult decisions quickly. You simply need to ask if whether what you are deciding aligns with them. It takes the stress out of the situation almost immediately. Here are some examples of companies who used their values to make decisions in times of crisis.

Johnson & Johnson save the day

Johnson & Johnson were hit with a huge crisis in 1982 when seven people died in Chicago from taking cyanide-laced Tylenol. Experts predicted that the brand would never recover.  But Johnson & Johnson made some important decisions based on their ‘Credo’ – their set of values. They were advised to recall only the batch that was affected. They chose, however, to recall all Tylenol across the country and although their shares plummeted at the time, it didn’t last long. Their Credo which starts with the words, “We believe our first responsibility is to the patients, doctors and nurses, to mothers and fathers and all others who use our products and services”, was the guiding principle for the decision for mass recall. And it saved the brand. 

Ford ruin their reputation

In contrast, Ford decided to go against any value they held in 1970s when their newly designed Pinto tended to catch fire in rear-end crashes. Ford did a cost benefit analysis that proved the likely cost of litigation was preferred over the cost of recall and resolution. However, it ruined their reputation at the time and cost them over $350 million in damages and the cost of recalling 1.5 million cars.

Pandemic heroes

Love them or hate them, Starbucks used their values to deal with issues during the pandemic. They gave their people the right to work or not, depending on what each employee’s needs. They also gave store managers the right to decide when to reopen and how they were going to operate when they did. 

Now you can see how values can make or break a company, look at yours and see if they ring true for you. And if you don’t have a value statement yet, you can simply start by what is important to you and refine your list until you can make any decision based on your values.If you want to know more about creating values for your company, get in touch.

Fiona Grant-Jones

As a Management Accountant, I have a proactive focus on the future. I enjoy working with business owners to improve performance through management accounting and forecasting techniques. My knowledge of Tax and Tax planning has supported me in offering a more complete service to our clients. My interests span from the ones that my mother approves of, such as needlecraft and papercraft to the ones she is not so keen on such as scuba diving and skiing!

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