February 23, 2012

Your values… my values?

The business development coordinator of an international company with a turnover of 4 billion dollars, visiting our client, started to give information about his company and said, “The most important issue for us is our staff.” During his speech I asked him, “What are the other values of your company?” His answer included only technical subjects. Thinking that maybe I hadn’t understood his reply, I asked him if they had their company values in written format. They didn’t.

One of the first questions that we ask the potential acquirers of our clients is about their values. As we review them with our client, we can obtain valuable clues concerning the success or failure of a future together with the prospect.

At the start of our projects we determine the expectations of our clients concerning the values of a prospective partner because it is very hard to form a successful partnership between two companies whose values are not similar. This problem is more pronounced if the managers of the larger company do not know what their values are or if those values change from one person to the other in their company. In such cases, it is almost not possible not to experience problems both during and after the sales of company shares.

Up to date my best experience concerns a Swiss company. When I asked my question about the written values of their company, the company’s CEO took out from his briefcase a folded brochure, Our Values, which could easily be carried in the pocket of a shirt. He emphasized its importance by saying, “Every employee should carry this list in his/her pocket. We need to have the same values to achieve the same goals.”

What are the values of your company? Are they available in written form?

The oldie of the week: ABBA – The day before you came (1982)

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