24 Sep 2020

Why value and values matter more than ever | Mark Carter

A quote by Mark Carter

Why value and values matter more than ever

There are increasing studies and research highlighting the impact values have on the two groups of people that matter most to the survival, revival and thriving of every business: employees and customers.

A 2019 Nielsen study of employees (especially millennials) found over 70% consider the ethos and impact of a company when considering who they should give their talents to. Often it’s of greater importance than remuneration packages.


Additionally when you read case studies from people like Latia Curry, a principle with Rally Communications, it’s clear customers feel the same way.

People will gladly stand in the ring corner of the businesses using a powerful combination of ‘issue fluency’ and ‘structural investment’ to tackle important issues.

Conversely, those businesses that only scratch the surface of living their values or, worse, those who are perceived as willfully ignorant, suffer the consequences. This often takes the form of backlash, fading popularity, negative press and / or dropping market share en masse.

The manner with which individuals and companies operated was already under increasing public scrutiny, even prior to the challenges of 2020: think Royal Commissions and political pushbacks. In a world where we’ve all been locked away, we’re reflecting on values more than ever.


The value model relevant for business

The framework I’m finally releasing, after almost 2 decades, helps give context and balance for both personal and professional growth. The framework is a roadmap for businesses, containing clues and tips on how to build and add value in the new economies.

Consciously create the culture you wish championed:

Everyone joining your team brings their own unique identity, strengths, even differences.

Where attention to detail when bringing values to life through behaviours (not data driven reports or results alone) is lost, the culture is also frequently forfeited. When considering the wall posters of words encompassing your values, ask yourself two hard-hitting questions:

How can we get more people embodying all values with consistency?
What can we do better to measure and reward behaviours: on top of results?


Maintain stability in four primary pillars contributing to overall culture

We’ve seen the evolution of a more casual nature welcomed in business: think aspects such as required dress, downtime for games or even work from home. With a relaxed nature it’s important to ensure the administrative culture pillar is maintained via a critical playbook of policies: clear enough to follow, not so convoluted as to be lost.

The second culture pillar of performance reaffirms that results are vitally important. Without aspirational goals, or personal accountability towards profitability, you may as well wind up your entity from the shelves of ASIC and become a dot.org instead. Make sure everyone has individual goal clarity and that those individual goals simultaneously tie into the overall strategy, vision and values of the business.

In a rapidly evolving world (it’s estimated over 90% of all information in existence has been created in the last couple of years) it’s well overdue that the third culture pillar, a learning culture, is embedded through both an appreciation and commitment to continual learning.

In a world pre COVID-19, development was too frequently thrown aside or put off due to being busy. In a world living with COVID-19, learning may be overlooked responding to shifting sands or other pressing issues and priorities.

The reality is that learning is personal growth, mindset, resilience, adaptability, empathy and a whole host of other critical soft (hard!) skills. Skills required now more than ever. That’s on top of the functional skills or tech awareness needed to function and remain competitive in the digital age.

The fourth pillar of culture, often seen as the Holy Grail, beckons you to continue being perceived as unique and innovative. This is achieved through those creative mechanisms and soft touches.

It’s important to keep infusing and inspiring your teams with fun and passion. Continue to cultivate an environment of authenticity, openness, idea sharing and experiences. Just make sure the other three pillars (administrative processes, performance coaching and continual learning) underpin the fun stuff. That way there’s substance and depth to your business rather than just a good-looking facade.

We are, after all, in the experience economy – so creativity is required with employees and customers alike.

Refresh your points of difference

In addition to employee and customer experience, there are two other components of the experience economy: your brand and products. Which leads to a final quick tip.

The world has changed. Which means the relevance of products and services have too. Even in normal times, as a market leader, or where challenges aren’t forcing your entire business to pirouette (rather than pivot!) on a dime like a polished ballerina, we still need to periodically refresh our unique selling points and differentiators. The world around, including our competition, is always in a state of evolution, so we must too.

Make sure to ask for candid and creative input from a variety of people in your teams and refresh your offerings against two essential ingredients:

How unique are aspects of our product or service compared to market?
How ‘valuable’ are aspects for a customer or end user (‘value’ here means delivering a significant desire or resolving a significant pain)?

If the answer to those two questions isn’t ‘high’ on both counts, it’s high time to revisit the drawing board or your innovative brains trust. Find a way to make it so.

What is value, really?

I’m delighted to finally release a body of work I’ve been working on for a long, long time. My inaugural TEDxCasey talk was like the movie trailer for the model. Add Value, published by Wiley, is the deep dive model.

We already have a keynote presentation ready for corporates to bring the model practically to life. The unique style of live presentation contains a cinematic visual storytelling backdrop which was in video production alone for 6 months.

I think right now the single thing to ponder may be the origins of the word itself, given how much we throw the word value around or the fact that our values underpin all our decisions.

The etymology of the value(s) is rooted in Latin, valere, Middle English, valois, and adapted from the French, valoir.

To be of worth, moral worth.

Do your best, your utmost best, to be that.

Mark Carter is an international keynote speaker, trainer and coach: exclusive to ICMI. He has over 20 years’ experience as a global learning and development professional. He is the founder of a learning management system for individuals and SME’s and a regular contributor to mainstream media. His TEDx talk ‘Paws and Effect: how teddy bears increase value perception was the movie trailer for his latest book Add Value.

For more information or to gain access to sample chapters of Mark’s new book, click here.

Learn more about Mark here


Brand advocacy, Latia Curry, case studies in HBR: https://hbr.org/2020/08/how-brands-can-follow-through-on-the-values-theyre-selling

Nielsen studies and research source: https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/report/2015/the-sustainability-imperative-2/

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