Values are the master players in most business decisions made. For example, value is one of the factors influencing consumer’s purchasing decisions. An organization reaches strategic decisions based on the organization’s values. Lastly, an individual takes decisions based on his personal values. What distinguishes personal values from social values?
Personal values are what an individual holds about life; core beliefs, philosophies and what a person considers worth and holds of high esteems. When we hear of social values, we need to know that it involves a group of people. Social values usually relate to the beliefs of a society, what is deem right or wrong, those values that will keep the well-being of the inhabitants of the society.
In my world of leadership, values influence all decisions we make whether we recognize the impact of our values or not, they will always play a role in our decision-making process. In our activities and in businesses, values give a sense of direction, determination and commitments. For instance, let us consider an organization with values such as customers, trust, honesty, respect and environment, we could see that it is very common for organizations to have both organization values “ an organization as a single entity” and social values – environment. It is very interesting to know that in most organization, personal values – “employees individual values” do not influence business decisions rather social values have a great impact in most organizations decisions as organizations seek to maintain corporate social responsibility. It implies the organizations seek to be social value oriented. It is true and realistic enough in the sense that, it is rare to find employees being fired because they were technical incompetent. Nevertheless, there have been many records of employees’ dismals because their value system over-lapped with that of their organization.
For any personal value or social value to positively influence the decision of a business leader, the value must be related to the mission, values and goal of the business. Leaders who put in practice their personal values in business, understand their values and set examples. They understand the involvement of their personal values in their decision-making processes and the effects of such involvements are always geared towards their organizations’ successes.
As a business leader, I hold integrity of high esteems. It is a good personal or social value which stands as a foundation upon which many other qualities are built, such as; trust, respect and dignity. One time, this personal value of mine played a great role in influencing the business decisions of my company. As a Customer Representative Agent with Express Union Finance S.A, I was directly involved in meeting almost all clients who entered our institution for any financial transaction. Our company brought to the market a new service called Express Union Mobile to enable clients to make transactions using their phones where ever they found themselves. The subscription to this account cost $200 and every transaction made on phone cost $100, far more expensive than creating an ordinary account and making cash-desk transactions.
In the advertisement message designed by the marketing department, they did not mention that, after the subscription cost of $200, every other banking transaction will cost just another $100. I had to advise them to disclose all what it takes to operate such an account to the prospective clients of this account, but the marketing director told me that it was a disguised company’s strategy to get a handful of clients using such an interesting, but expensive service. He went further explaining that it was also an unrevealed advertising message because If clients were told that up to $100 was cut off their accounts for every mobile transaction, those who were interested might not find it at worth. I made my director understand that such a disguised strategy may negatively have an impact on our company. Firstly, the advertisement message will be considered as misleading and early clients – clients who first subscribed may give a bad impression of our company and consequently bad reputation. It was better to send out a complete advertisement message to the public about the new service and get a few ready user try the service knowing what it cost. I also clarified him that an effective service, no matter how expensive the price was, would always attract more corporate clients than hidden messages on using the product.
After a deliberation on this subject, the advertisement message was amended. Guest what happened next? The marketing director was surprised to see that the company made more than the expected turnover in a month for the advertised service.
So, a call to all business leaders is to let them know that whenever you break a moral principle, you make a small crack in your foundation of integrity. Integrity as a value is also a moral principle and a social value which is critical if you want your business to succeed.