The Committed Enterprise: How to Make Vision and Values Work
For the last 20 years the arguments in favour of setting strong visions and values seems to have been at odds with the relentless pressure on businesses for short-term returns. Vision and values are, by their very nature, long-term and take time to produce results. With the average tenure of a CEO of a UK plc now less than three years, it is little wonder that talk of vision and values have received short thrift amongst the ranks of business leaders.
However, since service businesses, where people's skills and attitudes are the customer “product”, predominate in the West, strong vision and values are becoming become relatively more important again. The release of this new edition of The Committed Enterprise is therefore quite timely.
For many business leaders, vision and values are an ethereal concept that, at one extreme, might be considered meaningless verbage to be reproduced on mugs, mouse-mats and posters or, at the other extreme, be regarded a some sort of “Holy Grail” that might be sought but never found. For the sceptics, help is at hand as this excellent book provides a step-by-step guide to how an organisation’s vision and values can be defined and implemented.
The book is based on extensive research in the UK, US and other countries through interviews with more than a 130 CEO’s and is written by Hugh Davidson, a visiting Professor of Marketing at Cranfield Business School and the author of the best-selling Offensive Marketing books.
The book purports to offer the reader two alternative ways of reading it: throughout the book the left-hand page is devoted to illustrations and diagrams that offer a “fast-track” way of reading the book, while the right-hand page provide a more detailed explanation – what the author terms “the scenic route”.
Personally, I found that the fast-track route did not provide sufficient information to adequately follow what was going on. It was a little like looking at a series of PowerPoint slides without having first attended the presentation. However, having read the full text, the fast-track charts and illustrations make the book very accessible as a reference manual as they quickly provide the reader with a reminder of the material covered.
Through his research, Davidson identified seven best practices that seemed to define how successful an organisation had been at implementing its vision and values. Much of the book is therefore devoted to defining these seven practices and providing an explanation as to how each can be established and implemented. The seven practices are as follows:
It is a book that I would strongly recommend to anyone who is keen to explore the subject of vision and values.
Clickif you would like to purchase a copy of this book.