Jadranka Ivankovic, a Croatian businesswoman and VERN' University scholar, opened the second day of ECMLG 2014 with an important message: that values, and a strong values-set, are often the difference between success and failure in business.
Speaking from an informed point of view (as a member of the Management Board of Podravka, a food manufacturing company), Ivankovic provided a timely reminder that the best strategy and management systems alone provide no guarantee of business success. Rather, successful business performance requires hard (management: plans, systems, actions, results) and soft (leadership: attitudes, values, culture, behaviours) expertise, at least.
Ivankovic outlined how Podravka went through the process of creating, adopting and embedding a set of values in the very heart of the company. Something like 500 of the 5000 staff were directly involved, in focus groups; in informal discussions; in presentations and in communicating and championing the adopted values once they were agreed by the board. She suggested that the most successful companies are values-driven, and that if a company truly values its values set, there is actually only one boss: the values!
While Ivankovic's message was not ground-breaking per se, it provided a timely reminder that businesses are actually constructions of people, and that without committed people, aligned to a common way of thinking, behaving and acting, then business success can be only but a dream.
Thoughts on corporate governance, strategy and effective board practice; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.