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Double Your Profits in Two Years or Less

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Value implementation

The power of values is not generated simply by publicly proclaiming them. It depends entirely on the degree to which they are actually implemented in the day-to-day functioning of the business. Although values themselves are intangible ideas, the process of implementing them is practical and well-known. It is the same process that many companies already use to manage product or service quality, employee morale, regulatory compliance and other values. The implementation can be formal, highly structured and meticulously documented, as in the case of ISO quality procedures, or it can be institutionalized as an informal culture expressed in the attitudes and actions of every employee, which is more common in businesses whose commitment to the values is a long standing part of corporate tradition. But either way, what counts is the actual adherence to the values in practice.

The power of values issues from the fact that they are ever-receding goals. They can never be fully and finally achieved. No matter how good FedEx is in getting parcels delivered on time today, that is no guarantee that it can repeat the same performance tomorrow, unless it continues to strive for higher levels of excellence. No company ever reaches perfection on a single value. Most rarely exceed average performance on more than a handful of values. Every company can dramatically elevate its performance by raising its performance on values.

Regardless of the value, effective value implementation includes the following elements:

⦁ Commitment: Without a firm commitment by top management which is effectively communicated down the line to lower levels, no company can sustain high performance on values in the face of pressures from hungry competitors, demanding shareholders or complacent employees. The management of FedEx demonstrated that commitment by linking executive bonuses to the company’s on time delivery performance, which means they assumed full responsibility. At the global chemical giant DuPont, the first item on the agenda at every meeting of the Board is the company’s performance on safety.

⦁ Standards: Values are intangible qualities. In order to be effectively implemented, they have to be translated into clear, concrete quantitative standards that everyone can understand and adhere to. At Disneyland, cleanliness means not a single piece of paper should be left on the ground. At DuPont, safety means zero accidents. Not just fewer accidents than last year or fewer than the competition, but zero. That standard enabled DuPont to achieve accident rates 67 times better than the US industry average.

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