When I assist companies to identify their company values, one of the most popular choices is “Do what it takes.” Unfortunately, this value is dysfunctional as it encourages people to do whatever it takes to succeed – and for many, this means crossing the line into approaches that are iffy at best and illegal at worst.
For example, in 2015 the press reported that Toshiba had overstated profits by $1.2 billion over the previous 7 years. The root cause of this fraud goes back to 2008 when Atsutoshi Nishida was in charge. His version of “Do what it takes” was “Get it done like your life depends on it.” And the accounting staff got it done. Unfortunately, this core value placed a strong stressor on the corporate culture and the methods for achieving the numbers were illegal and cost Toshiba millions in fines and even more in bad press.
The moral of this story is simple, you can pay a little now to identify functional core values and strengthen your company culture or you can pay a lot more later. And don’t mislead yourself into thinking that this could only occur at a large corporation. I chose this example because of its shock value. There are many more examples from small businesses, even not-for-profits, where the losses sustained may have been substantially less than $1.2 billion. However, the losses were enough to cause many of these businesses to go out of business.
So what can you do today to gain business clarity among all your employees about how you expect business to be conducted?