The Impact of Owner Values on Performance

By Guest Contributor Mark Welker –




Some people believe that it is the events that control your life, but in reality it is your belief about the events that is the controlling factor. Beliefs are the acceptance of a perception being true and a conviction that this belief fits reality. Beliefs are the building blocks of values. They combine both a cognitive choice and an emotional response to certain triggering events that produce a consistent response. These beliefs when clustered together produce a value.


A value is a single belief concerning an ends or a means. Ends might be you being rich or the world at peace, while a means might include being honest or having ethical behavior. Values provide the motivation through which we achieve personal fulfillment or a feeling of self-worth. The motivation is released as focused behavior on a desired end. Much like the motivation to start a business, the motivations of each might be different. Some owners are concerned about the money, some want to achieve independence and some simply believe that they could take better care of the customer or make a better widget and the money will be secondary. The functional policies used in small businesses are sometimes very unique. The policies are generally controlled and affected by the owner in a very pragmatic way. Remember, these are the policies that provide the guidelines for decision-making and converting plans into actions.


The owner’s personal leadership style has a significant impact on the way the company addresses problems, because to a large degree, the style creates the norms and values used to control and operate the business. The degree to which the owner has developed self-awareness of their values and behaviors can be a determining factor in business success. Business owners must take the leadership role in mobilizing the people to adapt their work to changing realities. Business owners behave in certain ways and have different values. They do not always understand their core motivations or actions. Business owners should understand their strengths and weaknesses as well as their guiding values.


The culture of a company is the reflection of the owner’s values. The culture begins when the owner imposes their own values on the company. If the company is successful and the assumptions, based on owner values, prove useful – these values are taken for granted and used in decision-making. When the company or business encounters changes in the environment the assumptions are questioned. An extreme example of this might be the stated values of the Marine Corp., Honor, Courage, and Commitment. These are the core values that guide each Marine’s decision making, or said another way “who he/she acts like in the dark.” Yes, I understand that there are failures, for example, in a cover up, but in most situations they work. The powerful proof is that they have been able to take people from all walks of life and align them with the Marine Corps core values.


What are the controlling values when you are not there? This model could be used to develop guiding values for a company. An example of the values used in a company might be Ethics, Responsiveness, and Profitability for example. Owners have a responsibility to clarify the guiding values of the company, because that is the basis used to make the judgments and decisions that affect all stakeholders. (Many people have a need to be part of something bigger than they are).


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Michael Monnot


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Michael Monnot


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