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What's Really Important? The Value of a Value System

By Tommy Glenn

"We live in a time of transition, an uneasy era which is likely to endure for the rest of this century. During this period we may be tempted to abandon some of the time-honored principles and commitments which have been proven during the difficult times of past generations. We must never yield to this temptation. Our American values are not luxuries, but necessities, not the salt in our bread, but the bread itself." - Former President Jimmy Carter in his farewell address

In business as in life, the most important aspects of our activities and the very fuel that drives our behavior and success are our values. Based on personal experience and the experience of others in whose opinion I trust, I believe that successful companies start with beliefs and values. By putting your values into practice, you as a merchant level salesperson will solidify your business.

As entrepreneurs we don't always consider our values to be an essential part of our business, especially when we find that our activities are in conflict with them. As we have all experienced, in an increasingly complex world it is much easier to talk the talk than to walk the walk.

It is often an ongoing struggle to apply our values in today's marketplace. However, as former President Jimmy Carter expressed in his farewell speech " ... We must never yield to temptation ... values are not luxuries, but necessities."

Like Carter, I propose that the same values that drive our behavior and the choices in our personal lives also profoundly affect the experience and outcome of our activities in our professional lives.

With this premise in mind, following are some guidelines to use when applying the values that will drive your business endeavor:

Create a Sense of Community Responsibility

An easy way to look at the world that your business activities affect is to divide it into three categories. These are your:

  1. Customer/consumer
  2. Company (principals, associates and vendors)
  3. Community (including both the business community and society as a whole).

Once you have identified all the groups/individuals that your activities affect, align your values in a way that creates a balanced, sustainable and rewarding outcome for all parties. If you disagree with this approach, consider the impact that a business failure for any of these groups might have on your own success.

Foster a Culture Encouraging Innovation and Leadership

A great thing about setting and attempting elevated goals is that even if you don't accomplish everything you tried to accomplish, you still can be very successful. Attempting something bold and courageous has a tendency to bring out the best in us and those around us.

Consider the Experience and the Outcome

We all know stories of people who, after achieving great success, found it empty and unsatisfying. One way to avoid this outcome is to make sure that you and everyone in your organization enjoy both the experience and the proposed outcome.

If at first you don't succeed there is always tomorrow. If your best didn't produce the results that you wanted, don't abandon your ideals too quickly.

You never can tell when calling upon the best you have to offer will create exactly what you need.

If you have any questions or comments about this article or suggestions for future articles, e-mail me at . I look forward to hearing from you.

Tommy Glenn is President of Fort Worth, Texas-based NetBank Payment Systems (NPS). Glenn serves on the Board of Directors for the ATM Industry Association. He is also on the Board of Deliver Me, a service group that provides food, shelter and clothing for the elderly. E-mail him at, or call him at 817-334-8871.

NPS, formerly Financial Technologies Inc. (FTI), is the nation's third largest ATM deployer and the single source provider for payment processing solutions. The company offers a full range of ATM products and services. NPS is a wholly owned subsidiary of NetBank, the first commercially successful Internet bank. Visit NPS' Web site at .

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