“We got paid for bringing value to the market place.” ― Jim Rohn
Supposedly you throw a million dollar cash to a monkey, what will the monkey do? Apologies to the recent fable in Nigeria where animals are believed to begin loot money. Will a monkey appreciate the million dollar cash? Now, imagine throwing a few banana alongside the cash. The monkey is certain to go after the banana unaware that something far valauable was offered along. This is an analysis of what value is.
Value, to every creature, has varying meanings. Infact, even among humans, objects of value also varies. As a bunch of banana is of greater value to the monkey than a million dollar cash, a meaty bone is also of greater value to the dog than a bunch of banana, likewise water is of a greater value to the fish than a meaty bone. To humans, aside from the general value placed on money, a Carpenter is bound to place more value on an hammer than the value a Fisherman will be obliged to.
According to Wikipedia, “money is any clearly identifiable object of value that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts within a market, or which is a legal tender within a country.” Prior to the invention of money as a legal tender, there are various mediums of exchange known as ‘trade by barter’. The question hence becomes what makes money an object of value? And the answer is found in the recognition placed on it by humans. This is to say, if the recognition placed on a certain naira note is taken off by the Central Bank of Nigeria, the note no longer carries value no matter the quantity in anyone’s possession. This is to further note that value is not about any object in particular but the importance placed on such an object by individuals, authorities, and majorities.
There may really not be a generally accepted definition for value. This is because, as explained earlier, value means different things to different creatures. However, value can further be discussed into classes, which are but not limited to the following: Economic values, Ideological (religious or political) values, Ethics/Moral values, Personal values, Aesthetic values. Yet, almost all classes of values are instrumental to the demands of creating a business of value.
As an Entrepreneur, what value do you cherish? What value do you create? I once discussed in a previous article why no business will ever outgrow the success strength of its driver(s). I further explained this belief being that the position of a business is often determined by the mental and physical capabilities of those who drives it.
The most important class of value to any business is the Ethical value. Companies should not just be founded for the sake of making profit. A good number of today’s large corporations are primarily driven by certain set of conducts which are the vision, mission, and objective statements guiding the operation of any given company. The fundamentals of making profit is only mastered via the art of firstly creating value. Businesses that would not add value to their immediate environments are sooner do away with the same way an individual who will not add value to the lives of others is avoided in the society.
According to an online publication, thefourwaytest.com, narrating the history behind the emergence of a guiding principle, The Four-Way Test, authored by a consummate salesman, the web identified Herbert Taylor, a US Rotarian as one who devised a simple four-part ethical guideline that helped him rescued a beleaguered business. The publication also explained that the statement and the principles that the Four-Way Test embodied also helped many others find their own eternal compass. The Four-Way Test, embraced and popularised by the Rotary International, stands as one of the organization’s hallmarks.
My first encounter with The Four-Way Test was during my induction into the Rotaract club about ten years ago. Till date, it remains relevant as a guiding principle in all I do. Formally being a statement of about a hundred words summarized into a Seven-Way Test before being collapsed into four parts, the questions expressed therein are of what is needed to create a business of value that can stand the test of time.
In view of the above, I recommend Herbert’s Four-Way Test to you. Hopefully, in relation to your business and its ethical values (mission, vision, and objective statements), you reflect on this proven guiding principles:
THE FOUR-WAY TEST
- Is it the TRUTH?
- Is it FAIR to all concerned?
- Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
- Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
The Four-Way Test may not be satisfactory to the demands of running a business rather driven by profit-making, it however will help build a brand whose product(s) or service(s) will be trusted for generations. And to have won the trust of the larger public is to have created a business of value. As rightly put by Mark Twain, “always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other.”
We Can. We Will. We Must
Akolawole is a Social Media and Customer Service Executive, a Columnist with Stockswatch newspaper, a Techie, Media geek, and an active Advocate on Entrepreneurship and nation building. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org/or +2348085366022 (SMS only).