Become a Value Driven Organization

value driven organization

Work sure has changed over the years. Technology has given us more access to information and faster ways to analyze, design, and develop that information. It has also blurred the lines between personal and work time. Our work environment has become much more casual too, from dress to business protocol.

One thing that has not changed much, however, is how we perceive work. Work is still viewed very generically. A minimum amount of time has to be put in during a defined time period. This is when the company owns its employees and expects a reasonable amount of effort be expended. Each person is given a specific number of days off, set of health benefits, and policies to follow. In the end, a person puts in a fair day’s work and gets a fair day’s pay. For the most part everyone is treated the same with the exception of a few perks based on longevity with the company.

Within a specific skill set there is believed to be little variability in work as there is little deviation in effort and hours. If the only thing that separates one person from another is the salary they are paid, then work is a commodity where:

There are two problems with this view. First, with commodities, margins must be tightly managed so costs (salary) are always under pressure to be lowered while maintaining existing production levels (work). Often this environment leads to an unintended downward spiral in production and quality. The second and more important problem is that work is seen as the product. But, customers don’t buy work they buy value. Shouldn’t our view of work be aligned with what we are trying to create for our customers?

However, if we focus on the value we are trying to create for our customers it forces us to understand the value chain within our organization and each person’s link in that chain. With this perception of work, value becomes the desired end for each person where:

Having employees focused on the value they generate makes them responsible for ensuring the benefit they produce hits the mark and is much greater than their cost (salary) expended. Plus it drives employees to focus their effort on activities that will apply greater value to the organization’s value chain, hence increasing the value to the customer.

This switch to a value driven organization does not come easy and changes will need to be made. Specifically, you should:

  • Dethrone effort in your workplace. The current view of work focuses on effort which is a means to an end. Value driven organizations focus on results, and benefits are the result. Play down each employee’s number of hours worked, work schedule, and years worked for the company. Get comfortable with the idea that someone could create the same value in a two hour period of time that another person creates in a week, and that is ok. You have to start treating people differently seeking ways to help each person create the most value possible.
  • Highlight each employee’s link in the value chain. Each employee should know and understand their link at its purest level. An Employee’s primary focus should be on consistently providing value to the chain. If they are sick, want to go on vacation, or attend some training it is their responsibility for insuring that consistency.
  • View an employee’s life as a blend of personal time and work. You expect work time to interrupt personal time when there is a great need. You should also expect an employee’s personal life to interrupt work. You can no longer have the view that during business hours you own that employee. If they are surfing the web for clothes or leaving to go watch their child’s activities during business hours you should have no problem with it.
  • Make employees responsible for their own growth. It is the employee’s responsibility to prepare themselves for generating higher levels of benefit. The organization may provide the funds for certain training, but the employee needs to identify the areas and means.
  • Know your employees’ value. You and each employee need to be keenly aware of the benefit they have provided and are currently providing. You also have to be aware of their past and current salary levels. When the gap between the two curves begins to diminish (assuming benefit is higher than salary) then the value they are producing is diminishing too. Something has to change or they will not be around regardless of their longevity with the company. If they are underpaid then this needs to be corrected as well.

Many highly respected and successful organizations have begun the transition of becoming value driven. And, it is highly likely this transition can be accomplished without even interfering with your overall company policies. Go ahead and take jump in. It will be a rich and rewarding experience for you and your employees.