Inside the Box: Leading With Corporate Values to Drive Sustained Business Success

Inside the Box: Leading With Corporate Values to Drive Sustained Business Success

by David S. Cohen

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How to turn company values into competitive advantage

We are inclined, for whatever reason, to treat values like works of art. We view them as nice to hang on the wall, and beautiful to look at, but we don’t act as though they truly mean much to us in the real world. In fact, the opposite is true. The best organizations understand their values,


How to turn company values into competitive advantage

We are inclined, for whatever reason, to treat values like works of art. We view them as nice to hang on the wall, and beautiful to look at, but we don’t act as though they truly mean much to us in the real world. In fact, the opposite is true. The best organizations understand their values, articulate them clearly, and hold them higher than any short-term concerns or short-cut methods. This does not put these companies at a competitive disadvantage. It is the source of their competitive advantage.

If there's no clarity at the top about what values really mean, then there's no consistency at the management level or further down the organization. This means that there's no way to measure, coach, assess, promote or fire people in line with those values. Any organization that does not articulate its values concretely functions like a modern Tower of Babel. No one can be quite sure that they are speaking the same language at different levels or different locations within the organization. Decisions don't always make sense or feel right. Confusion reigns. No matter how compelling and inspirational the organization's vision may be, its aspirations fall far short in reality.

Values are about achieving results in a way that is consistent with what an organization stands for. They provide a direct connection between the CEO, the factory worker and everyone in between; and form the basis of the organization's "brand" as understood by employees, customers, suppliers and even shareholders. When the work is done right, values provide an organizing principle, a directional compass that helps organizations succeed; they become a source of energy for an organization's vision, strategy and day-to-day efforts. Vision, strategy, market share, reputation and profits are all very important – but having a clear and consistent set of values is far more critical in predicting whether an organization will continue to succeed and grow as its people, markets, competitive landscape and technology change. People must make their contributions to an organization willingly and independently to bring passion, commitment, creativity and energy to a job. But they will do so only so long as they believe that what they are doing is authentic and meaningful, and is part of a code of commitment shared by the organization as a whole.

Inside the Box focuses on values in a clear and practical way to understand what they are, where they come from and how they are transmitted from employee generation to generation. Inside the Box provides a roadmap for any leader or manager on how to identify the values that make an organization, department, team, or individual unique. It also shows how to measure whether an organization or individual is operating according to those values, and how managers can use values as the basis for all of their people decisions and drive superior performance as a result.

Product Details

Publication date:
Jossey-Bass Leadership Series - Canada
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
File size:
733 KB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Praise for Inside the Box

“Corporate values drive passion in employees.  David Cohen has captured in this book what every corporate executive needs to understand about corporate values.  The theory is concise while the practical, real world examples clearly illustrate the ‘how to’ for every company to be successful.”
Robin Wohnsigl, President and COO, Airbus North America Customer Services, Inc.

“Almost every company has stated values—far fewer live their values.  Inside the Box is a very personal and readable guide to making it happen, explaining why values matter, and how to make corporate values an important part of employee’s lives. Read this book and don’t just have values – live values!”
Marshall Goldsmith, Professor, Alliant International University’s Marshall Goldsmith School of Management; Author or co-editor of 22 books, including The Leader of the Future (a Business Week best-seller) and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There; Recognized by The Wall Street Journal  as one of the top ten executive educators, by Forbes as one of   five most-respected executive coaches, and by The Economist as one of the most credible thought leaders in the new era of business.

“Page after page, story after story, you learn the importance of values driving sustained business success. This book is representative of who Cohen is and what he is about—an intellectual business leader whose values and life lessons provide the content for a fascinating inside look at the issues that leaders face every day.”
Jo Lynn Williams, Human Resources Executive, Citigroup

“Organizations operate with business strategies but people behave based on values.  This book provides both visionary and practical information on the importance of integrating values through stories, policies and practices.”
Bernadette Kenny, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Adecco Group North America

More Praise for Inside the Box

Inside the Box addresses one of the most over-hyped but under-valued issues in business today: corporate values. There are so many examples of companies pursuing essentially the same strategy and positioning with vastly different business performance. I am convinced that it’s the quality of the leadership that is the source of the difference in performance, and without strong values that leadership is elusive. Companies with strong enduring values are companies that endure.”
Martha Clark, Global Human Resources Director, AXA Rosenberg

“Inside the Box, Inside Corporate Headquarters, Inside the Locker Room…the game plan for success is spelled out clearly by David Cohen. The values formula is wonderfully articulated and so applicable in all of our worlds.”
David Poulin, Athletics Development, the University of Notre Dame; 13-year NHL career, 3-time NHL All-Star, playing for the Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins, and Washington Capitals; 10-year Notre Dame Head Hockey Coach

“Reading David’s new book underscored the appreciation I have for the importance of values in my organization and in my life.”
Paul Bottero, President, Computer Horizons Canada

Meet the Author

Dr. David S. Cohen is founder of, and senior consultant in, the Strategic Action Group Ltd., a consulting firm specializing in organizational behavior and leadership development. His work with corporations helps create a link between the people and the business plan. His focus is on management and leadership development; behavior-based selection and performance management; helping corporations to articulate their values and develop a strategic vision; and creating high-performance, results-focused organizations.
Cohen’s background spans both corporate consulting and education. He has consulted with a diverse group of clients in the United States, Canada and South America, as well as in Europe, South East Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, assisting companies to create integrated human resources processes that are aligned with the business plan, vision and values of individual clients.
He is a sought-after speaker on business values, leadership and human resource issues and has presented frequently for groups such as Linkage, IQPC, the US Conference Board, Intelligence Business Networks (IBN), Malaysia and the Human Resources Professional Association of Ontario Annual Conference. He is also called upon as a keynote speaker at a variety of corporate programs.
Dr. Cohen holds a doctorate in Education from Boston University. He is the author of The Talent Edge: A Behavioral Approach to Hiring, Developing, and Keeping Top Performers (Wiley, 2001).

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