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The Place Of Corporate Values In A Sea Of Confusion

The Place Of Corporate Values In A Sea Of Confusion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BY THIAGARAJAN RAMAMURTHY

Our beloved country is one of those with a most progressive national constitution. A key measure of a progressive constitution is one that recognises national unity and the essence of national values. The Kenyan Constitution Chapter two, reserves article 10 in detail to handle our national values and principles of governance.

The national values and principles of governance includes patriotism, national unity, sharing and devolution of power, the rule of law, democracy and participation of the people. The article includes appreciation of human dignity, equity, social justice, inclusiveness, equality, human rights, non-discrimination and protection of the marginalised as national values. This, in addition to principles of good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability; and sustainable development.

See, in life, national or personal values are the back bone of an institution or an industry. Some call it the foundation on which legendary brands have been built over the years. There truly is something about the values of Daimler Benz, Toyota, Amazon, Google or General Electric that elicit pride and provide market differentiation.

Various scholars confirm that values enhance the brand equity and provide sustainability to a business considering the response from the consumers through loyalty. Lack of values for this reason can be detrimental to business growth. Typically, values are reflected as a culture of the organisation and they are saliently felt and recognised by the consumers through exceptional experience of the products, service, prices, and behaviour at all times.

Unfortunately, values do not denote a weather-based fashion that you apply depending on the prevailing economic condition. It’s not a start-stop approach for example as far as integrity is concerned or compassion for that matter. Meeting the social obligations, ethics and governance and employee and customer friendly policies are all inbuilt into the values system. Count the Global brands of today and look at their Unique Selling Points and their positioning.

It is an interesting analysis to do to learn something good to copy on and adapt. For example, as a local beverage producer, what values can you learn and dare to adapt from say Diageo or The Coca-Cola Company? These value system helps manage the morale of the stake holders, particularly the employees, which is imperative. The personal ownership factor is well addressed if the culture of the organisation has trickled down to the bottom of the pyramid.

The leadership should walk the talk. The policies must be clear and simple. The empowerment must be adapted as part of the process and system and maintained day and night. Preaching water and drinking wine will always be counterproductive to any effort geared at fostering a solid corporate culture. As with any other behavioural change aspect, the integrity or honest value demonstrated at every level of the business must attract rewards and recognition.

For progressive companies’ innovation arising from sound research and development frameworks is a crucial part of the value system for corporate sustainability. The leadership must be inspiring to build capacity and synergy. Punctuality, efficiency, quality, timely delivery, customer centricity, win-win approaches in negotiations, being above board and meeting all statutory obligations, being proactive, progressive HR policies, customer retention and loyalty are all values to consider.

True living of these values will create an impact in the minds of the stake holders. The employees, being the first customer will reflect on this positively and feel proud to be a part of this exercise. The very fact of wearing a branded shirt for example, declares to oneself and the public that you are a proud owner of the brand and you represent it well through your behaviour. This gives a different profile to an employee in the public eye. Just as a police uniform denotes law and order and with it comes some level of public expectation. Besides the strategy, every global brand believes in values which support their growth and sustainability for decades. It is a great learning for upcoming businesses and startups.

Even in these uncertain covid-19 pandemic times, values are the invaluable texture of the fabric which provides the longevity and a 360 degrees approach for your business. Try it.

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