Return to People

Narayana Mandaleeka’s Paper Proposal

Achieving organizational excellence by adopting “Values to Value™” framework.

Organizations pursue ‘Quality’ in their offerings while demonstrating ‘Excellence’ in what they do. Quality is to win the client confidence by delivering value and Excellence is for surviving the competitiveness. Excellence is a journey and it is about promise and hope. It is not about any quick fix solutions for the complex problems currently plaguing the firms or nations, but actually showing light at the end of the tunnel. By embracing simple principles, we can start moving towards that light maintaining a healthy balance between continuity and innovation.

The key challenges faced by today’s manager are coping with the rapid change and complexity and uncertainty. The managers need to be enabled to act themselves into a “new way of thinking” rather than think themselves into a “new way of acting”. Most visionary leaders agree that Systems Thinking is critical to solving complex problems. Managers also need to find a balance between the opposing interests of the firm’s different stakeholders. The Multidimensionality character plays a very important role in understanding this tension and brings about the balance.

Business is about creating and delivering Value to all its stakeholders. More importantly, the value created is to be captured too, through its business models and complementary assets. How is the value created in the first place? It is the Processes that the firm adheres to embedding the required Qualities into its offerings.

When one understands things holistically, the future of humanity depends on the sustainability of a complex system involving three interdependent, highly fragile sub-systems: the natural environment, the social/political system and the global economy. With the melting down of the financial sector, social unrest, global warming and natural calamities showing up more often, we are beginning to feel the ‘system is acting as a whole’ to reach certain (?) equilibrium. Instead can we Design to steer our own destiny? The important stakeholders connected with these sub systems act on different time scale than the stakeholders in the vicinity with which a firm explicitly deals with. Any “Responsible Business” should be equipped to think into these aspects and work towards Sustainability. On this aspect the very survival of a business organization hinges. This way of thinking will bring about right amount of efficiencies and effectiveness to firm’s operations. This is easier said than done. The bed rock for all these actions are Values that the firm internalizes and shapes its attitude, behavior and thinking into its daily routines. Thus Values to Value play a very important part in excellence journey.

By adopting “Values to Value™” as a working framework and philosophy to design the offerings that interest the clients, organizations stand to gain in excellence. The second term in the above working philosophy, “Value” refers to the stakeholder value that should come out holistically. A key component in problem solving is to understand the problem from different perspectives. Learning takes place by designing the solution with this understanding and performing as per the design. In reality, achieving the goal may not be as simple as it is thought out to be. In the complex and uncertain situations the goals may be evasive till the point a good enough understanding of a situation is arrived. With each successive action cycles the learning deepens the understanding and prepares one for the next cycle of action bringing close to targeted outcomes. Thus achieving goal is a journey involving reflection on the results, conceptualization of the reality followed by experimentation (innovation). The goal itself may be changing with changing environment (in the contexts of businesses or otherwise)


  1. There’s a lot of interesting stuff here, many insights.

    One that seems a little odd to me is that the natural environment is fragile. I think the remarkable thing about the natural environment is how resilient it has been for so long. To me it is a sort of homeostatic. And we have been able to assume it would return to its stable state for a very long time. Now the question is, have we transcended the limits of its homeostasis. I think it is likely we have. If we have, then I see the natural environment as having become fragile. It seems to me that perhaps the point where systems lose their homeostatic quality may be critical to what you are discussing.

    I will be interested to see how you bring your concerns into line with the conference themes of action, learning and understanding. I am not saying that there is no connection, rather that I look forward to your explanation of what the connection is: I think I will learn much from this.

  2. The motivation I have for writing this abstract is coming from Business Excellence. As organizations , time to time we subject ourselves to assessment on the excellence journey.We try to score more than previous assessment in this journey. But often times, we report on what has happened rather than our intent/design and steer the ship towards that destiny, instead of subjecting to fragility due to the forces around. Organizations need to be living, learning, knowledge creating, mindful and conscious. There seems to be “Biology of Business Organizations”.

    I am hoping to present my understanding with some some working principles for organizations and seek your feed backs.

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