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Value vs. Values: The Organizational Split

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If we can figure out how to heal the split between value and values in organizations and families by being the change we wish to bring about, we will take a huge leap toward imbuing our lives with what is best in our natures.

The chasm separating value from values emerged in businesses more than 20 years ago. Starting in the late 1970s, companies experienced a rapid succession of traumatic shocks that—at first tentatively, then thoroughly—decimated longstanding assumptions about how best to finance, organize, and compete. Capital ceased being the scarce though familiar resource of yesteryear. The complexity, sophistication, and aggressiveness of financial markets mushroomed. A new market emerged: the market for corporate control. Out went the cozy ties among executives and their bankers who—unfairly, but actually—subsumed choices about value within a clubby world of shared values. In came the values-bereft Gordon Gekko, the ruthless investment banker in the movie Wall Street, who, like his real-life counterparts, promoted shareholder value and profited handsomely from it.

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The demands made on 1990s executives for financial performance would have given nightmares to their mid-century predecessors. So would the strategic and competitive requirements for success. Alongside persistent double-digit increases in available capital came the most explosive flowering of technology in history and a sea change in government policy. Powered by boundless expansions in the efficiency and application of information technology, companies with access to new ideas also had access to capital. Concurrently, governments undid 50 years of rules and regulations, thereby unleashing markets and eclipsing themselves.

Out went steady-as-she-goes monopoly and oligopoly capitalism. In came creative destruction—competition directed at upsetting, instead of reinforcing, the status quo. As one best seller put it, If It Ain't Broke, Fix It! Out went stability that required little strategy beyond protecting geographic position, co-opting government regulation, and signaling others in the club. In came a bewildering array of strategic options for defining and delivering value to customers. To ownership of the means of production and distribution was added control over the choices of consumption. Customers attained power to rival producers (although individual consumers did not recognize or use it as effectively as business customers). Value to the customer became the means to beget value to the shareholder.

In the early 1950s, when Charles E. Wilson left General Motors to become Dwight Eisenhower's Defense Secretary, he famously said, "I always thought that what was good for our country was good for General Motors and vice versa." At the time, neither Wilson nor many others had heard of ideas that would soon claim to be good for General Motors: total quality, customer service, innovation, speed, reengineering, horizontal organization, globalization, core competencies, teams, continuous improvement, benchmarking, outsourcing, downsizing, strategic alliances, systems integration, and eCommerce.

One of Wilson's successors at the helm of General Motors, Roger Smith, gained notoriety in the 1980s because, while he'd heard of such things, he considered them fads. When, for example, some folks from Human Resources decided to introduce quality into manufacturing, Smith pretty much ignored them as they hired someone to dress up in a mascot's costume and walk the plant floors as GM's "Quality Cat." They held a contest to name the mascot. One noteworthy entry: Tuna Meowt.1

Smith believed in cost-cutting. He bet on the past. He bet on what he could control. His faith in the tried and true was matched by the similarly backward-looking executives then running the Soviet Union. Smith watched as former GM customers voted with their wallets, competitors took market share, and, worst of all, GM employees lost pride, energy, and enthusiasm. One assembly line operator likened working at GM in the '80s to being paid for goofing off in high school.2

Organizations and their leaders can always perpetuate the status quo by clinging to the past longer than any of us think possible. GM is only now rising from the rubble of managing through its rear view mirror. It is doing so by tapping into the best part of its heritage: asking GM people to make great cars. During most of the '80s and '90s, however, GM was an exception proving a newfound rule: Under the mounting pressures of competitive destruction, pre-1980s organizational orthodoxy could not hold.

How organizations made decisions, allocated resources, and conducted work had to change. Out went painfully slow multiyear strategic planning and budgeting; out went steep, multilayered hierarchies constructed on narrow task-by-task divisions of individual responsibility. In came flat, horizontal, and fast organizations built around teams. Out went functional silos; in came cross-functional processes. Out went 9 to 5; in came 24 by 7. Out went the divine right of managers. In came employee empowerment, corporate culture, the best place to work and—pay attention—values.

According to the 1982 best seller In Search of Excellence, values were one of seven attributes of organizational design and behavior that explained the difference between success and failure. Values were the set of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors among people that described "the way we do things around here." If values did not coordinate with strategy, trouble followed. GM's woeful performance illustrated this. The way things were done around GM could not possibly have promoted any promising strategy for recovering consumer, investor, or employee confidence.

In Search of Excellence was not alone in touting the contribution of employee values to customer happiness and shareholder value. Reengineering the Corporation, The Discipline of Market Leaders and The Fifth Discipline are other popular titles of the past twenty years echoing the same lesson. In these books, values are a means to an end, the end being value. The link is odd, linguistically if not managerially. Value is the supreme effect—values one cause among many. Value is not a type or kind or subset of values; the singular value is not part of the plural values. Rather, values are a tool to create value.

Executives more on their game than Roger Smith learned that (1) the capitalism of creative destruction demanded new strategies and (2) those strategies required new organizational approaches that, in turn, (3) could not succeed without a shift in behaviors and attitudes among employees. Much, then, depended on the we who shaped and made real "the way we do things around here." For example, faster and flatter organizations could not flourish if employees hesitated to act without moment-by-moment commands from bosses. Strategies for creating value depended upon employees empowered by the values of the organization.

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One book neatly captures the linear logic by which values are a means to create value. Entitled The Balanced Scorecard, it argues that value is produced as follows: Shareholder value derives from customer value, which derives from the effectiveness of business processes, which derive from the skills and values of the people employed. The logic is sequential. The values and skills of employees produce results for processes. Processes produce results for customers. Customers produce results for shareholders.

The Balanced Scorecard advocates metrics and goals for all four links in the sequence: shareholders, customers, processes, and people. In that sense, it is inclusive of values and value. But The Balanced Scorecard is neither balanced nor ethical. It explicitly promotes shareholder value as the supreme objective. Values contribute to value, but not the reverse. Value is the single answer, the ultimate good.

Values? Yes, they matter—as long as the benefits to shareholder value outweigh the costs to shareholder value. In this scheme, values are split off from and subordinated to value. Value is produced by values, just as by technology, innovation, strategy, and so forth. Value stands apart, an objective. Value is the end, values one of many means.

The tragedy of The Balanced Scorecard is that of the wolf in sheep's gear—or the man in the pathetic cat costume. It is, however, far more sophisticated and, therefore, more pernicious than GM's "Quality Cat." It portrays itself as smilingly inclusive of values. Like the "Quality Cat," it cheers for values. Yet, its logic and teachings entirely subordinate values—and "we, the employees"—to being but one of many assets in service of shareholder value. Most people fail to generate or sustain enthusiasm about being strictly a means, one of a variety of assets. We have too many additional purposes for our lives; not insignificantly, we like to think of ourselves as ends.

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Books from In Search of Excellence to The Balanced Scorecard fueled a movement across the globe—the creation of "Statements of Values" in which organization's formally adopted the beliefs and behaviors employees were expected to practice. By the new century, most major organizations on the planet had a Statement of Values. The trend reached beyond the private sector—governmental and not-for-profit organizations joined in. The values defined in such statements were, for the most part, of a piece with one another: respect, balance, integrity, teamwork, accountability, openness, customer focus, diversity, innovation, speed, and learning. From Citibank to Shell, from KPMG to The Nature Conservancy, different organizations selected various words. All settled on the same core meanings.

Most Statements of Values focus on social values, the attitudes and behaviors that, according to the title of yet another best-selling book, we are supposed to have learned in kindergarten. Indeed, with regard to respect and integrity, the fact that organizations named them is, arguably, more notable than the specific values named. It indicated that we were coming to grips with what it means to live together—however partially—in societies, such as organizations, formed by purposes instead of places.

Other aspects in Statements of Values went beyond the social to the political. By formalizing expectations about "the way we do things around here," organizations established standards for political participation and consent under the leadership of the C-suite (CEO, COO, CFO, CTO, CIO et al.). Such values as teamwork, diversity, work/life balance, and accountability speak to political values more habitually associated with the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Only we use different terms when speaking of citizenship—terms such as rights, responsibilities, voting, liberty, free speech, decision making, and consent. Few organizations, however, dwelled much on the essentially political nature of their Statements of Values because, by the late 20th century, politics was an entirely negative part of organizational life (indeed, life itself). Organizations spent hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of person-hours debating, discussing, choosing, and communicating values. Proportionately speaking, no money or effort was committed to integrating value and values. Consequently, Statements of Values often made little difference. In organizations whose values already contributed to value and vice versa, all that occurred was an articulation of what had gone unspoken—perhaps imperiling values by depriving them of mysticism. Meanwhile, the companies most in need of clear, constructive social and political values rarely progressed because they failed to integrate value as one among many values. Instead, they exalted value, especially shareholder value, as their idol.

This dispiriting summary holds no surprises. Imagine that you work in an enterprise (such as GM in the '80s) whose social and political values have cast your organization into a death spiral. How much faith and credit would you give to a massive exercise that, when all was said and done, forcefully and witheringly conveyed three headlines:

  • "Here, at XYZ Corp, the shareholder comes first!"

  • "People are our most important assets!"

  • "This Statement of Values is to be posted on our walls!"

Language matters. "Assets." "Human Resources." "Human Capital." "People as Assets." "Shareholder Value." People are not adjectives, and people are not things. At least not exclusively or by preference. Can we usefully deploy the idea that human knowledge and skills are sources of capital and scarce factors of production and competition? Of course! But, when values flow strictly in one direction as a means to create value, and when people are seen strictly as assets, we violate ethical precepts that have guided the best part of our past for centuries. People are not tools. When organizations treat values as instrumental only and people as things—well, people do not need philosophy degrees to see through the sham. Employees can, and regularly do, detect false promises and insincerity, especially when the promises get no further than posters on company walls.

Instead of integrating economic and financial value as one of many values and explicitly addressing political purposes, organizations pursued a telling division of labor. Top management concentrated on shareholder value. They looked to marketing people to identify and deliver value to the customer and finance and operations people to make sure everyone delivered value to the shareholder. With few exceptions, the job of articulating values was delegated (some would say relegated) to Human Resources managers who often were uncomfortable and inexperienced in matters of value. The linguistic split between value and values was institutionalized as a job split.

A swarm of sentimental and idealistic critics have taken the field to condemn this. But, too often, the critics seek only to reverse the sequence. They seek to have values be the single answer instead of value. To them, economic and financial value should be the means, and values—particularly family, social, and spiritual values—the ends. Instead of the one-way, linear logic splitting off and subordinating values to value, they promote the opposite.

They ill serve themselves and us. Employees who intuitively grasp the indignity of being assets also understand that companies are not run exclusively for the benefit of those who do the work. Our challenge is to reintegrate value and values, not to choose sides in a destructive either/or battle between opposite sequences leading to a single answer. We cannot restore value to its place as one among many values by reversing the unethical logic of The Balanced Scorecard. And, perpetuating a dogma making values a means to the end of value is unsustainable. Value must operate as one of many values—all of which are both means and ends to and from one another. All human values—social, political, religious, technological, legal, family, and economic—exist in a force field with one another. No single one is superior to others.

Most employees embrace shareholder value as long as shareholders provide them with jobs, skills, opportunities, salaries, benefits, and membership in a thick we. We should stop forcing people to an either/or choice. Either you are a tool to create shareholder value. Or, in line with love it or leave it political theory, you should quit to find another job or start your own business. We ought to abandon either/or in favor of both/and. We need to learn how to be both a means and an end, and we need to insist that our markets, organizations, and networks reflect an ethics of both value and values. (See the Ethical Scorecard, Illustrative Suggestion #1, in Chapter 17.)

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We live, as Peter Drucker says, in a society of organizations.3 To which I add, we also live in a society of markets and networks and families and friends. Not surprisingly, the split between value and values in organizations echoes through markets and networks. There, too, value and values are estranged. In the markets with which we are most familiar—markets for products and services—our primary purpose as consumers is getting value for money. Few of us concern ourselves consciously with the values of the organizations that make, distribute, sell, and support what we buy. We are not in the habit, say, of considering the environmental values of oil companies when we purchase gasoline or the family values of financial service companies when we use credit cards. We worry about their values from time to time, but not usually at the point of purchase. Somehow the two sets of concerns remain separated.

The same division happens in media and political markets, organizations, and networks. Value is the dominion of business and economic news, and political news devoted to business and economics. Inflation, taxation, deregulation, reregulation, recession, growth, budgets, and deficits—all are the recurring themes of value sounded through the news. Whether packaged in sound bites or played out at feature length, the messages speak to value without reference to values. Meanwhile, following the commercial break or upon flipping to a different article, station, or Web site, we encounter news about values without reference to value.

These come in two flavors: (1) alarming trends, and (2) human-interest stories. The first are stories that scare us, that tell us values are deteriorating. Whatever the specifics, such stories point to underlying, systemic trends. News items such as the taking of American hostages in Iran, the Oklahoma City bombing, Montana militias, and attacks on the World Trade Center are about the recurring threat of terrorism. Headlines about dead lakes, smog, toxic waste, the greenhouse effect, acid rain, and oil spills chronicle the destruction of nature. Statistics and stories about divorce rates, sex scandals, latchkey children, Internet pornography, and priestly pedophilia recount the deterioration of the family.

The second variety illustrates good values packaged as human-interest stories. These provide anecdotal evidence that, well, things are not so bad. Positive human-interest stories suggest exceptional behavior, charming counterpoints to the drumbeat of deteriorating values. Evidently, human-interest stories are interesting because they remind us that something remains quaintly human about us.

Both categories of accounts—whether about bad or good values—rarely incorporate value. Meanwhile, stories about value, such as inflation, recession, stock market gains and so forth, do not connect to values. As consumers of news, of course, many of us connect value to values in our thoughts or conversations about such things. We might discuss, for example, the implications for family values raised by accounts of, say, executive perks and lifestyles. Or, we might remark to friends that there is an apparent pattern tying weak economic prospects for young men and women in the Middle East to recruitment opportunities for terrorists. But we are left to put the pieces together ourselves.

My criticism is not about thinking for ourselves. Of course, we must do that. Rather, it is a question of getting the information and analysis we need to think for ourselves in a world where informed purposes promise more than uninformed ones. In our world of markets, organizations, networks, families, and friends, we rely on the media to keep us abreast of a mind-bogglingly greater number of developments than concerned our ancestors who lived in worlds of places. Yet, by systematically isolating value from values, our media organizations, markets, and networks deprive us—their consumers—of the services and products we need to think and act as ethical participants in this new world.

Maybe sound-bite journalism is at odds with linking value to values and vice versa. Perhaps media organizations are stuck in old habits with unintended consequences, such as distinguishing among "news," "sports," "business," and "life." (Indeed, it is worth noting that sports sections do a better job of integrating value and values than others—probably because the business aspects of professional sports have so inescapably occupied the field of play.) Perhaps the editorial policies of media organizations are now handmaidens of business strategies relying on polarization, controversy, and celebrity to generate the ad revenues required to build shareholder value.

Whatever the explanations, the media's habit of divorcing value from values unfolds more than a problem of poor service quality unresponsive to consumer needs. There is a deep, underlying, and predictable behavior pattern here, one that habituates media organizations and the rest of us to the split between value and values. Repetition alone explains this. When so much of what we read, view, and hear are stories that focus on either value or values but not both, the separation becomes an expectation, a part of the reality of how we think about our day-to-day lives. It becomes "the way things are done around here."

The divorce is ugly. Look, for example, at the contest between value and values in recent presidential contests. History, at least the epigrammatic variety encoding memory these days, notes that Bill Clinton defeated George Bush in 1992 because the latter could not understand, relate to, or reverse deteriorating value. The image burned in our minds is of President Bush standing at a checkout counter bewildered by newfangled technology and oblivious to rising prices. Bush was inaccurately and unfairly branded by the media as clueless about value. The famous sound bite of 1992—"It's the economy, stupid!"—catapulted Clinton and value to victory. Pundits fussed over Clinton's dalliances, but got nowhere. Value elected Clinton again in 1996, even though the warnings about his personal values had so darkened daily headlines that Clinton was advised by political handlers to package himself as a promoter of values more than value.

By 2000, Americans had enjoyed an unparalleled run of prosperity. Value reigned supreme; good livings, as measured by value, were extended to tens of millions of people, many of whom, a decade earlier, had little hope of holding a job, investing in the stock market, buying a new car, or affording a trip to the dentist. None of us should take this accomplishment for granted. Value is not evil; value is good. And, value had delivered. Millions of small boats rose in a tide that provided dignity, opportunity, and other sources of material and subjective well-being.

Still, values suffered when value was king of the hill. This time the media stories were of the alarming trend variety. Just look at the headlines: Travelgate, Whitewater, Contract for America, Gingrich Shuts Down Government, Branch Davidians Burn in Waco, Terror in Oklahoma City, OJ, Monica, Impeachment. People were overwrought—not about value, but values.

I recall a conference of representatives from Red Cross chapters throughout North America held in the summer of 2000. The session's purpose was to imagine potential expansions on the well-known Red Cross mission regarding disaster services, blood supplies, and volunteerism. The chapter representatives divided into small groups and brainstormed. What happened was unexpected. Each group—independently—arrived at the same troubling question: What could the Red Cross do to help restore shared values in a world that all too regularly generated human, as opposed to natural, disasters?

The Red Cross folks overwhelmingly agreed value was not the main problem. Values were. In this, I think, they reflected the nation. In the subsequent 2000 election, Al Gore failed to straddle the widening gulf separating value from values. He simultaneously sought to redistribute Clinton-generated value while putting major-league distance between himself and Clinton's personal values. It didn't work. Values helped elect George Bush the younger to office. This time the bumper sticker exhorted us to "Restore Dignity to the Office."

It was close. Value won more votes than values, and many believe that Gore would have been President but for outmoded technology, local political hacks, and a controversial Supreme Court decision. Still, even if he held the office, his success or failure, like Bush's, would emerge from the chasm separating value from values—a divide that confers priority to the singular value over the plural values. Bush campaigned on a platform of values in a time of great value. In light of the dominance value has over values in our lives, he will only hold the office if he maintains and advances value, first and foremost. Or, if he finds a way to distract voters from problems of deteriorating value—for example, by capitalizing on a sense of insecurity to wage war.

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The rift is deep; it affects all who live in our new world of markets, organizations, networks, families, and friends. I am reminded of a twentysomething son of friends. As he made his way through college, he and his pals were increasingly absorbed with what seemed like a black and white choice: Should you pursue a remunerative career filled with the promise of wealth as a 24/7 workaholic in the global economy? Or, should you do something you might enjoy even though it seemed to imply dismal economic prospects? Should you pick value? Or values?

Like the East Germans, who grew dissatisfied with communism because they had access to Western television, radio, and music during the 1980s, our children are exposed every day in every imaginable way to the life of value. One account mentioned that teenagers see 3,000 advertisements per day. We don't need researchers, though, to tote up the value-laden messages and themes continuously—heck, intravenously—delivered through movies, TV, radio, music, magazines, and the Internet. But, unlike the East Germans, our children have no national or geographic wall separating them from value. There is only the either/or proposition pitting value against values.

The notion that, say, an investment banker might find meaning in his or her work and also—at work and away from work—act socially, religiously, environmentally, and politically responsible seems novel to those in their early twenties (indeed, to many of the rest of us too). The idea that teachers, government employees, auto mechanics, janitors, or midwives—or, increasingly, even doctors!—might thrive economically is equally disbelieved.

In response to this dilemma, a movement called the Graduation Pledge Alliance spread across campuses in the 1990s. It asks seniors to commit to social and environmental responsibility regardless of career pursuits. It is an example of self-exhortation without self-confidence—making stoic promises about values that we don't quite believe are possible to fulfill in a world where markets, networks, and organizations are so finely tuned to value.

There is a sweet naiveté in this pledge. Those of us over 30 know better. But we do not convey our knowledge to our children. Instead, we put them through years of education in which discussions of ethics are had in terms of citizen, community, and nation—in which we hardly mention, let alone develop, ethical action as employees in organizations, as consumers in markets, as network participants in networks, and as family members and friends living in a world of purposes. Intentionally or not, we ignore our world as it actually exists in favor of an idealized world of place gone by. Tens of millions of children and young adults, however, have never experienced a world of place other than in movies and television. The only world they know is a world of markets, networks, organizations, friends, and families. That is the world in which they need to find an ethical, hopeful path forward.

While college seniors confront their futures, many of their parents worry over the conflict between building greater financial security versus pursuing less remunerative options classed as making a difference. Adults, like their children, struggle with the conflict between value and values. Tellingly, in my acquaintance, however, are many adults who could diminish the pursuit of income and wealth in favor of a life of values, if they choose to do so.

When I inquire about this, I learn that most enjoy work and their contribution to the organizations in which they participate. They work in all manner of jobs: teachers, crafts, law enforcement, doctors, executives, supervisors, cooks, and more. And, while few express undiluted enthusiasm for every aspect of work, none experience work as the pain-filled, mind-numbing, and soul-killing drudgery described by 19th century philosophers and social critics. They do not work in the coal mines of industrializing England. Their participation in organizations yields both meaning and money—a reality we hear echoed any time we bump into a friend or acquaintance who has been downsized.

Yet, perhaps because so many inherited ideas incline toward categorizing life as either labor or leisure and as either doing well or doing good, many of us overlook and underappreciate how much we gain from the values we share with other people in the organizations where we work. Along with popular media, we romanticize a life of values unencumbered by the necessity of value. Like our children, too many of us believe we confront an irreducible either/or choice pitting value against values. What we somehow miss is what stares us in the face: the opportunity, indeed the necessity, to reintegrate value and values by taking action in the organizations where we work. Organizations are our towns—they are the social formations in and through which we make a difference today. We need to act in them knowing that we are the ones who determine "the way we do things around here" in organizations.

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Neither value-less values nor values-less value are worth much, and we know it. It is, I think, one of our dark secrets. It is the elephant in the room—the problem everyone knows exists but no one wants to mention. Value and values have parted company. More often than not, values are subordinated to the pursuit of value, especially in markets and organizations. Even efforts designed to promote values—such as crafting and publishing Statements of Values in organizations—are justified by the bottom line. When we are at work, we are told without embarrassment that we are assets in the production of value. We are asked to contribute to value through values such as teamwork, innovation, openness, diversity, and balancing work and life. The interpersonal aspects of such values are unremarkable. What is remarkable is that, unlike even a few decades ago, we encounter and practice such values far more in the organizations where we work than in the places where we live. Yet, these essentially political aspects of Statements of Values somehow elude us, perhaps because we associate politics with things negative and democracy with towns instead of organizations.

When we get home or go out, we see or read news stories that disconnect value from values even as they warn us about the scary consequences of deteriorating values. Like the Red Cross representatives I met in mid-2000, we wake up each day worrying about the next human disaster. We worry about a world that, as one Red Cross volunteer put it, "sits on our front porch." Yet, we recoil from the idea that politics is a constructive response to relentless trends the news media never lets us forget. And, because we fail to see or accept the reality of markets, networks, and organizations, we look past the venue where our politics can make the biggest difference: the organizations where we work or volunteer.

The habits acquired from living in markets, organizations, and networks imprint behaviors and beliefs at home and among friends. Our children think they face an irreducible choice: either value or values. We find it bewildering to balance financial needs with concerns about the environment, justice, spirituality, health, fairness, and one another. Yet, when we look to CEOs, government officeholders, media celebrities, and others who claim to lead us, we mostly encounter replays of the basic dilemma: the contest between value and values in markets, organizations, and networks.

It is not just that a genie has leapt from a bottle and we do not know how to put it back. We confront a profoundly different problem. The bottle itself has changed. We must find a new crucible for the errant genie—our new world of purposes and the markets, networks, organizations, friends, and families where we pursue purposes.

One approach I have seen succeed time and again echoes Gandhi's teaching to be the change we wish to bring about. In this, I think, we can take a cue from the quality movement that got such rude treatment in Roger Smith's General Motors. Among the hallmark lessons learned by people who successfully integrated quality into work are these: (1) quality is not someone's job; it is everyone's job; and (2) quality must be tackled in the work we do together.

Reconnecting value and values is a concern for all of us—collectively and individually. It is something we must grapple with in our lives as we actually live them. We need to blend value and values in the organizations where we work or volunteer. We also must embrace this challenge in the markets and networks in which we participate and within our families and among our friends. We cannot succeed if we assume that reintegrating value and values is someone else's job. We will not progress by staring at others who dress up and entertain us as "Values Cats."

The second of the two quality lessons is equally vital. No organization ever implemented quality by focusing on individualism. Inevitably, major gains in quality arose only when people acted together. For example, quality improved when activities such as customer service, product innovation, and logistics were reshaped by people who made quality their shared purpose. Individual responsibility was critical, but never enough.

Our new world of purposes has inherited a deep, abiding commitment to individualism. Individualism is one best part of our past. We cannot reintegrate value and values by abandoning our commitment to individualism. Yet, as the quality movement instructs, individualism is not enough. We must act together. In the best part of our past, acting together derived from many sources, including political values. To act together, we also relied heavily on shared beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes about "the way we do things around here." In this sense, the "Statement of Values" movement in organizations provides a chance to shape values of all sorts in the organizations where we actually live together with people other than friends and family.

Our new world has six social formations: markets, networks, nations, organizations, families, and friends. Of the six, organizations and families hold special promise for our future. It is in organizations and families that we spend the larger share of our time and attention. It is in organizations and families that we most persistently interact with other people who share in the achievement of our most critical purposes and with whom we inescapably share fates. Organizations and families give vitality to our strongest and most predictable shared values. They are our thickest we's. They are where we can act together most directly. If we can figure out how to heal the split between value and values in organizations and families by being the change we wish to bring about, we will take a huge leap toward imbuing our lives with what is best in our natures.

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