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Some ideas around value

Everyone talks about being ‘sustainable’ but what exactly does that mean when it comes to team engagement?

Simple – treat your staff and people like valuable human beings – your social capital is important as society adjusts to a new generation of younger thinkers. These younger thinkers are in a position where they will soon work out that they don’t really need stability formerly know as “a real job”, they already know that they can provide value, that means they can live off the land . . . . er . . . world that the baby-boomer built.

To be truly sustainable people will in some cases need to wait for the dinosaurs of an archaic pre-baby-boomer industrial age to retire or die out. The platform for sustainability is already around us – the baby boomers built it – the new generation knows exactly how to make sustainability work – they are building for tomorrow and doing right to others.

The secret rests in applying the “Golden Rule”.

Adding Value is starting to become another phrase that’s been hijacked by the bandwagon brigade. How should a business avoid being labeled as ‘oh another one’ when it starts to talk about its own adding value?

Value is possibly on of the most worn-out terms in the corporate buzz word book: Today much of which is accorded value is an fantasy (think financial markets – value is not solid – it’s all about leverage – it’s made up – the King dollar and Queen pound are naked so to speak).

Before the iPhone every phone handset maker spent over 15 years claiming to “add value” to their phones (no-one really noticed) – yet all they really ended up doing was creating a market for “upgrading” – value in this context simply defined a process of profiting from obsolescence dressed up as wanna-have-a-new-one “inspired upgrades”.

Joseph Schumpeter had a great term for innovation – he called it “creative destruction”. Innovation in the mobile handset industry was a delusion and it added very little true value – in contrast the Telco’s have created a Thick ‘n Deep world of value – they got the whole world communicating – even in some of the remotest places in Africa and South America – they made the world a friendlier and more accessible place that’s what I call “Thick ‘n Deep” Value. In contrast many Financial Advisors, Food producers and pharmaceutical companies claim they’re “adding value,” but mostly they’re just hyper-marketing – government and regulators tell us they are adding value – yet we fail to notice. If one fails to notice or one needs to analyse whether something is of true value – then the following assertion remains – it’s thin value.

The vast majority of companies today deliver superficial thin value. Thick ‘n Deep value is real, meaningful, and sustainable. It happens by making people authentically better off — not merely by adding more bells and whistles that your boss might like, but that cause customers to roll their eyes.

How to avoid the “oh another one” labeling, frankly that’s obviously easier said than done – I believe successful business needs to create not just thick value (a term coined by Umair Haque of Harvard Business School) but deep value as well.

“Thick ‘n Deep” Value is the key and can be tested by asking these questions.

Does it enrich the business?
Does it leave the people it serves sustainably and deeply enriched?
Does your customer trust you?
Does it make the world a better place.
Thin value is all about assertion. Now with “Thick ‘n Deep” Value you just know – deep down – you know that it’s good.

What about, those who think it’s just semantics? What about those who believe there is a thin line separating the two types of value? What about those who don’t know the difference? There is an answer ‘out there’ to those questions as well . . . . fire up your favourite browser – navigate to Wikipedia and search for the following word “extinction”.

We appear to be moving into the age of individuals wanting to make a difference. Why is this happening and is it something businesses should embrace or fear?

Why is this happening – those who equated human beings with industrial machines, those who applied depraved Cartesian reasoning to human capital and poisoned the very space they live in are why thing are changing! Those who misguidedly cite progress as the high road to some holy grail are soon to be buried and gone. The baby-boomers and their wonderful progeny Generation X and M, will embrace true capitalism one that embraces people, profit and planet.

Making a difference is the essence of “Thick ‘n Deep” Value – today wise people take the triple bottom line (3BL) and embrace it. If I may quote my friend Vinay Gupta the inventor of the Hexayurt – he sums it all up beautifully in the following statement:

“Triple Bottom Line asks that businesses justify themselves in three ways: natural capital, social capital and financial capital, [these] are the terms [of reference] for the three “bottom lines. These three are often shorthanded as planet, people and profit.”
Consider this – Africa is home to 70% of the ‘bottom billion’. It would be truly stupid to ignore 700million people, who amongst them are the potential producers of your food, and who become the affluent consumer countries and even venture capitalists of the future. It is possible that in our lifetime that Asia and Africa will be providing the some of metaphoric First World with handouts.

Fear is probably not an issue – the relics; the greedy ‘old school thinkers’ of the pre-baby-boomer industrial age are almost extinct – they are old now – they will soon die off.

Many motivational speakers keep telling us Its all about attitude, or positive mental thinking, whilst the politicians say we need to keep spending to get ourselves out of the recession. is this enough /right?

Motivational speakers want you to succeed (which is a good thing) it’s in their DNA and they are right in my opinion – it is truly about attitude, without high self esteem and positive mental attitude society would be listening to politicians (whom I might add are pretty short on leadership and good ideas right now) who are reacting to spin and rhetoric dressed up as public opinion. Politicians today act only on short term events. Politics is about power – and power is all about what you can control.

That’s about to change – society is far more open today. Young people think and act – some may think it’s because they are precocious – perhaps? They do know what is good and they know what is special and they care about people – and they know what freedom looks and feels like because the upcoming world, demands freedom, as it demands air to breathe; and you know what freedom is all about don’t you? Freedom is about what you can unleash – freedom is about “Thick ‘n Deep” value for humanity!

The politician telling to spend your way out of the recession is acting out a party ideology in a bid to stay in control – which ultimately means they are not civil servants and guardians anymore are they?

My money is on the motivational speaker.

Many companies are pulling in their belts and cutting costs in order to survive. Others are thriving and growing even if they are in the same industry. In your opinion What could be the main reasons for this difference?

If they are pulling in belts and cutting costs (that’s what people are, aren’t they costs) then there is probably a cesspool of thin value festering. If you have to pull in your belt for more than 12 months remember you aren’t a slave – you should really go somewhere more exciting – maybe join those who are thriving. Anyone?

Imagine this cutting costs parable. A restaurant that that cuts it’s costs on a 12.95 chicken meal worries me – because instead of “Thick ‘n Deep” chicken value you are getting the thin and cheap version for the same price as the “Thick ‘n Deep”.

Those that are thriving – oh – that’s easy they are delivering value, “Thick ‘n Deep” Value – you know . . . . the stuff that humanity needs.

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