JULY 31, 2019
Scaling Up Values in a World of Quarterly Results
How does an organization scale up its values so employees and other stakeholders are animated and inspired to do things in an ethical way, and to report when they see misconduct?
It’s a question author Verne Harnish, founder and chief executive of Scaling Up, put to LRN founder and CEO Dov Seidman at a recent event hosted by Bloomberg.
Most entrepreneurs are asked by the money people--venture capitalists, private-equity firms--how they are going to scale the business, and Seidman said this is the wrong question.
“I meet many entrepreneurs that sell their first company and say, ‘Who hired all these people?’ They fall out of love with their own company, and they start a second one to finally do it right,” said Seidman.
So, what is the right question?
“How are you going to scale your values? How are you going to build a human organization that is resilient, that people don’t quit when the times get rough, that can keep being propulsive and move forward?”
Business does things at scale by establishing frameworks, and Seidman said this is what must happen to elevate human behavior. “What is the system for elevated behavior?…One company after another is saying, 'Buy with us, shop with us, because of our humanity,'” he said. “How do you scale humanity?”
Seidman talked about the fight for market share between Word and WordPerfect, pointing out it was the genius of Microsoft and Bill Gates to offer a platform--Windows--that allowed Word to work with its other products.
“By having the right system, they could get Word, and PowerPoint, and Excel, and email to all work together,” said Seidman. “So...how do we create such a human organization that can run these more elevated apps? The only way to do that is to scale a purpose with a moral component, values into practices that are celebrated.”
Then, it is incumbent on the organization to measure how collaborative it is, how trusting of a place it is, as much as it measures revenue and market share, he said.
“Because if we only measure the how much, we’re going to fight against that system,” said Seidman.