Edward de Bono.
The Six Value Medals. The essential tools for success in the 21st Century
Vermilion, an Imprint of Ebury Publishing, Random House, London. 2007. pp. 176, Rs. 245 (Flipkart)
The author is well known for some amazing books like How to Have a Beautiful Mind and Six Thinking Hats. In this forward-thinking book, the author has endeavored to push our thoughts towards a value-driven framework.
When businesses and commerce started gaining momentum in the 17th, 18th century; the sole focus was growth, economical progress and dominance. There was scant regard for anything else. The common tendency of past and today’s businesses is to operate and resolve issues on the way. This is true and is necessary. But the author questions that by simply operating and maintaining are we honestly exploiting our true potential or remaining stunted? He implores his readers to question what should be the true differentiating factors given all common things as constant and available equally.
Edward de Bono contends in this book that competence, information and state-of-the-art technology has become a commodity in today’s world. As a professional or as a company, these factors can be easily replicated. In such a scenario, what will be the differentiating aspect to become competitive and establish as a market leader? He suggests that in the future we will have to embed values in our thought-process and analysis and launch oneself as value-driven from all perspective.
This is a coming of age book for all of us who play various roles in personal life, in our families, organizations and society. The paradigm of conducting ourselves and doing business are changing rapidly and the solutions that will survive the test of time will have to be value-driven. It is no longer about the bottom-line but the values that steer us and our employees and stakeholders in a particular manner. If we understand them, we can come up with amazing solutions and outcome.
Values are prevalent everywhere and in all our actions whether we acknowledge it or not. It is embedded in our subconscious mind. The author’s framework of Six Value Medals highlights various areas or our lives.
· Gold Medals - Human Values
· Silver Medals- Organizational Values
· Steel Medals- Quality
· Glass Medals- Innovation and Creativity
· Wood Medals- Effects on environment
· Brass Medals- Perceptual Values
These values can be rated as strong, sound, weak or remote. Edward de Bono suggests that for any decision, if we follow a simple scoring method for each value, we can make solid progress in our decisions. Every project, issue, conflict, idea, change can be slotted into this framework with promising results.
What will set us apart is how we make decisions, how we choose and think, how we find solutions, how we function and interact with our customers, suppliers, lenders, employees and community. The author implores us to introspect about our values. He points out that values are often perceived as “vague” and “intangible”. And that is where this book becomes useful. It provides a framework to put this intangible factor into perspective, to understand values and assess them.
This book is a tool and not a solution in itself. It stimulates our neurons to think and think deeper and differently. The value triangle and the value map act as guides to help us analyze and assess various values and make sound decisions.
This short book is spread across 19 concise chapters making it easy to read, comprehend and retain. Chapter 3 is the heart of the book which basically explains the framework. Each of the medals is explained in specific chapters. The key lessons and pointers for analysis and implementation lie from Chapters 11 through 16.
This book is seriously recommended for business owners, middle and top managers as well entrepreneurs for personal growth and driving their organization towards a more durable and resilient future. When we start our business, rarely do we ponder about mission or vision. The first scramble is to stay afloat. As we grow and stabilize, we realize that there is a need for something “extra” to become sought after. And that extra is Values in individuals, teams or companies. The author’s larger message in this book is embedding values in how we function will ultimately enrich our society. The author has beautifully presented the tool in a short reader-friendly manner which can be effortlessly absorbed maybe over a weekend. And the reward for investing the time in reading the book will be manifold if implemented in the right spirit and intention.
If you are a budding entrepreneurial venture or an established company, a beginner in a professional career or an industry veteran – this is a must read book to enhance and enrich your work and family, to add a whole new dimension and meaning to your life.