The natural order of things

Online since 31.08.2016 • Filed under Industry news • From Issue 4 - September 2016 - February 2017 page(s) 16-19
The natural order of things

Sham Moodliar, CEO of Datonomy Solutions, founder of ApeTown skate clothing, and initiator of the HambaSafe app, believes that Connected Value Creation (also known as creating shared value) is the answer to a fresh business paradigm that dispels the shareholder-only focus. He explains to Emma Dawson how radically reinventing collaboration across the value chain can ensure shared value for all stakeholders.

This isn’t a topic reserved for the realm of hippiedom. As an expert on business transformation with 21 years of international experience with firms such as Shell, Accenture, FedEx and Red Bull, Sham is no stranger to the corporate world. But, yes, this article is about out-of-the-box thinking and, yes, it does have to do with a belief that we’re all connected and how important this is for society. Connected Value Creation (CVC) is about considering why we’re all here and how we can make a difference. ‘This isn’t a cult thing,’ Sham is quick to point out. ‘It’s about creating a dialogue so that people can do things in a connected way and move away from an attitude of me, me, me.’

Perhaps this begins with quantum physics, but it does encompass corporates that are in a powerful position to begin shifting the dialogue. Consider these questions:

How much value have you added for your customers this year, and what was the knock-on effect for our country? What have you done to really develop your people? And what have you done to add value to society (and we’re not talking about the budgeted 5% you donated for tax purposes)? To explain the philosophy of CVC you have to start at the beginning, from a point that scientists will confirm is fact: everything is connected. Just think of the trouble we’d be in if bees disappeared... However, there’s a societal intent not to believe that everything’s connected. ‘It’s not a conspiracy but rather a matter of convenience. If you do believe that everything’s connected then you have to hold yourself accountable and will have to ask yourself, how can I do this to myself? How can I do that to a system of which I am a part? It’s easier not to feel the connection and to distance yourself from the plight of others,’ Sham insists. ‘If this wasn’t true, how else do you explain the huge disparity in our nation or on our planet?’ In a corporate environment, the question around most boardroom tables is, ‘how can I make as much money as possible as fast as possible?’ However, Sham points out that what we should be asking is, ‘how can we achieve more together?’ And not about more together for me, but more together for each other because we’re all part of one system. So the question then is, how can we find new systems or paradigms for working together so that it’s not about CSI spend at the end of the financial year? If you agree with the principle of adding value to all stakeholders (customers, employees, society), then you will also realise that the process is as important as the outcome. ‘It’s the process of doing business – the drivers, not the outcome – that adds the value,’ Sham explains.

What does CVC look like?

Sham’s definition of CVC is: ‘From a point of connection to create value for all stakeholders – not just at the end, but in the process of the production of goods and services.’ A few tangible examples of how Sham is putting this philosophy into action are:

• At Datonomy: Operating a management consulting company where Connected Value Creation is at the heart of everything that they do – from dynamically staying connected to what is value for their clients and their unique ability to positively impact the drivers of that value, to building deep relationships, identifying opportunities to add greater value and delivering exceptionally together. Simultaneously ensuring that adding value to all employees is embedded through entrepreneurial plans and mentors.

• At ApeTown: Running a clothing company where the product, supply chain and manufacturing uses sustainable processes. Uplifting the community and generating financial value at the same time.

• With the HambaSafe app: Taking a stand against social ills that threaten to further polarise our communities by getting people to come together and work on a solution that encourages even more people to come together.

The transformation to CVC

Most companies focus on financial/shareholder value. When it comes to customers, companies will sell whatever customers are willing to buy so they can get their money. The attitude towards employees is that they’re assets to be sweated to make as much money as possible. ‘If you focus only on the short-term, how can you create future value? And, if you focus on financial value, what you’re saying is: “How do I keep harvesting what I’m doing now, and how do I keep sweating my asset?”,’ Sham explains. ‘By switching the dialogue to, “how do we create future value?”, you have more chance of creating a sustainable future. Not only are you harvesting, but you’re also creating employees with skills and knowledge needed for creating products and services for the future. It’s win, win, win all the way.’ This is where BBBEE currently falls short. Instead of encouraging a tick-box approach and compliance to a disconnected grading system, what we really need is intrinsic change.

So how do you do this?

If you don’t know what value is, ask your stakeholders what value means to them. ‘Once you have the answer, take a long, hard look at your organisation and ask if you’re adding value. Then work to understand what the drivers of those values are, and how you’re uniquely placed to deliver them. Embed delivering value in everything you do so that you also account for the dynamic nature of your business. Finally, reward everyone in the organisation for delivering that value so that everyone is winning.’ Sham notes that to add value for customers you need to understand their environments, determine what value means for them, and identify opportunities to add this value. You also need to build authentic relationships with your customers and deliver exceptional products and services.

For employees, the driver of value is what Sham calls the Entrepreneurial Plan. ‘I believe that everyone is an entrepreneur. Otherwise, what chance does a company have if personnel have an employee mindset – “I’ll get my salary anyway”? This isn’t charity work but you do need to make sure your people can be entrepreneurial within your organisation. At the heart of entrepreneurs is seeing a demand and fulfilling that demand. Value is the same thing.’ He adds: ‘I want to understand, empower and unlock value for my employees. In turn, I’m looking for equal measures of IQ (skills and knowledge), EQ (emotional resilience to handle the environment), and WEQ (the ability to collaborate with others and increase collaboration in a team). Our personnel are expected to add value to themselves.’

Working with the multiplier effect

Uncovering employee value per person is a process, and the output is an Entrepreneurial Plan – a driver of the organisation’s value. ‘In our company, mentors are assigned to each employee to discover what the person is really passionate about,’ Sham explains. ‘You’re looking at the entire person and what’s of value to that person.’ Once you’ve created a new mindset for your employees, you can implement performance measurement structures to support the understanding of what’s of value to your customer. Then, you’re able to take the knowledge of your customers – generated by employees – and combine that with the knowledge of your employee and what his/her passions are, to find the overlap. The overlap is the goal in CVC – it’s where everything connects and where the Entrepreneurial Plan focuses on increasing the person’s ability to add value to all stakeholders. ‘Sadly, managers and business owners often don’t want to invest in training because it costs money. In many organisations it’s about sweating the people – use their skills, offer the bare minimum in training, and find someone else when there’s a skills shortage. However, with the CVC model, employers hold their personnel accountable to match their skills to the demand,’ Sham enthuses. ‘The beauty here is because you’re doing all this in the overlap, there’s the multiplier effect – for the customer, for the company, and for the employee. If everyone in the value chain connects in the way they do things, then there’s a multiplier on each side of the process. Imagine the change you can make then!’

CVC beyond the boardroom

‘People need to understand that they won’t lose anything from doing this – rather, they can gain more for longer, and so will everyone else. It’s all about values and taking the road less travelled in a game that’s rigged for greed.’ We’re entering an Age of Transcendence where people are searching for higher meaning in their lives. ‘It’s not about corporate social responsibility. It’s about building companies that can sustain success. It’s about how to earn the powerful connection and engagement that enables truly breathtaking performance. It’s about aligning stakeholders’ interests, not just juggling them. It’s about building companies that leave the world a better place,’ Sham concludes.


Issue 4 - September 2016 - February 2017

Issue 4 - September 2016 - February 2017

This article was featured on page 16-19 of SABI Magazine Issue 4 - September 2016 - February 2017 .

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