Rosabeth Moss Kanter published a thought-provoking post on The Change Master blog at The Harvard Business Review recently. "Inside Procter & Gamble's New Values-Based Strategy" featured insights gleaned from an interview Ms. Kanter conducted with new CEO Bob McDonald, who took the reins at the world's largest CPG giant this past July.

Kanter writes: "New CEO Bob McDonald, who assumed office in July, is on the road promoting P&G's "purpose-inspired growth" strategy of 'touching and improving more consumers' lives in more parts of the world... more completely.'" Then, the article goes on to emphasize McDonald's desire to return more purposefully to P&G's cultural roots.
But here's where I think the article provokes: "Procter & Gamble, the world's largest consumer products company, has just announced a stunning new business strategy to jump-start growth. It begins in a startling, almost counterintuitive way – with company values and sense of purpose. Invoke the heart and care about human needs, the strategy seems to say, and the money will follow." Startling? Counterintuitive?
Clearly, Kanter is grabbing our attention with these words. She understands the importance of committing to underlying business values in a world where trust has been lost as values were clearly put aside. A commitment to values starts from the top. It starts from the inside out–employees' embrace of a true company mission.
Yes, we all know we're in business to make a living as well as a profit. But, as Kanter points out: a "more promising approach to capitalism is rising."
As I've pointed out in my posts and articles time and again, consumer value encompasses much more than price. Kanter succinctly points out: "Any business can adopt a variation of this strategy if leaders understand the rising importance of values. Leading with values is important for the new generation of employees, for finding innovations in underserved markets, and for getting respect from the public and favorable treatment from government".
Couldn't agree more. Especially in light of recent events that have caused consumers to lose faith in many businesses, if not entire sectors. I think this is an excellent time for companies to enumerate and articulate what their values are–in a clear, concise manner. It's also a great time to put some passion behind those values for employees, customers and stakeholders. Time for that tried and true business equation of stating and living a mission.

  • How important is it to you to do business with a company that follows clearly articulated mission and values?

  • Do you consciously choose to buy goods or services from a company that you feel has solid values?

  • Do you consciously choose to pay more if you perceive one company to have stronger values than its competitors?

  • Which business values matter most to you?

  • Which companies best exemplify solid values and why?

I'd love to hear from you.

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Ted Mininni is president and creative director of Design Force, a leading brand-design consultancy.

LinkedIn: Ted Mininni