Should Creating Value Be Part of Leadership and Education

Posted June 7, 2021 by Customer Value Foundation
Categories: Business & Management

In HBR Ryan Gottfredson and Chris Reina wrote, and I quote 

Organizations worldwide spend roughly $356 billion on leadership development efforts. Yet, the Brandon Hall Group, a human capital research and analyst firm that surveyed 329 organizations in 2013, found that 75% of the organizations rated their leadership development programs as not very effective. Why aren’t companies getting more bang for their leadership development buck? Our latest research suggests it’s likely because most leadership development efforts overlook a specific attribute that is foundational to how leaders think, learn, and behave: their mindsets.

That is why focus on training education and in particular, and whether the MBA program truly creates leaders or just imparts knowledge.

Leaders are born, often by circumstances, sometimes by opportunities, but most often by attitudes and mindsets.

My 7As for executives holds for leaders also:

Awareness: Leaders must be aware of things around them, they must be curious, they must want to know more

Attitude: The must have a super attitude, positive, forward thinking and multi-dimensional. Able to be strategic and innovative to practical. Some are functional in nature. Mind-set plays a major role

Ability: Much of this is innate, but some comes from learning and experience. A great mind-set helps here

Agility: This comes from a mind-set and mental make-up

Adaptability: Being able to change with circumstances

Anticipation: Being able to be ahead of others by forward thinking and view. Part of this comes from a 6th sense which is developed in your mind

Ambidextrousness: Capability of doing more than one thing at a time; capacity to think of different things

MBAs are taught functional things. And they are great at these, and in playing what ifs. But the focus on mindset is limited. No one teaches value creation.


I say why not a mindset to get things done, to be liked, to believing in one self, and in history and tradition.

My own experience is that mindset changes during times and situation and most leaders are a complex combination of all of these. In the good all days, we tried ego drive, social drives, tradition and learning drives and the impatience to get things done.

Too much is taught about functional issues and traits but not about true mind set. One that is value creation is a thought process, is a mind-set that makes your training, your background, your psychological needs focus on creating value. How do we teach this which is not taught in MBA programs?

Mindsets are set from childhood experience, likes and dislikes, events and people. Mindset is influenced by books we read, our teachers and parents.

In later life, leadership coaches teach traits and functional changes we need.

Creating Value is a way of thinking. It, if part of the mind-set, becomes a very powerful leadership tool by guiding the thinking towards positive leadership to do good and improve the well being and worth of institutions. Because of its 7As it provides tools to be pro-active. The earlier creating value is taught the better impact it has on mindset.

I am not saying a creating value mindset is the only requisite to be a good leader. It is not, but it is a very positive way of thinking and with other traits can make a leader successful.

Executives and leaders are not taught to create value in MBA courses, and indeed in most education. Instead, the focus is on traits, values and functional skills. All are necessary, but the creating value mindset makes you think of doing good, improving the well being of, increasing the worth of people and institutions, and the more refined, the more capable a leader becomes. He can then see things differently, he can weigh different options simultaneously, he is much more aware, he notices things that others might not, he anticipates in a better way. He is much more adaptable in situations, and has an attitude to see things differently and to win. Winning is just for himself but for the best outcome for the team.

George Mason University cites core values (which are actually traits): “Respect, as demonstrated by self-respect and respecting others regardless of differences; treating others with dignity, empathy and compassion; and the ability to earn the respect of others, making a difference are all traits. Integrity, authenticity, courage, service, humility, wisdom etc. are values.”

Modesto A. Maidique and Nathan J. Hiller is academic director of the university’s Centre for Leadership in MIT divide core mindsets into Sociopath when you serve no one, the Egoist who serves the self, the Chameleon who is good to anyone, the Dynamo who serves goals, the Builder who serves the institution(institution) and the Transcender, who serves society. Everyone has a mix of these, and these mixes can change with circumstances. Thus, you may become amore of a transcender when needed and so on.

That is why it is important for leaders to think of their purpose, and whom they serve.

This is the like the 4 basic traits we look at in people, their ego trait, a social trait, their drive (seen as impatience) and the traditional looking traits where your learning, your traditions, history tend to drive you. The latter are good scholars. The relative importance of these four traits (and we can measure them) determines your personality.

The fact is we are not one self but a combination of many senses that must be controlled by a creating value attitude.

In her wonderful book, Working Identity, author and leadership expert Herminia Ibarra wrote: “We are not one true self but many selves and these identities exist not only in the past and present but also, and most importantly, in the future.

I quote from literature:

Mindsets are leaders’ mental lenses that dictate what information they take in and use to make sense of and navigate the situations they encounter. Simply, mindsets drive what leaders do and why. For example, they explain why two different leaders might encounter the same situation (e.g., a subordinate disagreement) and process and respond to it very differently. One leader might see the situation as a threat that hinders their authority; another as an opportunity to learn and further develop. When leadership development efforts ignore mindsets, they ignore how leaders see and interpret problems and opportunities like this.

Lolly Daskal, thinks of leaders from a point of view of values and traits. Gleeson in Forbes’ talks of traits like openness, ambition, desire for ROI, belief that its important, fear of Consequences of Inaction, soul-Searching, commitment to Self-Improvement.

This might seem obvious, but the best leaders see leadership as excellence and a constant journey as opposed to a destination. They are never truly satisfied with the status quo always asking, “How can I improve?” They are life-long learners and always ripe for growth, he adds.

I feel that we are more comfortable talking about functional things and not the mind set so necessary in a crisis, in a situation requiring change, fast action (or even inaction if necessary)

Bob Dunham of Institute of Generative Leadership talks about a value creation culture:
If we are going to grow a value-creating culture, we need to see that organizations exist to create value, not just to get things done. If what we are doing isn’t valuable, then it likely is waste. As leaders, we want to help our teams, organizations, and communities go from cultures that focus only on excellence in execution to cultures of value creation.

He calls it a field of action that has structure, process, and skills. It’s something that can be learned and grown over time, and it is becoming more of a competitive necessity in a changing world.

We need to make value creation a practice and a skill.

He emphasises that value is as seen by the customer or the beholder

Yes, creating value is an essential part of leadership and education and must be embedded in both, through mindset and thinking.

Best,

Gautam Mahajan, President, Customer Value Foundation
Founder Editor, Journal of Creating Value jcv.sagepub.com
New Delhi 110065 +91 98100 60368
mahajan@customervaluefoundation.com
http://www.customervaluefoundation.com
Twitter @ValueCreationJ
Blogs: https://customervaluefoundation.wordpress.com/
Author of Value Creation, Total Customer Value Management, Customer Value Investment, How Creating Customer Value Makes you a Great Executive, The Value Imperative, Value Dominant Logic, Customer Value Starvation
Come to the Fourth Global Conference on Creating Value, September 21-23, 2021 e-conference
Join the Creating Value Alliance at creatingvalue.c

THE POWER OF VALUE

Posted May 22, 2021 by Customer Value Foundation
Categories: Business & Management

CVF ARTICLE OF THE WEEK

The real power of value, the real importance and significance of value, the true value of value is that value is what we all seek for ourselves. We want to create value for ourselves and our associates and connections which includes our families, firms and society, country and so forth, making value most valuable to us because it makes us more valuable. While creating value for others we co-create value for ourselves. We empower others. This process makes us aware of what is happening around us and that value is all around us, and that we can create more value for the greater good including ourselves, and that value is waiting to happen.

That is why value is so important to you and your connections, your families. The true power of creating value is that the process creates value for you.

I wrote an article on Power and Value, and focused on whether Power can create or destroy value. The conclusion was unbridled use of power destroys value.

However, in that article, we dd not focus on the power of value. In other words, is value powerful and does it create power?

Value, especially when created for others, creates more value for the giver. The more value the giver gives, and without expectation, the more power he gets and the more value he gets back. This power could be in the form of respect, or in terms of fame or in advancement. It could also be monetary.

Giving without any expectation (of returns) is the best kind of value giving. Thinking of a quid pro quo is how most giving is done, and is how companies should work. Giving selfishly and meaninglessly is the worst form of giving.

Giving selflessly is creating great value for yourself and the recipient. The power of this value is immense. It gives you blessings and future good that you can use. It is like banking value for the future.

So, Value happens when you do something good or improve the well-being of people and entities.

Value is powerful, because if you are creating it, people notice you and think of you positively, and consider you worthy of power and fame. Value is powerful because when you create value for others, they mark you as value creators and therefore leaders and better than others who are not creating as much value as you. In business, bosses recognise those who create value more than they notice just good performers. The people who get ahead are value creators. Many people become powerful not because they set out to get power but because power comes to them because of the value they created. This power, generally that value creators achieve, if not misused but used meaningfully to create more value for others is good power to have.

This is the power of creating value.

In addition, customers recognise a company as a value creator, and tend to buy from the company creating the most value.

Companies that create value for their stakeholders are preferred and succeed. Stakeholders and customers reward them by creating value for such companies in return. This value creation is often monetary and seen as profits, or with potential to create profits, like loyalty or referrals to the company.

Creating Value is executing normal, conscious, inspired, and even imaginative actions that increase the overall good and well-being, and the worth of and for ideas, goods, services, people or institutions including society, and all stakeholders (like employees, customers, partners, shareholders and society), and value waiting to happen.

Based on this definition, we want to improve the overall good for or improve the well-being or worth of people, companies, goods and services, and stakeholders including the society and the environment.

Thus, companies have to do good for or improve the worth or well-being of these various stakeholders. Taken by itself, it may appear to be one sided. After all there is no question that companies exist to create value for themselves and to make a profit. They are not meant to be purely charitable organisations.  This was the point that Milton Friedman clearly made in his infamous 1970 New York Times Magazine editorial,  “In the present climate of opinion, with its widespread aversion to “capitalism,” “profits,” the “soulless corporation” and so on, this is one way for a corporation to generate goodwill as a by‐product of expenditures that are entirely justified in its own self‐interest. “Thus, companies have to extract value from stakeholders to be profitable, and if in the process they need to say something to generate goodwill, so be it”. This, crudely, was the profit motive. However, if the purpose is also to create value for stakeholders, who in turn create value for the company then this becomes meaningful. Such value created by stakeholders for the company can be extracted. Of course, it is important the stakeholder feels value is being created for them. This becomes a win-win situation. Such value creates power.

What is important is that the company must realise they are the first movers within the value creation process. They have to create value for the customer, who in turn decides to buy from the company based on the value the company has created for him or her and other stakeholders. In making this decision to buy, the customer most likely is looking at the whether the company is adding or destroying value for society and the environment and other stakeholders.

When the customer buys, they hopefully give the company value which is partially profit, partially long-term loyalty etc.

Likewise, companies have value created for them when they create value for society, the environment and other stakeholders. This is the power of creating value for stakeholders.

As a reader, Zain-Ul-Abedin commented: “when power gains value then system drains, when value gains power then law and justice prevails and society flourish, this is when right is might, and it negates might is right.”

Therefore, do create value for others and taste the power of value.

The older article is below.

POWER AND VALUE

Gautam Mahajan Gautam.mahajan@gmail.com

D. Sudarshan former Dean of and Prof Emeritus, U of Kentucky said to me that power creates value and is the ultimate value. He said the goal is also to empower stakeholders, and that of course includes customers. That empowering creates value is true.

Power assumes the right to control oneself, one’s environment, and others. Personal empowerment assumes no such power over others, but recognizes complete responsibility for self and the choices made by self. Those sound-like pretty clear definitions, but the urge to exert power over others might blur the lines between each. So, we need to clarify.

To me, power is one of the rewards people or companies look for beyond money or profits or instead of them (they feel money will come to them because of power; or the reverse, power will come to them because of money). We have always said profits follow value creation, and so does power if sought: it follows from creation of value. So, the more you create and the more you get the richer you get and the more powerful.

Fame is yet another item people seek (or being known). This is almost as important to power seekers as money may be.

However, there are people who may achieve fame without seeking power. These are people creating value for others and not for themselves, and they create more value than power and fame seeking people, who tend to destroy value also. Some college professors are examples of creating immense value for others.

Unfortunately, there is the possibility of pursuing and possessing too much power. Unbridled power, i.e., power improperly used can and perhaps will destroy value just as will profit creation absent empowering customers. Some people feel only a tremendous amount of power can create value. This is a mistaken notion. For example, monopolies sooner or later get regulated or even broken up. Excessive power can be seen as a power imbalance and nature abhors imbalances, except in entropy- that too only as far as we know (who knows what black matter and black energy do for entropy!). Customers will form buying clubs or cooperatives either formal or informal in structure- neighbours helping neighbours.

The message is that power should not be misused. Such misuse causes value destruction for others.

The ultimate customer loyalty is when empowered customers choose a brand/firm over others because it serves them better and they see more value from them.

Empowerment creates value. Value is created when you empower someone, and empowered people create value.

Beware of powerful people and moneyed people who wish to wield their power and impose themselves on others. They are destroyers of value.

Today in Covid times in India, hoarders and black-marketers exert their power over hapless citizens by controlling medicines and oxygen (and concentrators), hospital rooms and so forth.

May the curse be with them.

Best,


Gautam Mahajan, President, Customer Value Foundation

Founder Editor, Journal of Creating Value jcv.sagepub.com

New Delhi 110065 +91 98100 60368

mahajan@customervaluefoundation.com

http://www.customervaluefoundation.com

Twitter @ValueCreationJ

Blogs: https://customervaluefoundation.wordpress.com/

Author of Value Creation, Total Customer Value Management, Customer Value Investment, How Creating Customer Value Makes you a Great Executive, The Value Imperative, Value Dominant Logic,     Customer Value Starvation

Come to the Fourth Global Conference on Creating Value, September 21-23, 2021 e-conference

Join the Creating Value Alliance at creatingvalue.co

Power and Value

Posted May 16, 2021 by Customer Value Foundation
Categories: Business & Management

by Gautam Mahajan, gautam.mahajan@gmail.com

D. Sudarshan former Dean of and Prof Emeritus, U of Kentucky said to me that power creates value and is the ultimate value. He said the goal is also to empower stakeholders, and that of course includes customers. That empowering creates value is true.

Power assumes the right to control oneself, one’s environment, and others. Personal empowerment assumes no such power over others, but recognizes complete responsibility for self and the choices made by self. Those sound like pretty clear definitions, but the urge to exert power over others might blur the lines between each. So, we need to clarify.

To me, power is one of the rewards people or companies look for beyond money or profits or instead of them (they feel money will come to them because of power; or the reverse, power will come to them because of money). We have always said profits follow value creation, and so do power if sought: it follows from creation of value. So, the more you create and the more you get the richer you get and the more powerful.

Fame is yet another thing people seek (or being known). This is almost as important to power seekers as money may be.

However, there are people who mat achieve fame without seeking power. These are people creating value for others and not for themselves, and they create more value than power and fame seeking people, who tend to destroy value also.

Unfortunately, there is the possibility of pursuing and possessing too much power. Unbridled power, i.e., power improperly used can and perhaps will destroy value just as will profit creation absent empowering customers. Some people feel only a tremendous amount of power can create value. This is a mistaken notion. For example, monopolies sooner or later get regulated or even broken up. Excessive power can be seen as a power imbalance and nature abhors imbalances, except in entropy- that too only as far as we know (who knows what black matter and black energy do for entropy!). Customers will form buying clubs or cooperatives either formal or informal in structure- neighbours helping neighbours.

The ultimate customer loyalty is when empowered customers choose a brand/firm over others because it serves them better and they see more value from them.

Empowerment creates value. Value is created when you empower someone, and empowered people create value.

Beware of powerful people and moneyed people who wish to wield their power and impose themselves on others. They are destroyers of value.

Today in Covid times in India, hoarders and black-marketers exert their power over hapless citizens by controlling medicines and oxygen (and concentrators), hospital rooms and so forth.

May the curse be with them.

Gautam Mahajan, President, Customer Value Foundation 

Founder Editor, Journal of Creating Value jcv.sagepub.com

New Delhi 110065 +91 98100 60368
mahajan@customervaluefoundation.com  www.customervaluefoundation.com  

Twitter @ValueCreationJ  Blogs: https://customervaluefoundation.wordpress.com/     Author of Value CreationTotal Customer Value ManagementCustomer ValueInvestmentHow Creating Customer Value Makes you a Great Executive  The Value Imperative,Value Dominant  Logic,  Customer Value Starvation can Kill (with Walter Vieira)

Join the Creating Value Alliance at creatingvalue.co

The Covid Blame Game

Posted May 1, 2021 by Customer Value Foundation
Categories: Business & Management

By Gautam Mahajan, gautam.mahajan@gmail.com

Indians have become experts at the blame game, especially during Covid times. Some blame is politically motivated, other is just trying to find a scapegoat. No one wants to look at these problems objectively and whether they are to blame also.

Have you ever thought: Does Covid come to my house selectively, looking for me? Or do I allow it to come in? The answer of course is that if we are careful, and do not have outside contact and do not let our maids in, do not let delivery boys in, do not let friends in, Covid cannot come into our house and infect us. When we start letting people in, chances keep increasing for Covid to enter and infect us.

Second, if we do not go out, Covid cannot infect us. However, if we go out, chances are ever increasing depending on the circumstances that we will be exposed to Covid attack.

Take people who insist on playing golf, of meeting friends (even selectively) over coffee, walking next to people, attending parties, attending weddings, going shopping, going into crowded areas. These people are exposing themselves to Covid.

Thus, the first person we have to blame is ourselves.
Yes, I know there are circumstances you cannot avoid. My friend, a JNU professor had to spend 5 full days at National Testing exams in Okhla. Or the unfortunate people having election duty and coming in contact with the public, or cops, or health workers. Or you have to go out just to make a living, or get essential supplies.

The Government and also the people have to accept the blame for going to the Kumbh or attending political rallies where the public and the political parties are to blame. People did not have to go to the Kumbh or to rallies.

Then we come to the crisis in hospitals due to Covid cases.

First the number of cases were minimal in February 2021.  There were zero deaths for the first time in 10 months. 90% of the hospital beds were empty. The positivity rate in Delhi dropped to 0.18 per cent.

Today there were 391 deaths yesterday and over 24000 new cases reported and a positivity rate of 33%. No wonder the hospitals are full.

Are all the Covid infected people that are hospitalised really requiring hospital treatment? One neighbour entered hospital because it was too difficult for his wife to take care of him.

We never heard of oxygen as a serious treatment till a few days ago, and now there is a full blown oxygen shortage. We had heard of ventilator shortages. Were the hospitals not aware of this need? Was the Government the only one to be concerned about this?

Who is to blame for this huge spike in admissions?  Is it the new strains of corona? Or the government for allowing Kumbh and mass gatherings? People for going to these knowing the dangers? But the spike in Maharashtra pre dated the Kumbh and the elections.

How about those people with Covid, hiding the fact they have Covid?

And then there is black marketing, hoarding and indiscriminate buying of medicines. Here again the people and the private/public sector must share the blame. The false information on social media getting people to buy and stock indiscriminately is also to blame.

I think we all share the blame collectively, the people (that is us), the distributors and middlemen and the central government and the state governments.

The time has come for us to stop the blame game, and each one takes his responsibility seriously and acts on it. Let us stay away, and be masked.

Best,
Gautam Mahajan, President, Customer Value FoundationFounder Editor, Journal of Creating Value jcv.sagepub.com
New Delhi 110065 +91 98100 60368
mahajan@customervaluefoundation.com
http://www.customervaluefoundation.com
Twitter @ValueCreationJ
Blogs: https://customervaluefoundation.wordpress.com/
Author of Value Creation, Total Customer Value Management, Customer Value Investment, How Creating Customer Value Makes you a Great Executive, The Value Imperative, Value Dominant Logic
Join the Creating Value Alliance at creatingvalue.co

Value Washing

Posted April 21, 2021 by Customer Value Foundation
Categories: Business & Management

By Gautam Mahajan and Philip Sugai

Try googling Value Washing. You get washing machines. Which is not what we mean by Value washing a term first used by co-author Prof. Philip Sugai of Doshisha University in Japan in his 2019 article for Campaign magazine.

The unfortunate reality is that we have gotten used to value washing. Many companies make statements they do not follow such as we are customer friendly, we are customer centric, the customer comes first, and we are environmentally friendly. These words are meant to give a warm fuzzy feeling, but fail to actually improve the situation for their customers.

Value washing is a form of fluffy (and often meaningless) statements companies make when describing their work in value creation. This is more common for societal and environmental value creation. However, as one digs deeper, washing is present in all forms of stakeholder value creation whether for customers, for employees or partners. Value washing can happen by using jargon, vague terms, outright lying, irrelevant claims, and often with no proof something is really happening or there is a change in thinking or action actually being set in place.

Often this is just plain white washing and often brain washing.

This happens because:

Many companies have mastered the art of washing by giving meaningless statements and platitudes to customers for years. They keep saying we are customer centric etc. but they are not. They in turn may actually believe what they are saying, but never put in place actual metrics to measure their results, nor transparently disclose these so that an outside authority can judge whether or not they are indeed doing what they say.

This also happens when companies begin to write about issues that are currently trending, in order to improve traffic to their websites or social media accounts without actually offering anything concrete. Value creation for stakeholders has become fashionable, and companies feel they have to show they are doing something. Therefore, the fluff and meaninglessness of the words that they use relative to their actions.

To do so, let us explore what value is and how it is washed for each of the following stakeholders, whether customer, employee, partner, society or Nature. We start with a well-known term, green washing.

Greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company is environmentally friendly or the company’s products are more environmentally sound. Greenwashing is considered an unsubstantiated claim to deceive consumers into believing that a company’s products are environmentally friendly. (Taken from Investopedia)

An example of greenwashing is the multinational oil and gas corporation ExxonMobil indicating they were reducing greenhouse gas emissions while they were actually increasing. (January 20, 2021 article)

“Greenwashing” refers to fashion companies claiming that their products are environmentally friendly, when often they are not. Examples of greenwashing from companies today include the fast-fashion brands Uniqlo, H&M, and Lululemon — which are popular with college students.03-Mar-2020

Let’s contrast this definition with the meaning of value creation:

Creating Value is executing normal, conscious, inspired, and even imaginative actions that increase the overall good and well-being, and the worth of and for ideas, goods, services, people or institutions including society, and all stakeholders (like employees, customers, partners, shareholders and society), and value waiting to happen.

Based on this definition, we want to improve the overall good for or improve the well-being or worth of people, companies, goods and services, and stakeholders including the society and the environment.

Thus, companies have to do good for or improve the worth or well-being of these various stakeholders. Taken by itself, it may appear to be one sided. After all there is no question that companies exist to create value for themselves and to make a profit. They are not meant to be purely charitable organisations. This was the point that Milton Friedman clearly made in his infamous 1970 New York Times Magazine editorial, “In the present climate of opinion, with its widespread aversion to “capitalism,” “profits,” the “soulless corporation” and so on, this is one way for a corporation to generate goodwill as a by‐product of expenditures that are entirely justified in its own self‐interest. ”Thus, companies have to extract value from stakeholders to be profitable, and if in the process they need to say something to generate goodwill, so be it. This, crudely, was the profit motive. However, if the purpose is also to create value for stakeholders, who in turn create value for the company then this becomes meaningful. Such value created by stakeholders for the company can be extracted. Of course, it is important the stakeholder feels value is being created for them. This becomes a win-win situation.

What is important is that the company must realise they are the first movers within the value creation process. They have to create value for the customer, who in turn decides to buy from the company based on the value the company has created for him or her and other stakeholders. In making this decision to buy, the customer most likely is looking at the whether the company is adding or destroying value for society and the environment and other stakeholders.

When the customer buys, they hopefully give the company value which is partially profit, partially long-term loyalty etc.

Creating value for the society can mean good governance; can mean helping employeesto benefit and directly serving society through social responsibility actions, through adding to the tax base, through consuming from other companies in the society mix, by hiring people, by adding infrastructure, etc. Companies can add value by using their expertise to help solve societal problems, taking up humanitarian causes or having products or services that can do that.

Society creates value for companies by good governance, by being a source for people, services such as sewers and power, by being a marketplace for the company by providing roads and infrastructure, a justice system and so on.

Creating value for the environment means being environmentally friendly, not destroying the environment, by replenishing the environment, by using recyclable materials and products, create environmental awareness within employees and to society at large and manage such efforts, by not wasting power and other resources, and even trying to reduce their usage. Protecting the environment creates important value for the company as does the prevention of natural calamities caused by human error and design like pipe bursts, oil spills, forest fires, etc. Deforestation, over-mining, over-fishing or dumping wastes into nature are examples of destroying the environment which companies should not do, and efforts are underway globally, through the Capitals Coalition and other organizations to make companies accountable for such value destroying activities.

Value created by nature for the company could be realized as a good environment to work in (assuming they have not polluted the environment), natural parks and wilderness to enjoy, giving renewable resources to the company such as rainwater harvesting (which is an example of co-creating); nature is a primary source for raw materials and energy, a source for food and good air, diversity of flora and fauna, A good environment reduces stress and increases pleasant feelings. The destruction of nature will eventually lead to a future where our planet itself can no longer sustain us.

We can think of value created for employees to include such things as: a good place to work, giving meaning and sustenance (financial and non-financial) to people. Employees in turn create value for companies through making the company more human, by earning profits through their good work, by working on and helping society and the environment.

For partners, it is to be fair and honest and help them make a good profit and in turn partners create a supply and delivery chain that makes a profit for the company.

The shareholder profits from the company by sharing in the profits, while in turn supplying capital and other support to the company. It is well known that the cost of this money has to be less than the profits generated or extracted from this investment

To do this, a company must have a purpose, and not a wishy-washy value creation statement but a true value creation objective.

They then have to have a vision and mission that includes value creation. This then becomes a culture to perform. Lastly the company has to believe that they are human and not an inanimate entity, and that profit is a result of creating profit, which can be intangible and tangible.

You can see a good purpose in life, in a business, in a family, gives you a direction and a long-term goal, keeping you always focused. All this creates value for you and for your business. Businesses that have a commitment to purpose tend to get more loyal customers, better employees, have competitive advantage and increase their chances of success, while focusing on the environment and society. Purpose guides life as it did for Gandhi and Eichi Shibusawah and sports people like Tiger Woods. Purpose has an impact on behaviour, gives a focus on direction and goals and makes life meaningful and full of value.

The purpose has to be good for the company and the stakeholders, and must therefore be good for people, and society. These concepts are called Blended Value by Jed Emerson.

Sadly, there has been destruction of the environment, of people, of society under the guise that the company is good for the people. Carelessness, and bad management has led to damage of the environment and forest fires, or oil spills, whose impact is disguised through the use of value washing. Getting companies to think they are human and not inanimate is a good starting point. Getting them to commit to a clear set of objective goals with clear and transparent reporting on their efforts to achieve them is the next step and one that many organizations globally are working to help us achieve.

We would like to have your views.

Best,

Gautam Mahajan, President, Customer Value FoundationFounder Editor, Journal of Creating Value jcv.sagepub.com
New Delhi 110065 +91 98100 60368
mahajan@customervaluefoundation.com
www.customervaluefoundation.com
Twitter @ValueCreationJ
Blogs: https://customervaluefoundation.wordpress.com/
Author of Value Creation, Total Customer Value Management, Customer ValueInvestment, How Creating Customer Value Makes you a Great Executive, The ValueImperative, Value Dominant Logic
Join the Creating Value Alliance at creatingvalue.co

Why Purpose Creates Value?

Posted April 3, 2021 by Customer Value Foundation
Categories: Business & Management

The purpose of a company is not used much by businesses. For that matter it is not used much by people for themselves.

Companies are satisfied by having a vision and a mission statement. These normally outline the business vision and mission. How are they going to create profit and be advantaged in the marketplace?

But they normally do not start with a purpose. Many of us humans and many businesses do not have a purpose in life other than to have a comfortable one with enough money. One is reminded of Alice in Wonderland asking the Cheshire Cat, which way she should go. To which the Cat asked where do you want to go, and Alice replied she really didn’t care. The Cheshire Cat answered it does not matter which way you go.

I am not suggesting meandering is all bad. Most of us meandered into what came our way. And managed to do well. Had we had a purpose, would we have done things differently? Would we have taken a different path? Would we have pursued other goals? Would we have been more successful, and happier?

Purpose helps you answer who you are, what you want to be, how you belong and how you can feel whole and get a sense of accomplishment.

An Uncle who always wanted to paint was forced into the family business and did well. When he retired, he started to paint again, and was so much happier, because he was doing what he had always wanted to do.

This is true of companies. Yes, they strategize. But their strategies must emanate from their purpose.

The purpose keeps you focused on why the company exists beyond the financial reason, if any. The purpose is about the company and the outside world and what the company stands for and what it will do for others. The mission and vision are more for internal guidance, though we try to use them externally, also. The purpose gives you an identity, and tells everyone who and what you are and what you stand for and believe.

Vision aligns you with the goals, and mission tells you how to accomplish them. Vision tells you what the future will look like for the company and where you will land up.

Purpose is in a sense why, vision is what, and mission is how.

Mission answers the question of how you will achieve the vision.

Note for employees and different stakeholders, purpose comes from three sources, the organisation, the work and type of work, and from the outside environment, from their family, friends and society.

Investors or a group of people starting something must ask the purpose or why they are establishing this new venture. They then answer what is the venture meant to be in the future and then how they get there.

So, for an entrepreneur, the purpose maybe to prove that my ideas are better than others, or that I can shake up the world or that I can do something different. Or people will get convenience from what I do. The idea may be to do service to the people, or to make the world a happier place.

What the idea is the vision and how to achieve it is the mission.

The purpose is there to inspire the stakeholders why you and your company matter, what your company stands for, what it believes in, why your company is important and why what you do has a meaning. This then links you to your values, and how you can create value for the stakeholders. This outlines your culture, and why your company should matter to the followers or stakeholders.

Purpose tells people what they are to do. It influences decisions and culture and behaviour.

Thus, the purpose of a food company could be to make food available to the poor, or to add nourishment. Another company may wish to reduce poverty among its stakeholders.

Or for another company, confronting climate risk may be the purpose.

Let us take easier examples:

An author may write: The purpose of this paper is to advance the knowledge in (this field). Or to show you my results.

The purpose of my visit to (this country) is to have a good time. Or to learn about the people. Or to understand business etc.

What you do in the visit and how you do it follows.

Ted Talk’s purpose is to spread ideas. What they will do and how follows.

Therefore, combine your passion and ambitions to make a purpose.

The Business Roundtable and Davos have state that the purpose of a company is to create value for all stakeholders. This is a good starting point but is a catch all and has to be distilled down a little more. Sustainability, the environment and society have taken a legitimate place in the purpose.

You can see a good purpose in life, in a business, in a family, gives you a direction and a long-term goal, keeping you always focused. All this creates value for you and for your business. Businesses that have a commitment to purpose tend to get more loyal customers, better employees, have competitive advantage and increase their chances of success, and while focusing on the environment and society. Purpose guides life as it did for McArthur and Tiger Woods, has an impact on behaviour, gives a focus on direction and goals and makes life meaningful and full of value.

A great purpose is ‘Work as a professional and live as a human being.’

Purpose creates value all round. Happy to hear your comments.

Best,


Gautam Mahajan, President, Customer Value Foundation

Founder Editor, Journal of Creating Value jcv.sagepub.com

New Delhi 110065 +91 98100 60368

mahajan@customervaluefoundation.com

http://www.customervaluefoundation.com

Twitter @ValueCreationJ Blogs: https://customervaluefoundation.wordpress.com/

Do Specialists Create More Value than Generalists? by Gautam Mahajan

Posted March 7, 2021 by Customer Value Foundation
Categories: Business & Management

On the face of it, it would seem that specialists add more value than generalists. But the facts are generalists generally do add more value than specialists.

Specialists tend to be good performers but not great value creators. A generalist is a better value creator. A generalist understands business better than a specialist and has many more areas of knowledge. Take two accountants at the same level, one a specialist and the other a generalist. Both perform well, and the specialist might understand accounting better. The generalist on the other hand may come to the boss and say we need to think differently with Brexit coming around the corner. He is adding more value.

Even more interesting is that the specialised and experienced accountants have more difficulty adjusting to new accounting laws than novices. This is true of expert chess players where rules are changed versus for beginner players.

David Epstein in ‘Range’ says highly specialised experts can become arrow minded and may become worse with experience (which makes them more confident) as they tend to become single minded. He goes on to say specialist cardiologists are likely to put in stents more often than necessary and you may be better off with a generalist in cases where stents are not required, to avoid insertion of unnecessary stents.

There are more specialists though in the US than general physicians and this is due to better income levels of specialists.

Epstein talks about a study on Nobel Laureates. He states these people have hobbies like dancing or singing or gardening, which instead of dissipating their deep knowledge, strengthens it. Experts that do not make it to the Nobel are single minded in their work and specialisation.

Being a generalist gives you a better chance in a variety of markets. (In my case, early on in my career, I found companies were interested in my specialist skills rather than my generalist outlook). Later on, in their career, generalists have ‘career flexibility’ than early on. HR people miss this when they try to match someone’s background to a job. Learning and unlearning is becoming an important trait in the future.

On the corporate front, as the world becomes increasingly interconnected, organizations are valuing generalists for their ability to multi-task, see the bigger picture, and work with different departments to solve issues. Generalists also have more transferable skills – a critical aspect in ensuring business scalability.

The biggest disadvantage of being a generalist, however, is the trade-off between depth and breadth. Having knowledge of several things prevents one from mastering a single discipline to the best extent possible. This could make generalists more replaceable and increases job insecurity.

Generalists in today’s digital economy have to rely on specialists for data and analysis, but they (generalists) are able to make much better decisions.

Does when you start specialising impact your success and value creation? Many people have researched this and have found whether you start specialising early on (like Tiger Woods and golf) or much later (as Roger Federer and tennis), you are likely to succeed. Similarly, length of specialisation does not matter, and the generalised experience before specialising is very useful.

Learning, according to this is better to be done slowly, even if it means poor test scores (according to Epstein). These people are smarter eventually in what they have learnt.

So, we have to ask how rote education rates with flexible education. Closed skills are acquired fast, whereas open skills are also required. Thus knowledge, experience, early agility, mental exercising are all important in education. So, in colleges perhaps open teaching is better, to think beyond experiential learning. Self-education techniques are worthwhile.

Doctors during training rotate and get a generalised training before specialising.

The best innovators are those who can use analogies from their different domain experiences, and splice together and synthesise, through their diverse knowledge.

There is much to be said about being an outsider and having a breadth of knowledge in innovating and in solving tricky problems. Many generalists have solved problems using knowledge from some other field in the problem. Generalists do not get bogged down by details that specialists tend to.

In innovating meetings, I would always tell people to look at solutions and say they will never work or they are too expensive. Better to see how to make them work or reduce the cost (Costs come down as products become popular and are sold in larger quantities).

Thus, should we look for a specialist or a generalist (this is a general question and not a specific one)? Or Generalizing-Specialists and Specializing-Generalists? That is a specialist who develops a wider range of interest is more valuable. Also, there is a risk of specialisation, and that is you can become outdated, or your skills are no longer current.

A specialising generalist is one who is a generalist but has a strong specialisation. I have always maintained you must be very strong in one area or more to become a generalist and to succeed. No one can take away your specialised knowledge. You will always be able to rely on your specialisation past to deal with other specialists, and to have a discipline of thinking. Be a specialist in your skills.

In our own field, we find most CX (Customer Experience) experts cannot see beyond experience and miss what Customer Value people can see more generically!

So, who creates more value? So, therefore, let us define value:

Creating Value is executing normal, conscious, inspired, and even imaginative actions that increase the overall good and well-being, and the worth of and for ideas, goods, services, people or institutions including society, and all stakeholders (like employees, customers, partners, shareholders and society), and value waiting to happen.

Value waiting to happen is ideas in front of us we do not notice, like porcupine quill design to suture wounds or using gecko-based adhesives to close cuts. These were not discovered by experts but by generalists who thought cross functional. Many new entrepreneur unicorns are new to the subject and used lateral thinking.

There is no formula that can tell us whether it is the specialist who creates more value or the generalist. It depends on their way of looking at things, their breadth and interests, their way of thinking. In the long run it appears generalists create more value than specialists.

Generalist-specialists or specialist-generalists may be the best in creating value.

What do you think?

Best,

Gautam Mahajan, President, Customer Value FoundationFounder Editor, Journal of Creating Value jcv.sagepub.com
New Delhi 110065 +91 98100 60368
mahajan@customervaluefoundation.com
www.customervaluefoundation.com
Twitter @ValueCreationJ
Blogs: https://customervaluefoundation.wordpress.com/
Author of Value Creation, Total Customer Value Management, Customer Value Investment, How Creating Customer Value Makes you a Great Executive, The Value Imperative, Value Dominant Logic
Come to the Third Global Conference on Creating Value, June 2-3, 2020 in Paris France
Join the Creating Value Alliance at creatingvalue.co

Will Customer Value Creation improve healthcare?

Posted February 25, 2021 by Customer Value Foundation
Categories: Business & Management

By Gautam Mahajan and Edward R Pinto MD, FACC

This article is written jointly with a close friend, Dr Edward Pinto, who is a physician in the US.

Gautam spoke on the 28th January 2021 to software leaders and CEOs on Creating Value through Quality. Eddie (Edward Pinto) picked this up from YouTube https://tinyurl.com/y2vzjjya.

After listening to Gautam’s talk, Eddie called Gautam and bemoaned the fact that the US healthcare field was not focusing on customers. The health care services were mediocre, in spite of the US spending 16.9% of their GDP on healthcare. University medical schools which were rated in the top 10% of hospitals in the US in the seventies and eighties have much lower rankings today. They continue to have the best facilities and doctors, but have lost their focus on customers, and their healthcare services were middling.

If these hospitals were to treat the customer as a king their rating would improve. The customer is the patient!

No one in medicine has really thought of value creation in medicine except some of the top ranked hospitals like Mayo and Cleveland clinics. This is therefore an opportune time to write this article as we emerge from the Corona pandemic. Value creation is understood in business (though not entirely), but not talked about seriously in medicine where the business-oriented MBA administrators are king! And make the rules!!

Let’s start with a definition of creating value, as written in the Journal of Creating Value, jcv.sagepub.com :

Creating Value is executing normal, conscious, inspired, and even imaginative actions that increase the overall good and well-being, and the worth of and for ideas, goods, services, people or institutions including society, and all stakeholders (like employees, customers, partners, shareholders and society), and value waiting to happen.

So, in essence you have to improve the well being or do good for a patient. The worth of your medical service must be better and higher than others, so that patients feel they get more than they paid. Thus, in a business sense value is what you pay and what you get. It has a benefit component and a cost one. Cost includes effort, stress, anxiety, energy, psychic factors, self-image and time. So, pay attention to these. The problem is that feedback from the patient is rare when they are becoming well and is only available when their health is not improving!

Also, value waiting to happen is value you could create but do not notice it. Think of ways to improve value to patients, whether it means being nice to them, or listening to them, or avoiding unnecessary tests and surgery, or reducing wait time. Telemedicine is value waiting to happen in a big way.

In the US, we no longer have private practice; Corporate medicine has taken over, with a ‘complain and you lose your job’ mantra.

The first of many problems of the healthcare system, particularly in the USA is to figure out who the patient is. The healthcare provider, if it is a hospital has to consider administrators, doctors, patients, staff and nurses and of course the investor as customers. In doing this, the health care provider forgets who the real customer is. Without patients there would be no need for healthcare providers, no need for administrators or staff. Health care providers also must understand what customer value is. Customer value is not just the worth of the service (what you get and what you pay), but being superior to other providers. So, working on improving Customer Value is very important. And this means being a caring provider. Superior care and the patients feeling of valued care is a win-win for all. This is lacking in some medical centres.

Of course, the healthcare provider cannot forget other stakeholders such as the doctors, nurses and staff, and have to also create value for them. Value added stakeholders will create better value for patients.

Unfortunately, like education, medical care has become a business, to be run efficiently and with an eye to make money. MBAs are now administering hospitals, for improved profits. Gautam has always maintained that MBAs are not taught to create value for all stakeholders but to be good (?) administrators and efficiency experts. The MBA students have to understand that their role is to create value and they must be taught how to do so. This change of thinking has to come in healthcare management, where value creation is essential.

Remember, in the USA salary is tied to RVU’s or the number of patients seen in an hour and the dollars billed. This pressure is exerted by administrators, MBAs or doctor MBAs who have seldom seen a patient medically. They want doctors to see more and more patients and increase their billings to enrich the institution on the backs of providers of healthcare such as doctors, nurses and patients. Not a great situation for value creation in health care which is fast becoming an assembly line!!

Shep Hyken in a recent article The Problem isn’t the Employee it’s the system says it all in this cartoon:

Caring of patients, making them feel wanted and cared for and important is key to success. Eddie recounted how he would call the 5 of many patients he had seen during the day at around 8pm. The five were the ones who seemed the most worried about their health. Eddie would call these anxious sick patients in the evening to check on their health. They appreciated the call and sometimes would give feedback to get Eddie to think of different and/or better treatment. Treat them well and they will be with you because they are happy…not just because they are being treated medically.

In the Journal of Creating Value, 3-1, Saradhi Motamarri wrote about Consumer Co-Creation in mHealth Service: The role of a patient is rapidly altering from a passive consumer to an active participant and integrator of multiple actors in his or her service network.

We ourselves have witnessed that when as a patient we feel assured, we feel comfortable, we feel cared for; we feel better, and less worried. The fact we can talk to our doctor makes us more assured. People talk about the psychological care of patients, taking care of his psyche.

As we reflect on what we need as patients, we want a caring doctor who has the time to discuss with us and explain what he is doing, a medical system where we are treated well, not just medically but as a human being.

Gautam remembers that he had a serious problem in San Francisco, and found the emergency care at the hospital wanting. He found a private practice doctor who was amazing in making Gautam feel comfortable and able to deal with his problem. He knew Gautam was visiting from India, and gave him a care kit free to carry back with him just in case he needed it. Gautam keeps remembering the doctor’s kindness and thinks of him as competent.

Most primary care physicians (PCP) know their customers, and have a good bedside manner. They will go out of their way to get their patient an appointment with a specialist or a room in the hospital. Most specialists tend to more brusque and even fewer take a holistic view of the patient as they focus basically on their specialised area. A good PCP takes a view on all the conditions and the anxiety of the patient, and the various medicines and how thy might interact with each other. Gautam’s mother-in-law acquired a new PCP at the age of 90. The first thing he did was to unprescribe a number of medicines various specialists had asked her to take. He said she was getting a cocktail of medicines many of which she did not need at this age. He left her with 2 or 3 medicines, and she improved.

In the USA and maybe now in India, often the PCP no longer follows the patient in the hospital but takes over upon discharge. This disjointed care makes the patient feel insecure and therefore some hand-holding and more explanation to sick hospitalized patients is important.

Unfortunately, this is sorely lacking even in the best hospitals. The university and major hospitals that have done this better are moving to the top in the rankings. Again, Value co-creation with the patient as No. 1.

It seems that best doctors are good in communication and even better listeners. These doctors are well organized, know the customer and are conscientious. They make customers feel they are cared for. Such doctors are aware (and curious). They embody Gautam’s 6As, awareness (curiosity), ability, attitude, anticipation, agility and ambidextrousness to create value. In the patient’s thinking. Eddie says it is 3As, availability, affability and ability in that order.

The principles of person-centred care are:

  • Treat people with dignity, compassion, and respect.
  • Provide coordinated care, support, and treatment.
  • Offer personalised care, support, and treatment.

Value Based Health Care (VBHC) puts the patients, their families, doctors and their teams at focus. Patients with similar medical conditions have different preferences and they each follow roughly similar care-paths. Care quality improves by gauging the correct patient-relevant outcome measures. VBHC is an effort to develop and deploy products, services, and integrated solutions that improve patient outcomes per dollar spent in the healthcare system, measuring value in terms of long-term patient outcomes rather than short-term transactions.

Nurses operate on six core values which are commonly known as the 6 C’s. These are Care, Compassion, Competence, Communication, Courage and Commitment. Nurses who operate on these values ensure that the job gets done in an effective and efficient manner and that patients are safe and treated well. All those who work at a hospital or a clinic are responsible for value creation for the patient which translates into the kind of outcome and care given.

With an aging population, healthcare will have to focus on their needs more effectively. Separate facilities for geriatric and other vulnerable categories of patients become essential.

Here are things we think patients want

Let us learn to create value for patients, and for the other providers in the system, the administrators, doctors, the nurses, the support system, the staff, the investors. This comes back to the Business Roundtable, consisting of CEOs of the 3000 largest American companies, saying that the purpose of a company is to create value for all stakeholders. The medical system is slowly adjusting and changing to do this with new use of technology, telemedicine, virtual consultations and renewed focus on the customer.

The Corona pandemic has been a big strain on healthcare. Patients are also learning they can do with less handholding.

In India, the doctor and hospital visits have dwindled during this period of the pandemic. Is it because of fear of Covid, over doctorisation or what? It could also be more online consultation. Most doctors we know had a reduced practice to 30%.

Major medical centres are hurriedly appointing smart published researchers to head their departments in the hope of improving their rankings. Often these great researchers are poor candidates to enhance patient care and customer value creation. Parallel appointments of good clinically smart doctors who will enhance the delivery of customer value care is a must!

Value Creating healthcare facilities must become the dream, a dream which is achievable. These will be a boon/gift for all in healthcare. The customer in healthcare, the patient must come first.

The time has come for true healthcare people to disrupt the system into a different, more customer oriented one that makes money for all concerned

We would love your comments.

https://customervaluefoundation.wordpress.com/2021/02/25/will-customer-value-creation-improve-healthcare/

Gautam Mahajan (Gautam.Mahajan@gmail.com)  and Edward Pinto, MD, FACC (Pintomdd@gmail.com)

Best,

Gautam Mahajan, President, Customer Value Foundation

Founder Editor, Journal of Creating Value jcv.sagepub.com

New Delhi 110065 _91 9810060368

The Impact of Culture on Creating Value

Posted February 16, 2021 by Customer Value Foundation
Categories: Business & Management

Why is culture important?
Management gurus will tell you culture is important, because culture brings employees and partners in a company together through shared beliefs, traditions, and expectations and goals. The two basic types of culture are material culture, physical things produced by a society; and non-material culture, intangible objects produced by a society.

Culture can be one of Empowering, Innovation, Sales Culture, Customer-Centric Culture, and Culture of Leadership Excellence and of Safety. There are other types like a blame culture, blameless culture, a just culture and so on.

Value Creation and culture.
I want to talk about a Value Creation culture that avoids value destruction (like blaming each other or creating silos and not working together, not taking care of partners and customers etc.).

More importantly, the Business Roundtable announced in 2019 that the purpose of a company is to create value. Davos echoed this in 2020. Now many companies around the world want to create value for stakeholders. A great goal, but how are they going to do this? The word value has been used loosely in their vocabulary, and value creation (except in the form of profits) has not been a serious goal.

So, I repeat, how are they going to do this? One is to incorporate a culture of value creation:
1. Understand what value and Creating value means
2. Realise what stakeholders want as value
3. Learn to measure value for each of the stakeholders
4. Find ways of creating and delivering value and extracting a meaningful share. 

What we want is a culture to create stakeholder value, and specifically for employees, customers, partners, shareholders, nature and society, and measure these. Do we create more value for the stakeholders, or do they create more value for the companies? This is important. Generally, companies survive when stakeholders create more value for the company than the company does for them.

The culture of creating value has to start with the leader who builds a creating value eco-system. The amount of value the company creates for stakeholders (minus the value they destroy) is a measure of leadership.

Leaders and their companies must create more value than they extract. Creation must always go ahead of extraction. Creating Social and Environmental value and a reserve of social/environmental value is like banking cash for the future.

In this article I do not want to focus on how to create culture, but to get all of you to understand and establish a culture of value creation for which companies must have:

A Stakeholder culture that is a desire to create value for them
This requires a customer and a stakeholder strategy that then moulds and generates your corporate strategy.

Thus, if your shareholders prefer growing the existing business through various sub businesses, your corporate strategy should reflect that. If your customer strategy suggests affordability and risk averseness of customers, your corporate strategy must take that into account.

The stakeholder value creation thrust must come from the CEO.

Teaching employees and CXOs that the role of an executive is to create value and not just to perform a job. That is, your people must go beyond their jobs to create value. That value must be created consciously and not unconsciously. Focus also on reducing value destruction. Teach them how to create value. The chart below shows the relationship between value and culture and make the best value and culture happen.

This chart shows how value creation and culture must go hand in hand, and the culture must lead to value creation, otherwise the culture has not so great an impact. 
As always, I await your comments.
Best, 
Gautam Mahajan, President, Customer Value FoundationFounder Editor, Journal of Creating Value jcv.sagepub.com
New Delhi 110065 +91 98100 60368
mahajan@customervaluefoundation.com
www.customervaluefoundation.com
Twitter @ValueCreationJ
Blogs: https://customervaluefoundation.wordpress.com/
Author of Value Creation, Total Customer Value Management, Customer Value Investment, How Creating Customer Value Makes you a Great Executive, The Value Imperative, Value Dominant Logic
Come to the Third Global Conference on Creating Value, June 2-3, 2020 in Paris France
Join the Creating Value Alliance at creatingvalue.co

Hope, The Value Creator for 2021?

Posted January 12, 2021 by Customer Value Foundation
Categories: Business & Management

Can hope Create Value?

As we enter 2021, the world is suffused with hope of a normal (some prefer the old normal, while others pray for a new normal). There are also the vaccines which could contain the virus. In all cases, there is great hope,

“Hope’s highest manifestation is the perseverance of the soul who has seen a better day, who has a tangible sense of what satisfied feels like, who knows that the reality of their today dims into a pale insignificance when compared to the radiant, the incandescent promise of tomorrow.” — Wayne Abel, The New Hope Times

Hope gives you the perception of increased wellbeing in the future or increased value in the future.

In the short term, hope makes you feel better and, in that sense, create some value for you.

These are desperate times. The Covid crisis is showing no signs of easing, though the vaccines may help contain it.

I have chosen to quote individuals and experts verbatim to show what they say about hope.

We live in a time of hope and a better future. Hope encompasses all parts of our thinking and psyche:

Fairer elections, I will win, better health the hope of becoming well, of passing an exam, of getting a job.

Why do such emotions as hope, optimism, and a positive outlook seem to benefit health? Perhaps scientists and doctors do not yet understand the human mind and body well enough to provide definitive answers. Still, experts who study the subject can make educated guesses. For instance, one professor of neurology suggests: “It feels good to be happy and hopeful. It’s an enjoyable state that produces very little stress, and the body thrives in those conditions. It’s one more thing that people can do for themselves to try to stay healthy.”

Gloria Ogunbadejo says, “Hope is a powerful therapy. There have been various studies carried out to determine the value of emotional support given to terminally ill patients. Presumably, this type of support helps people to maintain a more hopeful and positive outlook. One 1989 study found that patients who received such support survived longer. Recently, studies in the UK and US have confirmed that patients who receive emotional support suffer less depression and less pain than those without it.”

There’s a huge debate about what is best between realism, optimism and pessimism.

What we know for certain, however, is that hope benefits our health and happiness. Research proves how important hope is in life. Hope prevents you from becoming despondent and negative.

The opposite of hope is hopelessness. And this is a serious threat to health and happiness.

If there was no chance or a hope then there would be no point of even trying.

Is hope, therefore, a value creator? It becomes a motivator. It makes us feel better and, in some cases, improves our wellbeing causing value to be created for us.

Without hope, our human endeavour would suffer.

Optimism is a good thing, but defensive hope makes us work hard on something when it might be time to prune back and face reality.

Tarun Kumar in Quora said:
To be hopeful is to look on the future positively, to see opportunity in challenges (rather than challenges in opportunities), to “look on the bright side of life.” Hope is the ability to see the possible good in future events, especially when those events are potentially negative.

Hope and more so blind hope do not mean everything will fall into your lap or that things will work out. Blind hope and false hope are to be avoided.

People often think that hopeful people are naive, even foolish, and that they believe good things will happen when in truth they never will.

Winston Churchill said, “When you’re going through hell, keep going”. Hope gives you the strength to keep going. Hope gives you motivation. The most hopeful people in the world are also the most motivated.

At the same time, you must be mindful of your expectations and challenge pessimism. Hope value translates into expectation as of the upswing of prices of homes.

Thus, we ask, is it important to be hopeful in life?

During youth, everyone is hopeful. Everyone hopes they would have a great life in the future. But as time goes by the future becomes present, and one comes to know what they are capable of doing in life. And if they are not satisfied with themselves by then, then the hope is replaced with frustration, insecurity, depression, helplessness.

Hope is not a substitute for knowledge. It’s an illusion which tries to wish for a satisfactory future and even makes a person dreamy. Hope is about not being in touch with reality and just wishful thinking.

Hope is okay when you are young, but later on, it should be garnished with reality.

Rajwinder Singh, lives in Ludhiana, Punjab, India and said on May 22, 2018

“Hope has lot of importance in our life. Without hope you can’t survive for even a minute. We are living life just because of a hope. We set alarms to awake up early morning, with a hope that there is a tomorrow and we would get up, the next morning. A man goes to work to earn money, to fulfil all the needs and wishes of his family, that’s hope that he would make them happy. Hope actually gives us a reason to do something. It acts like a stimulant for us. A student who just failed in his board exams, decided to commit suicide but he dropped the plan just, because he got a hope to pass next year” … (more)

Just think of a farmer who hopes for an adequate rainfall during monsoon so that he could sell his farm products in decent rates and feed his family. A student who hopes for better grades every year so that he/she can make their parents proud. A father who hopes for a better future for his kids. Even an actor no matter how successful he/she is, always hopes.

Researchers have found that optimists benefit in many ways from their positive outlook. They tend to perform better in school, at work, and even on the athletic field. For example, a study was made of a women’s track team. The coaches provided a thorough assessment of the women’s pure athletic abilities. At the same time, the women themselves were surveyed and their level of hope carefully assessed. As it turned out, the women’s measure of hope was a far more accurate predictor of their performance than were all the statistics evaluated by their coaches. Why does hope have such a powerful influence?

Such pessimistic thinking hampers people in many of life’s endeavours or even paralyses them into inaction. Pessimistic thinking and its effects can be very powerful in the same way hope can determine positive outcomes. In other words, if we habitually believe, as does the pessimist, that misfortune is our fault, is enduring, and will undermine everything we do, more of it will befall us than if we believe otherwise. It becomes self-fulfilling either way. Discouragement, with its negative thoughts, will sap you of the power to act.

What, though, can you do to fight pessimism and bring more optimism and hope into your life? Talent, skill, ability alone will not get you there. Sure, it helps. But a wealth of psychological research over the past few decades show loud and clear that it’s the psychological vehicles that really get you there. You can have the best engine in the world, but if you can’t be bothered to drive it, you won’t get anywhere.
Psychologists have proposed lots of different vehicles over the years. Some say grit, consciousness, self-efficacy, optimism, passion, inspiration, etc. They are all important. However, there is one that is particularly undervalued and underappreciated in psychology and society. That’s hope!

Scott Barry Kaufman in a blog (https://bit.ly/3hU2TQC.) says

“Hope allows people to approach problems with a mind-set and thinking of strategies suitable to success, thereby increasing the chances they will actually accomplish their goals. 

Those lacking hope, on the other hand, tend to adopt mastery goals. People with mastery goals choose easy tasks that don’t offer a challenge or opportunity for growth. When they fail, they quit. People with mastery goals act helplessly, and feel a lack of control over their environment. They don’t believe in their capacity to obtain the kind of future they want. They have no hope. 

However, if they lose hope, unless you can help them get it back, all is lost. Hope is an emotion that springs from the heart, not the brain. Hope lays dormant until its amazing strength is called upon.”

David Archer, MD in the Power of Hope (https://bit.ly/2LeQ9bi) says: Hope is the belief that circumstances will get better. It’s not a wish for things to get better. It is the actual belief, the knowledge that things will get better, no matter how big or small. It is the belief that at age 65, after a disaster where you’ve lost your home, car and possessions — everything material, that you still have your health and family, and that you can and you will start over. 

There is a need to focus on what you have to be thankful for, not on what you don’t have or what you have lost or what you want. Remind yourself of this every day. Is hope also faith? 

So, we can see hope is a powerful motivator and makes us try even difficult things. In this it is a powerful Value Creator. On the other hand, false hope can sometimes be a Value destroyer. 

Let us pray our hope comes true and that the Covid virus will be contained soon!

Best,

Gautam Mahajan, President, Customer Value Foundation

Founder Editor, Journal of Creating Value jcv.sagepub.com
New Delhi 110065 +91 98100 60368
mahajan@customervaluefoundation.com
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Author of Value Creation, Total Customer Value Management, Customer Value Investment, How Creating Customer Value Makes you a Great Executive, The Value Imperative, Value Dominant Logic
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