Exploring value

Off the beaten path — Part V

Understanding Value

In this section, I’m going to explore a bit more into the question of value within our map of culture in order for later sections to shed some light onto the question of what should I do now? As with mapping in general, there are no right answers, there is simply a way of discussing the environment to find a better path.

Values and principles

In the corporate world, we need to balance what we can engineer with a diversity of thought to cope with outside shocks which also means accepting some competition around values. A good example of this form of thinking can be seen in Amazon’s Leadership Principles. Whilst making clear statement on “customer obsession” and in some respects engineering a particular attitude, one set of values can be described as “be self-critical and work to disconfirm beliefs by seeking diverse perspectives”. This value is a reflection on the need for a diversity in opinion. Obviously, the question should be — is that value itself challenged? Does it cause us to question other values such as “customer obsession”?

  • leaders speak candidly and do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion.
  • our employees to view themselves as owners of the business
  • Work is for now, but life is forever.

Enablement and Principles

Values themselves don’t just diffuse, someone has to share the ideas with others. There are two aspects to be considered here, firstly that collectives are in competition with each other and that competition does partially depend upon how effective the collective is and therefore its use of universally useful principles (point 1 in figure 6). For example, a poorly run collective is likely to struggle against a more effective collective. The second aspect, is the need for a mechanism to spread the collective’s values. The most effective collective imaginable (using all the universally useful principles) is hardly going to succeed if it has no mechanism of enabling others to discover its values. This discovery process requires systems of enablement (point 2 in figure 6).

  • An initiation ceremony where new members are indoctrinated to the collective.
  • An oath of loyalty in which new members agree to be bound by the collective’s values.
  • A democratic process where members share principles and values through some form of manifesto and others choose to support one or another.
  • A town hall where members discuss principles and values.
  • A weekly newsletter where a collective reinforces its values to members.
  • A vision statement or constitution for the collective where values are written down for members.
  • A mechanism of propaganda where information is provided to influence a recipient audience in order to promote the collective’s values.

Summary

In this section I simply wanted to point out some basics from the map which we will use later to discuss the question — “What the hell am I supposed to do with this?”. These basics include :-

  • Values evolve through competition between collectives.
  • Different values exist between collectives.
  • Resilience of a collective depends not only upon its structures but diversity in values i.e. many pursue rigid sets of values which make adaption difficult.
  • Success of a collective is defined by its values diffusing in the wider society. The success of a collective is influenced by its use of doctrine (i.e. universally useful principles) and enablement systems i.e. being effective is not enough, it needs a mechanism by which its values can diffuse.
  • Principles are the rules by which we operate by as described by action. They may reflect our current values or past values or some value that has become a long accepted norm in the collective and even forgotten about.
  • The effectiveness of our enablement system are also influenced by our principles.
  • When collectives describes their values this is often a mix of universally useful principles (some of which might not be widely spread) along with actual values.
  • An individual may belong to many collectives.

Off the beaten track

Part I — What culture is right for you?
Part II — Exploring culture
Part III — Exploring Brexit
Part IV — From Values to Rituals
Part V — Exploring Value
Part VI — Embedded in memory
Part VII — Me vs We

The book so far

Chapter 1 — On being lost
Chapter 2 — Finding a path
Chapter 3 — Exploring the map
Chapter 4 — Doctrine
Chapter 5 — The play and a decision to act
Chapter 6 — Getting started yourself
Chapter 7 — Finding a new purpose
Chapter 8 — Keeping the wolves at bay
Chapter 9 — Charting the future
Chapter 10 — I wasn’t expecting that!
Chapter 11 — A smorgasbord of the slightly useful
Chapter 12 — The scenario
Chapter 13 — Something wicked this way comes
Chapter 14 — To thine own self be true
Chapter 15 — On the practice of scenario planning
Chapter 16 — Super Looper
Chapter 17 — To infinity and beyond
Chapter 18 — Better for Less
Chapter 19 — On Playing Chess

I like ducks, they're fowl but not through choice. RT is not an endorsement but a sign that I find a particular subject worthy of challenge and discussion.

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