Which Business Values are Overrated?


Everyone has their own ideas on which values and ideals are important in achieving your business goals. In this article I will share the thoughts of various leaders on which of these values are overrated, as recently feature by the Harvard Business Review.

Jonathon Gosling – Professor, University of Exeter Business School

Professor Gosling opted for the value of loyalty as the most overrated in business. He states that, while leaders have to feel united with those in their organization, they also have to look at the organization from an outside perspective. This includes considering the company in the eyes of a stakeholder and looking at the company and their colleagues in an objective manner. Professor Gosling even goes as far to state that there may be a ‘built in necessity for betrayal’ in business.

Buie Seawell – Professor, Daniels School of Business, University of Denver

Regarding efficiency, Professor Seawell states that the attitude that we have got to focus, pay attention, and be proficient at multitasking at all times can be prohibitive to producing creative thinking. He states that instead, what we need is to encourage innovation and creative interaction.

Jonathan Doochin – Assistant Dean, Harvard University

‘The idea of excelling without thinking of why we want to excel’ – Mr. Doochin feels the attitude of aiming for a specific goal, be it an ‘A’ grade at college or a certain target at work, can be a problem if it is not properly considered and thought through. We need to think about whether these goals are really important to us and how achieving them would affect us. Would it make us happy, and does it align with our values? It is common for people to have financial goals, but it is important to consider what we might sacrifice to achieve these goals, such as relationships with friends and family, and whether we really want to prioritize our targets over these things.

Maj. Gen. Frederick B. Hodges – U.S Army

While Maj. Gen. Hodges also opts for loyalty as his most overrated business value, it is for different reasons to those stated by Professor Gosling. Maj. Gen. Hodges feels loyalty is an important value, and it is one of seven values cherished by the United States army, but it is one that can be misunderstood. Loyalty should not be directed towards an individual, such as a superior within an organization. Instead the loyalty should be with the institution itself. In Maj. Gen. Hodges case this is to the United States itself, but in business loyalty should be to the company.

Mary Gentile – Senior Research Scholar, Babson College

Ms Gentile feels there is too much emphasis placed on being quickly decisive in problem solving – she feels it is important for business leaders to ‘Reframe problems, restate problems and even reformulate problems’. This can mean leaders can discover options and choices available to them that are much broader than if they had made a decision quickly and decisively.

You can watch the full video on the Harvard Business Review channel here:


This article was written by Chris Storey, Marketing Assistant at the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).

BlueSteps is the exclusive service of the AESC that puts senior executives on the radar screen of over 8,000 executive search professionals in 74 countries. Be visible, and be considered for up to 75,000 opportunities handled by AESC search firms every year. Find out more at www.BlueSteps.com 

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