Business Value Balance

Given that you agree with the recent post on every business having the same four core values . . . let’s continue our discussion.

Here’s a diagram for visualization: Business Value Balance.  Each operational value exists in a spectrum (generally from happiest to least happy).  Depending on the current score for each value on their respective spectrum, business is probably good.  Referring to the chart, you can see the business as the core, four-pointed star.  When the staff is happy, the customers are happy, the business is generally likable and its making a profit the business is sustainable.

There’s another star, too:  a red, eight-pointed star.  The eight-pointed star is the zone of risk tolerance. If you chart the scores of the four requirements for sustainability within the level of tolerance, it’s holding steady. If the level of value isn’t meeting or exceeding the least tolerable level, then its a problem.  Simple enough.  When one or more of the scores exceeds the level of tolerance, the business will naturally look for ways to move back toward a balance.

HERE’s THE CATCH: How the business finds its way to pull one score back to center could happen at the cost of another value.  And, if no one’s managing the balancing act, it will be at the cost of another value.  They’re all interrelated so they will all be effected.

If you don’t have plans to deal with keeping the four basic core values in balance, business ends up looking chaotic.  It is constantly in flux, always pulling and pushing at itself.  Costing the happiness of staff, the happiness of clients, likability and profit.  This diminishes sustainability and resilience.

Next blog: keeping the business values at the center of your continuity program.

What do you think?  Do you agree?  Disagree?  Case studies?

All Business Values are the Same

In my experience coaching businesses for operational resilience I’ve found that all businesses are inherently the same.  Just as they can internally organize themselves into three simple zones of selling, making and managing, they can also break down their operational values into four categories:

1.  Happy staff – Employees who are generally satisfied enough

English: Picture of the BMV building on Reform...

to stick around and get the job done to (at least) a minimal specification.

2. Happy Stakeholders – Clients/Customers/Shareholders/etc that get what they expect from their relationship with the business.

3. Profit – Not just production or income, making money on top of what the job costs.

4. Generally likable – Be it regulators or media groups, if the business is not “generally likable”, the business can ultimately be  made very uncomfortable and even fail if it’s not generally likable.  It’s comes down to sustainability and, if brought to an intolerable level it’s a serious risk.  I’d love to hear your suggestions on better names for this category.  For example, when several senior managers fraudulently and unethically used the business for their own gain at the high cost of your employees and shareholders, your business is probably generally unlikable.  When an employee is using your business opportunities to get access to young children they are also abusing, your business is probably generally unlikable.  You get the picture.

Next in this series: Values in Balance


Rivulets are those tiny droplets of water that join together and move in a common direction. After lots of movement over time these little streams can really impact their environment  in significant ways. They begin to shape valleys and eventually build canyons. We have rivulets in our lives and it is my sincere belief we have rivulets in our businesses.  They are the little behaviors that eventually tip into culture and build our character and legacy.

Business rivulets start with people.  Managers leading encouraging, motivating little streams to run in certain paths.  Perhaps invisible at first, over time erosion is clear. What does this have to do with business continuity?  Everything.  Rivulets form shape of your resilience.  Day after day they reinforce or degrade direction, efficiency and speed.  Contingencies are initially built-in as the path of least resistance but leaders can design them to create value and build character.  What canyons are your rivulets building?