If you read business books or personal development books, you are probably familiar with the concept of value creation. The famous coach Tony Robbins says that we should always think about how we can create more value to people and I totally agree with that. If we want to make more money the best thing we can do is obviously to create more value for society through great products or great services. But what is this value we are always talking about? If a tobacco company is generating a lot of profits, does it mean that it is creating massive value for society? Is the weight-loss industry generating massive value? What about the gambling industry?
What is value?
One characteristic shared by all human beings is the desire to be happy. For me, creating value simply means providing a service or a product that helps people improve their life and become happier. Why create a company if it’s not to help people improve their life?
I’m not a materialistic person and I don’t think that material things can contribute significantly to people’s happiness but let’s assume that it does.
Even with this broad definition of value, we can find many products or services out there that are not creating value.
For instance, let’s take the tobacco industry. Can we say it is creating value?
To know if a product or service is creating value we just need to ask ourselves the following question:
“If this product/service did not exist would the world be worse off?”
If you’ve never smoke, you will never feel the need to smoke and we cannot possibly say that if tobacco did not exist you would be less happier.
If your company is not creating value, and if you agree with my definition of value, it means that, unfortunately, you too are not creating value. It doesn’t matter if you work 80 hours a week or if you are the most talented employee in your company, you are not creating value since your work is just a small contribution to the products or services that your company is creating. And your company is not creating value.
The meaning of value is subjective but just assume that a company is objectively creating no value. How many people who work in that company would sincerely believe that their company is actually not creating value? Probably very few and there is a reason for that.
The danger of commitment and consistency
Let’s say you don’t smoke, you think that tobacco is harmful for the society and should be banned, but you got a great offer from a tobacco company. The pay is great and the job description meets all your expectations. You decide to take the job.
How do you think you are going to deal with the existing gap between your values and your job?
Because, your mind is always looking for consistency in your action, it will have to find a way to fill the gap. In order to do that, your belief system will progressively shift and align itself with your company’s values and beliefs.