Magazine article New Zealand Management

EDITOR'S LETTER : The Value of Values

Magazine article New Zealand Management

EDITOR'S LETTER : The Value of Values

Article excerpt

Byline: Ellen Read

Values - how do you define them, let alone gauge their presence from an initial meeting? Moral, honest, wise... they all sound like good things; they all are good things. The difficulties kick in when you have to appoint people, or give them responsibility, based on their perceived values. How do you work out what theirs are? Are they the same as your own, one step better, or totally different and a good counterbalance?

Values are a huge issue for directors. With the spotlight increasingly on corporate governance, the values of those charged with responsibility for the oversight are coming under fire.

I don't know what they put on the job description for directors (come to think of it, I've rarely seen a position advertised but that's another issue), but I'm confident they don't say candidates should be honest, moral and sensible. Those qualities are expected to be inherent.

Which is where the problem lies: in the evidence (mainly from overseas thankfully in examples like Enron) that these things are not automatic.

Each director has individual values, which make them act or react in certain ways. Different ways. Not better or worse (on the whole) but certainly different. …

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