I am pleased that we are seeing more organizations that are identifying and clarifying their core values. In other words, they are purposeful in thinking through what they stand for. Research has shown that values-based organization actually have measurable returns on the investment in being a values based organization. This return on values (ROV) can often be overlooked as a competitive differentiator in a crowded market. As companies grow, their employees face a growing number of decisions both large and small. Without clearly stated values, these decisions can cause a company to go astray.
Peder Johnson, managing partner of the Mississippi office of BKD, knows the important of leading with values. Johnson was born in Dallas, Texas, but grew up in Gulfport. He went to Millsaps College and received a degree in accounting. He worked for KMPG for over 25 years and served as managing partner of the Mississippi office. In 2006, he formed Johnson, Bruce & Host, PLLC, and in 2008, he merged his practice along with Smith Turner & Reeves, P.A., and Shearer, Taylor & Company, P.A., to form the Mississippi office of BKD, LLP. BKD, which is based in Springfield, Mo., is one of the top 10 largest CPA firms in the United States with 27 offices in 11 states.
BKD utilizes the acronym PRIDE to describe their values which stands for the following: “Passion for service to others and for making tomorrow better than today; respect — for the differences that make our team strong and for our legacy and the benefits of change; integrity — to do the right thing and to be objective and independent; discipline — in process and innovation and to balance professional and personal commitments; and, excellence — in skills and competencies and in our quest to be the best.” Peder said, “It is rewarding to be part of an organization with these type of values as part of its DNA.” He also shared that, “We are evaluated based on the values, and I think they are applicable not only for business, but for life in general.” I take note of the fact that BKD does not just post these values up for appearance sake, but instead make this a part of how they judge performance. You can change what you measure, and by making values part of the evaluation process, you can effectuate positive organizational change.
Peder also shared an important aspect of leadership, which is the ability to accomplish great things as an organization that we can’t do alone. He was very involved in his high school and church as a leader, and in his professional career he noted that, “I have been fortunate to be involved with business organizations that really mentored leaders and provided opportunities for growth.”
Even though he is an avid reader on leadership, he said, “I have found that most of my training was informal and on the job.”
While formal leadership titles usually follow, true leaders simply lead where needed. They step up and make difference. Great leaders also know that leadership is about multiplication.
As managing partner, Peder knows that his job is to raise up other leaders. He noted, “I believe that my role is to help others in the organization be successful. That means ensuring that we have the right people on the bus, giving them the tools they need and being there when they need help.” This is the law of multiplication for leadership. One talented leader is great, but an organization of true leaders multiplying themselves is unstoppable. For those considering clarifying your organization’s values, I would encourage you to consider the true potential of this and to unlock the power of the return on values.