What Happens When Values Guide a Business

What Happens When Values Guide a Business

  • Posted by admin
  • On January 30, 2015
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What Happens When Values Guide a Business


In many of the large companies I have worked for, it would be hard not to know, or at least be able to find, the values that the company stands for. Oftentimes, the values are posted on the walls throughout the company.


What I find interesting though, is that the values the company purports as its own are often:

  1. Common to many companies
  2. Generic enough that every company should have that characteristic as a value, i.e. honesty
  3. Aspirational in that the company WANTS its employees to have these values


When I see a company with these common values, I have numerous questions about them. What do these generic values mean? How does the company plan to implement them? What makes one company with these values different from or better than another with identical values? The list of questions goes on and on.


At Four Pillars Investors, the situation is somewhat different. We did not pick values that we thought sounded good. Our values actually mean something to us. Our values are important, and they are laid out clearly right from the start.


Sometimes when I am explaining our values to other individuals, I get a little uncomfortable because I can tell that having such strong values is foreign to them. I certainly am not surprised by that, but having meaningful values actually helps the business succeed.


Perhaps it sounds like a bold claim that our values help our business succeed. You might be curious as to how that happens. One way is easy to explain: decision making. There have been numerous times that we had to make a difficult decision. How do you select the best option from several viable options? In those cases, we look to our values. If one option, for example, requires us to seek growth, then that might be the deciding factor.


Another time when our values are definitely major factors is during the hiring and selection process. During any interview, we always ask whether our values are consistent with the candidate’s values. Most of our candidates know that the correct answer is “Yes.” However, we can usually cut the wheat from the chaff by asking how they actually live those values each day.


This is where the concept of implementation comes in. Unlike many companies with generic values, here at Four Pillars Investors we actually integrate our values into the daily operations of our company. We know that listing our values isn’t enough. We also live by them. Of course, having and implementing good core business values certainly isn’t a panacea, but there are demonstrable and meaningful benefits to having them. Do you agree?


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