Monday, September 12, 2011

Values Penetration Index

A few minutes ago, I, along with millions of others, received an email from the CEO of Borders bookstores announcing the end of their 40 year enterprise. I don’t know much about what caused the company to fold, but something struck me in CEO Mike Edward’s email:

“I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to lead Borders and play a role in the true and noble cause of expanding access to books and promoting the joy of reading.”

I was moved by this simple but profound mission. It felt important, like it was about increasing happiness in the world. It felt larger than profits and market share. And I felt all of this despite not being able to remember the last time I went to a Borders and having no real loyalty to the store.

I wonder what it would be like to work at Borders if you felt that was your mission: to promote the joy of reading. What if your job first and foremost - whether you were in sales, customer service, shipping, accounting, or janitorial services - was to bring more happiness into people’s lives through the experience of books? What if you knew that this was the express mission of every single person in the company and you were reminded of this in a million small ways every day? What if at your holiday parties, staff meetings, and individual reviews, this was the goal that was discussed and strategized first? That feels pretty powerful and quite unifying. I could imagine it being a lot of fun too.

A lot of companies have compelling missions and values. The real question is do these missions and values percolate down to the employees and influence their actions and experiences? Or are they merely pithy claims which remain confined to web sites and employee handbooks?

If you’re running a company, a non-profit, a government agency, or a pick up sports team, I think the above questions are critical. What is your Values Penetration Index (VPI) - the degree to which your group’s values are reflected in the day to day experience and actions of your employees and volunteers? The greater the VPI, the higher the happiness quotient among employees and customers. Ultimately, this means better business and better service.

Now, to apply the VPI to myself as an individual: do the values I write about and dream about percolate down to my daily interactions and decisions?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading this VPI concept which should be the integral part of all busineses. In our present business culture sucess is meassured only by the profitability in terms of $ with out much regard to the means of acheving it.Financial sucess has become the basic corporation culture instead of value of the service they prvide whcih can be very delightful for evry one working with in the corporation.
What can be done to create VPI culture as the primary goal of the corporate world arroung the world ?.