Bill Bernbach

More and more I have come to the conclusion that a principle isn’t a principle until it costs you money.

Bowen H. McCoy

Isn’t stress the real test of personal and corporate values? The instant decisions executives make under pressure reveal the most about personal and corporate character.

Clayton Christensen

The capabilities of business units reside in their processes and their values, and by their very nature, processes and values are inflexible and meant not to change.

Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

The gap between what a company says it stands for and what actually drives daily decisions creates a significant source of lost potential for any organization. All organizations pursue a purpose. Yet, lofty mission statements are often subverted by the decisions made for short-term crisis management. Value statements are often discredited by how people are treated day to day. Strategies are often abandoned as unexpected … [ Read more ]

Dov Seidman

People think that being values-based is about being nice. It’s really about being principled. You have to be firm, consistent, and even ruthless about your principles, and very few companies are.

Howard Gardner

If you are not prepared to resign or be fired for what you believe in, then you are not a worker, let alone a professional. You are a slave.

Jerome Kohlberg, Jr.

All around us there is a breakdown of values […] It is not just the […] overpowering greed that pervades our business life. It is the fact that we are not willing to sacrifice for the ethics and values we profess. For an ethic is not an ethic, and a value not a value without some sacrifice to it. Something given up, something not taken, … [ Read more ]

Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr.

The clash between principles and pragmatism is one of the hardest tests of a leader’s character. Of course we want our leaders to be both principled and pragmatic. Principles alone qualify men and women to be preachers or saints. Pure pragmatists can open their tool kits and get down to work, but their amorality makes them dangerous. As many leaders know, sometimes the worst conflict … [ Read more ]

Lou Gerstner

If the practices and processes inside a company don’t drive the execution of values, then people don’t get it. The question is, do you create a culture of behavior and action that really demonstrates those values and a reward system for those who adhere to them?

Mary Crossan, Jeffrey Gandz, and Gerard Seijts

When loyalty conflicts with honesty, when fairness conflicts with pragmatism, or when social responsibility conflicts with obligation to shareholders, people become conflicted. And when their actions are inconsistent with their values, they either experience guilt, anger and embarrassment. People try to minimize such cognitive dissonance by rationalizing or even denying their behavior, discounting the consequences of it or simply blaming others.

Matthew Stewart

All of business is about values, all of the time. Notwithstanding the ostentatious use of stopwatches, Taylor’s pig iron case was not a description of some aspect of physical reality–how many tons can a worker lift? It was a prescription–how many tons should a worker lift? The real issue at stake in Mayo’s telephone factory was not factual–how can we best establish a sense of … [ Read more ]

Nikos Mourkogiannis

When no clear moral purpose is articulated, a company acquires a de facto amoral purpose: expediency. It becomes the kind of company that professes, “We are here only to make money.” This can be very successful in the short run, but companies without a clear moral purpose cannot endure; they do not survive the changes they will face in their markets or business environments. Even … [ Read more ]

Nitin Nohria and Thomas A. Stewart

Confronting doubt involves coming to terms with differences in values. How does one choose between two valued objectives: safety versus liberty, scientific discovery versus the sanctity of human life, individuals versus groups? Sometimes we overcome doubt with faith, sometimes we privilege one set of values over another. And sometimes we just live with the burden of making choices when there are no easy answers.

Noel M. Tichy

You need a performance/values matrix. Jeff Immelt says it very well: Performance, performance, and values. Without performance – I mean, that’s what the game is about. But it’s got to be values helping you to perform. Self-absorbed learning is different from taking my learning and feeling a sense of responsibility to bring it to you.

Paul B. Thornton

Without mission, there’s no purpose. Without vision, there’s no destination. Without values, there are no guiding principles.

Paul Wieand

Identity is composed of three primary components that can be viewed as the brain’s core subsystems – emotions, values and intellect.

Leaders function at their best – when they are consistent in their values, actions and words, and therefore, trust is high – when they are aware of their emotions and maintain a balance between emotions, values and the intellect, and when values are the … [ Read more ]

Paul Wieand

While the intellect can change at the speed of thought and emotions can change at the speed of impulse, values are relatively constant and tend to change at the speed of trust.

Richard Marcinko

If you aren’t fighting for something bigger than yourself, you’ll be nothing more than just one more ambitious, opportunistic asshole who’s trying to claw his way to the top. Personal ambition may motivate you, but it’s not going to motivate anyone to follow you. Being a warrior and a leader is not about achieving personal success. Success usually does come to leaders, … [ Read more ]

Roy Spence

I believe that because of the acceleration of technology, consumers will make a purchase decision based not just on what you sell, but on what you stand for. I’m not talking about morals — morals are arguments that no one wins. But values are great connectors.

Roy Spence

People get confused between purpose, mission statements, and vision. “Mission” is basically how you execute your purpose, and vision is a statement of how you see the world after you’ve done your purpose and mission.

But purpose is the deepest river: You start with “What difference are you trying to make?” Your tactics will change, your ads will change, your mission might too, but your purpose … [ Read more ]

Stephen Covey

Principles should not be confused with values. Principles describe how things are and how they work, whereas values state where we aim to go. If principles are the territory, then values are maps. Only when we value correct principles, do we have “a knowledge of things as they are.” Practices are helpful in formalizing how to do things, but whereas “practices are situationally specific, principles … [ Read more ]

Steve Rimmer, Barbara Kraft and Charles Wheeler, with Joy Gramolini

Values, by definition, are virtuous, noble benchmarks for behavior. You would be hard pressed to find two groups that disagreed with each other’s value statements. True cultural integration, however, requires a focus on both organizations’ actual behaviors-not on rhetoric surrounding their conceptual values.

Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

Any organization, in order to survive and achieve success, must have a sound set of beliefs on which it premises all its policies and actions… Beliefs must always come before policies, practices, and goals. The latter must always be altered if they are seen to violate fundamental beliefs.