When did we lose the value placed in our ‘word’?
It is said that our word is our bond… let our ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and our ‘no’ be ‘no’. If that can be true on a ballot box, what about in our private life or business?
We had shutters installed recently. The whole process was a nightmare. Don’t get me wrong, we love the shutters now but the process was diabolical. The tradespeople wouldn’t turn up on time or turned up on different days; some of the shutters were damaged and had to be replaced and they didn’t deliver the goods when agreed. To top it off, the shutter company just didn’t seem to care.
While they expected us to pay on time, they didn’t value us enough to stick to their word. But, what surprised me most was the lack of concern they had that they continually broke their promises. The staff said they were used to calls from frustrated customers and that they (as a company) “didn’t value the customer in the way they should”. (They actually said that. Out loud.)
it will pay off to put people first
Another example: I was running late to see a friend. When I sat down to chat, I couldn’t work out why he had a full head of steam and looked like he was about to rip my head off.
“You’ve stolen 30 minutes of my life, which I will never get back,” he said. A tad brutal but after talking to him, I realised I had inadvertently compromised one of his core values. Why didn’t I value him enough to arrive on time? Was my time worth more than his?
Example three: In a work place survey, nearly 20 per cent of employees said they’re late for work at least once a week. In the main, they blame the weather, sleeping in, general slackness or the traffic. Even though most employers encourage flexible work hours and believe in theory it’s fine to rock up late now and again, 40 per cent say they’ve fired staff because of tardiness.
So what drives a person’s behaviour?
We, as people, are motivated by “protected values” says Dr. Alexander Wagner, an expert in corporate governance and behavioural economics.
These are core values that direct both our decision making and, as in the examples above, our outraged responses when people breach them.
A “protected value” isn’t any value. It’s a value that “you’re willing to pay a price to uphold” and as a consequence “you feel better if we earn money in a way that is consistent with your values”.
To get the most out of people, we can either appeal to benefits and costs or we can select people who have the same core values and desirable characteristics that we have.
“Selecting the right people with the right values may go a long way to saving a lot of trouble and a lot of money in your organisation.”
In other words, Wagner says, “it will pay off to put people first”.
1. CareerBuilder Survey. January 2017.
2. Ted Talk. Dr. Alexander Wagner. What really motivates people to be honest in business.