21 Oct 2009  HBS Business Summit

Transforming Giants

A new type of 21st century company is emerging that is transforming how business is conducted. These are values-driven companies that define a core set of values and rely on these values in making all strategic decisions.

 

Editor's Note: This is a summary of an HBS Business Summit presentation. View a full summary and video of the event on the HBS Centennial Web site linked below.

Date of Event:October 14, 2008
Moderator:Rosabeth Moss Kanter, HBS faculty
Speakers:Ann Moore, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Time Inc.
Daniel Vasella, Chairman & CEO, Novartis

Professor Kanter described her recent research on vanguard companies and the panelists then described the role that values play in managing and transforming their companies. A new type of 21st century company is emerging that is transforming how business is conducted. These are values-driven companies that define a core set of values and rely on these values in making all strategic decisions. Such companies are transforming themselves, their industries, and the world. This values-based orientation attracts and motivates employees, appeals to customers, leads to focused innovation, and creates competitive advantage. A focus on values enables companies to change and bounce back quickly from challenging situations. This is how successful companies will operate and behave going forward.

Key concepts include:

  • Vanguard companies are market leaders that are able to change themselves and the world because they put values at the center of their enterprise.
  • Vanguard companies gain tremendous advantages.
  • Holding true to core values through a transformation is important.
  • Identifying, understanding, and staying true to values are at the core of how Novartis operates.
  • More important than philanthropy is operating a business that brings value to the world.
  • The panelists agreed that it is important to try to influence the behaviors of other corporations and leaders. The challenge is how best to do this.
  • Read the in-depth summary

For more coverage and video:
http://www.hbs.edu/centennial/businesssummit/leadership/transforming-giants.html