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By Alan Patching   Printer Friendly Version

A corporation's Vision and Values will forever remain as essential as continuing innovation to its success. These concepts recognize that a corporation is nothing more than the people it employs, but sadly, they remain largely misunderstood.

Vision is how the corporation sees its future. If the vision lies well outside of what many in the corporation believe could possibly be achieved, it is unlikely to ever become reality. Nonetheless, management often tries to impress its vision indelibly into the hearts and minds of employees because hey, it's the nineties, and every decent organization has a corporate vision. Everybody knows that!

Meanwhile, those employees often continue to lead lives of quiet corporate desperation.

I believe that people think in terms of what Dr. Carl Pribram, former head of neuro-psychology at Stamford University, calls their Images of Achievement ... the things they would like to acquire or achieve in their life ... rather than in terms of vision. I am convinced that management can perform miracles if they focus on helping people to realize their individual Images of Achievement within the organization.

What about the other 'V' ... values. People in western society value money. If their lives were at risk, they would gladly surrender all their material possessions to save it. These same people would more than likely put their own safety on the line to save loved ones in danger. A personal values hierarchy placing money, self, loved ones and spiritual matters in ascending order at the top of the list is common in our society.

Employee's higher values will usually see them put their own spirituality, family and self above the corporate source of income, the customer, when the chips are down. What is the point of a corporation professing that the customer is number one? Surely that position must always be reserved for the corporation's human capital.

I encourage management to discover the values and the Images of Achievement of their human capital. Management can often easily deliver what is wanted ... flexible working hours, more responsibility, accountability, input into decisions, or simply to be listened to and shown respect. A corporate values statement evolving from an honest appraisal of the needs of our human capital will usually have those people positioned above the customer, and the customer usually fully understands why.

An organization that realizes that its values can never be anything other than the collective values of its human capital, and proudly pronounces and lives by this fact, liberates its people to realize their Images of Achievement within the organization. Loyalty is quickly established, and the vision of the company is something that is understood and valued by everyone and not just senior management. When that happens, even the sky presents no limits.

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