How do you know whether you are giving good value? Or receiving good value? What’s your measure or yardstick?
For me, value is something we’d all do well to spend more time considering because when we do, it takes us pretty quickly into exploring our own core values and even our ethics. If we are driven by getting the most for the least then we will see value in one way. If we see value as a qualitative thing – something that is about respect, merit, or worth then we might take a broader and more holistic view of value.
On the whole, people only put money into shares that they can afford to risk.
Take shareholder value for example – in most commercial businesses there is a massive emphasis on increasing value to the shareholder – even to the point of driving our people into the ground to do so. So, is it right to use the word value in this case? Shareholders are putting forward hard-earned cash, taking a risk, supporting a venture. However, I’d argue this isn’t really showing any indication of value. On the whole, people only put money into shares that they can afford to risk. For sure there was the effort put into earning it perhaps, but they aren’t actually in a respectful, merit-based relationship with the company and its members/stakeholders.
If we do consider it to be an example of true value, then perhaps it says we place more respect on the money being given by the shareholders than the talent and effort being given by employees. If we are to use the word value, then in my view it needs to be about a meaningful and fair exchange. In the case of shareholders that would mean that instead of anonymous transacting through the medium of money and institutions they would be engaging in a considered way with the purpose and multi-dimensional realities that surround the business.
In life, value is a daily judgement call that we make often involving time and money – reflecting on things like whether it’s good use of my time (valuable) to be on this project or meet with this friend, buy this item, sell my time for this return.
But what about the value we place on loving support, unconditional friendships, good health, enjoying laughter, a healthy planet…if we reduce the definition of value to money and time then we will only ever be transacting.
Connecting with the true meaning of value and placing that more centrally in our lives, might help us make different decisions – as shareholders, as leaders and as respectful and ethical people.