Monday, July 28, 2003

More on corporate values

Business Times p.B5
Monday, July 28, 2003

By Moje Ramos-Aquino
More on corporate values

Mr. Arnedo “Dodie” Lucas, managing director of Roadrunner Network Inc., has this to say about values:

1. Values come from the word value. It means something so dear and important that you will not exchange it for just anything. Core values means the thing that is nonnegotiable and nonexchangeable. Personal values mean that which a person chose to value. Corporate values, that which the company chooses to value. Both can be made explicit or can be kept implicit.

Corporations who are people-centered realize that corporate values cannot stray away from personal values. There should be congruence between the personal and the corporate. This is required for the organization to succeed in its mission. Personal values that mirror the corporate values is what makes empowerment possible at all. Empowerment is good for an organization because it saves on the number of personnel, provides better customer interface because of not having to ask higher-ups for the “final” decisions. It is also good for innovation and change because the environment of freedom allows all that. These together will produce more revenue and less cost, so more profits. However, empowerment without values is like giving the key to the vault to a thief or giving a gun to a murderer. So corporations who take into “empowerment” without the values will find themselves very poor quickly.

2. It starts with higher management doing a change “for the good.” If “goodness” materializes, then higher manager discusses that change with other managers. Managers now realize that what they experienced as a successful decision is based on values. They will begin to apply values as benchmarks to every decision they make. It will then become a habit and then a culture. Other staff then realizes how decisions are made and apply the norms themselves.

3. Our values: Truth, justice, peace, love and freedom. All decisions are squared with these. There is no “denial stages” when things are not going our way, corrections are accepted, conflict is accepted as a way to find the truth.”

Here are other edifying corporate values of successful Filipino organizations:

VCP Trading International: Professionalism, reliability, integrity, customer service and satisfaction, employee development and growth, supplier support and stability

Philippine Airlines: (5 TPCs) totally pleased customers; time management, productivity & cost effectiveness; teamwork, participation and communication; total personnel care; total personnel commitment.

Lopez Group of Companies: integrity, public service, entrepreneurship, loyalty, social responsibility and employee welfare

Rockwell Land Corp: excellence, fairness, integrity and innovativeness

Asian Eye Institute: quality, ethics, excellence and care.

Manila North Tollways Corp.: concern and respect for external and internal customers, teamwork, ethics/integrity, social responsibility, work excellence and commitment

First Philippine Industrial Park: passion for quality and continuous improvement, customer focus, teamwork, integrity, sense of responsibility, flexibility and respect for others.

First Gas: integrity, public service, entrepreneurship, loyalty with performance, teamwork.

Meralco: malasakit, integrity, quality, productivity and teamwork.

BayanTel: (ATOM) action, teamwork, ownership and meritocracy.

Adtel Corp: passion for growth, relentless customer service, sense of ownership, teamwork, strong work ethics.

Davis Fogg notes in his book, Team-based Strategic Planning, that these values are external (e.g. customer service, supplier support, social responsibility) and internal (e.g. teamwork, entrepreneurship, meritocracy). They are not about profit and money. They are about working toward excellence, caring and respect for each other with integrity and commitment.

Charles Handy writes in his book, The Empty Raincoat: “It is cathedral philosophy, the thinking behind the people who designed and built the great cathedrals, knowing that they would never live long enough to see them finished. The new cathedrals will not be of stone and glass, but of brains and wits. They will take equally long to build and we who must start the building may not live to see the conclusion. This is why we need to look beyond the grave and beyond our generation. It is hard to believe that we will make the sacrifices involved unless we can believe in the long-term existence of our little local world and of the bigger global one. We should, however, remember that there is no need for that continued existence to be in the same form as it is at present. The second curve is different from the first; there has to be change to be continuity.

We need to have faith in the future to make sense of the present.”

1st Congreso Internacional 2003 Panama. You are invited to attend the ASTD Global Network Panama Conference and Expo on September 17 to 19, 2003, at the Hotel Riande Continental, Panama City, Panama. Conference languages are both Spanish and English. Speakers from Africa, Australia, India, the Philippines, United States, Europe and Central and South American countries will truly give this conference an international perspective. This columnist will be speaking on the topic “Leadership and Development.”

For details and brochures, please call Grace Victoriano at 715-9332.

Personal: Thank you to all relatives, friends, colleagues and readers who consoled with us, sent flowers and mass cards and offered prayers and masses for the repose of the soul of my departed father, Ambrosio Zulueta Ramos from Basud, Camarines Norte.

(Ms. Moje Ramos-Aquino is president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp. and helps companies develop shared vision, matched missions and congruent values. She could be reached at

Monday, July 21, 2003

Core values as plot of your own story

The Business Times p.B5
Monday, July 21, 2003

By Moje Ramos-Aquino
Core values as plot of your own story

In business as in life, the best thing to do is write your own book as you go along. Don’t just follow what others are doing or saying. Otherwise, you will just be one of those more of the same.

To be able to weave your own story, you must ask the following questions: first, what do you want to achieve with your written masterpiece (your vision)? Secondly, why you are writing your story and what is your main plot (your mission)? Thirdly, how will you develop your plot? Answering these questions is what we call strategic thinking. They form the conceptual framework of your entrepreneurial book.

So far you have determined your organization’s shared vision and matched mission in this Journey in Entrepreneurship. We are now determining your company’s value system that is congruent with your own and your stakeholders’ personal value system.

Values will guide your day-to-day actions and thoughts that collectively create the desired culture in your organization. Stories of successful companies prove that you need only to articulate a few core values that:

1. formed from the collective beliefs of individuals in the organization. Shared and aligned with each stakeholder’s values;
2. become the foundation or standard of acceptable behavior and thinking concerning how to conduct business and everyday work;
3. are attached to everything, every action and every business decision in the organization. They are articulated into policies, procedures, practices, structures, rules of conduct and other similar guides for action of employees and other stakeholders;
4. are enduring and consistent over time. You never change them for any reason even if your business is in successful or dismal times; and
5. are driven and led by example by organizational leaders from top to frontline.

From these value statements, you could deduce why Boots Healthcare Int’l is hugely successful and why it attracts the proper employees, suppliers and customers.

• Passionately pursuing success.
This means that as individuals, they are prepared to challenge the status quo, aim to be first with new ideas and never settle for second best, know how they each contribute to the company’s success, stretch the boundaries of personal performance.

• Caring for customers.
This means that as individuals, they understand the needs of their customers and consumers, exceed their expectations in innovative and imaginative ways, respect commercial and cultural differences and use every opportunity to build relationships.

• Building powerful teams.
This means that as individuals, they agree on their goals and see them through, strive for consensus and not compromise, treat each other with respect and learn from each other’s experience and understand and recognize each other’s contribution.

• Working openly together.
This means that as individuals they are straightforward in their dealings with each other, listen to others, and explain decisions they have made, recognize and remove barriers to action and avoid a culture of blame.

• Acting with integrity.
This means that as individuals they are honest and do what they say they will do, take responsibility for their actions, guard and build the company’s reputation and brands and take into account the social and environmental impact of their business.

Boots owns 800 highly respected and successful brands and proprietary healthcare and beauty products and services. Among them are Strepsils, Nurofen and Clearasil. It has 66 stores and 106 host retailers like Watson stores worldwide. They are focused on the health and beauty market and are confident of growing with them.

More importantly, Boots management, staff and suppliers abide by their core values wherever they are in the world. They have written their own business stories and print their own book by living their values. And their stories live on.

What about your company?

World Peace: Bien Galvez, proprietor of Consolidated Diesel Parts in Quiapo, Manila, says to have world peace we should oppose anything that is genetically modified. We should preserve nature. This means preserving and saving lives, including those of unborn babies.

1st Congreso Internacional 2003 Panama. You are invited to attend the ASTD Global Network Panama Conference and Expo on September 17-19, 2003, at the Hotel Riande Continental, Panama City, Panama. Conference languages are both Spanish and English. Speakers from Africa, Australia, India, the Philippines, United States, Europe and Central and South American countries will truly give this conference an international perspective. This columnist will be speaking on the topic “Leadership and Development.”

For details and brochures, please call Grace Victoriano at 715-9332.

Personal: “I am requesting the pious readers to please include in your prayers the early repose of the soul of my father, Ambrozio Zulueta Ramos, 82, who died of heart ailment on July 13, 2003.”


(Ms. Moje Ramos-Aquino is president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp. and helps companies develop shared vision, matched missions and congruent values. She could be reached at

Monday, July 14, 2003

Company, individual values must be compatible

Business Times p.B5
Monday, July 14, 2003

By Moje Ramos-Aquino
Company, individual values must be compatible

OUR avid reader, Melvin Tomas of BayanTel, wrote to say: “If you want to be happy in your work, your values must be congruent with that of the company you work for. That is why it is very critical to ask what the values of the company in any employment interview. Sad to say that most employees are enticed to transfer or join a company because of pay, only to find out that they can’t grow to their full potential because the company doesn’t recognize their values or the other way around. Ergo, you are stuck with your entry salary (which is probably big at that time) and putting 10 times more effort to do your job because you don’t agree with your company’s value. One must be very careful in defining one’s value/s because there is no such thing as compartmentalized values. You can’t say that you love your family and yet spend every Friday night in a joint.”

For a company value system to be of real value to the company and its publics, especially its employees, it must answer the following questions:

• What are our core competencies?
• What are the capabilities, attitude and character of our management people that are critical to our success?
• What behaviors and actions do we reward?
• How do we manage diversity and conflict?
• How do we manage continuous learning and innovation?
• Who makes decisions and how are decisions made?
• What are the fundamental processes we use and by which we will develop our business?
• What is our company made of?
• What are the engines and enablers in our company that can drive our business towards our vision and mission?
• What are the strategies that energize our growth engines?
• How can our company tap into the infinite potentials of our resources (money, machine, method and information)?
• How can our company tap into the infinite possibilities of our external environment (marketplace, politics, competition, technology, legal and physical environment)?
• How can our company tap into the infinite talents and smarts of our employees?
• How can our company create and nurture mutually profitable relationships with our stake­holders (fund sources, stock­holders, employees, customers and suppliers)?
• How can our company harness and help the community and environment where we operate?
• How can our company tap into the rising aspirations of our country and the world in general?
• How can our company continuously energize our organization and people?
• How can we overcome our deficiencies and mistakes and learn from them?
• Is there actually a formula that our company can use for profitability and success?
• What are the fundamental components that make up an individual human being?
• What processes could help our employees grow and evolve into the persons they want to be? To achieve and succeed in their career and personal lives?
• How can the company make personal growth and happiness a permanent way of life for our employees?

These are just a few questions you can use to evaluate your current value system or agree on a new one. One final question is: Are your corporate values driving your strategies, making you achieve your mission towards the path of our vision? We’ll have many examples of corporate values next Monday.

World Peace: From Arlene Mandia of Skycable: “To contribute to world peace, I start with myself. I gain inner peace by being happy with what I have, by being and doing good to other people, and by appreciating and putting into good and noble use God’s gifts to me as a means to fulfill my mission in this world.”

ASTD Global Network Panama: This year will hold the first ASTD Global Network Panama International Conference with the theme, “The Revolution of Change in Businesses”, from September 17-19. Esteemed performance consultant Dana Robinson will conduct a Productivity and Performance Evaluation and will lead a number of speakers from different parts of the world. This columnist is one of the speakers. There will also be an expo of equipment, materials and services applied to human resources and development and other worksite issues.

Conference participants are principally business executives and managers, human resource and organization development managers and professionals, consultants and chief learning officers. For brochures and details, please call Grace Victoriano at 715-9332.

Personal Notes. My recent trip to Davao City proved to be unexpected. I conducted a Supervisory Development Program for Landbank of the Philippines. The participants came from different provinces in Mindanao–Cotabato, Lanao, Agusan, Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, Davao City, etc. They spoke very proudly about their life and work in their respective province. They say, yes, there are sporadic unpleasant situations, but nothing to be afraid of or wary about. At the very last day of our workshop, they scrambled to take their ride and were raring to go home to their family and friends. They say that there are good news and there are bad news, thank you, but they are happy where they are and will never leave their homes.

I was ready to spend my free time inside my room at the Landbank Training Center. But to my pleasant surprise, Davao City is alive and kicking 24-hours a day. The big three malls are bustling and making good business. Commerce is active among businesses situated everywhere especially along good old streets of Claveria, Bonifacio and J.P. Rizal. Of course, Magsaysay St. is still lined with durian vendors. We ate durian to our heart’s delight in one of the stalls there sitting on rickety “banko” with soft drink cases as our table. Durian for four days? What a life!

It is fruit season in Davao City–durian, mangosteen, rambutan, melon, honeydew, cantaloupe, lansones, mangoes, pomelo, many others. Lami kaayo! Catch the Kadayawan Festival next month, savor the hospitality of DavaoeƱos and dig into their fresh fruits and seafood.

One thing I admire about Davao City are their taxi drivers. They volunteer to give you change even if you have already stepped out of the taxi. The meter read P32, so I gave the driver P40. He gave me a P10 change because he didn’t have P8. And my friends, Ruth and Jojo Agullo say that it is always the case. Very heartening. I hope our cab drivers here in Manila take a lesson on honesty and integrity from them.

I had a reunion with my friends Jess and Mena Dy, Boy Uste, Rene Lizada, Manny Yarra and others. The Toastmasters are as active as ever in Davao City. Since I’ve not seen the City in years, my long-time friend Jess drove me around Metro Davao, shared lunch with me at Luz Kinilaw, gave me cratefuls of fruits and very tentatively asked me, “do you want to live here in Davao City with the bombings and all that?” The city-girl me hesitated for a moment, but my soul cries out, “yes!” Davao City is peaceful and DavaoeƱos are peace loving. They have retained those truly admirable Filipino values.

Do visit Davao City. Better yet, do your business there. You are doing business while on vacation. Labi’ng maayo! (It is best!)

Moje Ramos-Aquino is president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp. and facilitates strategic thinking and planning workshops. She could be reached at

Monday, July 7, 2003

Figure out your corporate value

Monday, July 7, 2003
Business Times p.B5

By Moje Ramos-Aquino
Figure out your corporate value

In the words of Scott Cook of Intuit: “The best companies stand for something. In our case, it is our value to do right by the customer.” Of the three values of IBM, its former president Al Williams declares: “It is not bigness we seek. It is greatness. Bigness is impo­sing. Greatness is enduring.”

Where do organization values come from? Do you just pick them from the air or copy them from a successful company? Corporate values are largely influenced by the values of its founders and leaders. The employees, the customers, the industry and the country are given due consideration.

The award-winning book Paragons by Alfredo A.Yuson and published by the Financial Exe­cutives Institute of the Philip­pines (Finex) featured 23 top executives of leading academic and business organizations in the country on their views on corporate ethics. From their insights you could see where they are coming from and how they are leading good exam­ples of their organizational values. It is under­standable why their respective com­panies are success­ful and enduring.

Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala II, Ayala Corp.: Much of the core foundation of ethics goes back to your own upbringing. Your back­ground, reputation, educational structure, beliefs and the way you behaved in the past–gives you a good barometer of the way you’ll behave. However, these do get reinforced later on by the institutions you become a part of. It can get broken down, disseminated or strengthened, depending on the kinds of institutions you become associated with–in your work, in your schooling. It’s a kind of building block process that takes place. There is a value structure that we try to live by in Ayala Corp. Rather than do a top-down approach on this, we did a bottom-up, and we took all the employees and put a structure in place for them to be able to define it. Essentially it finally distilled to five core values that we were very comfortable with, as a definition of what was important to Ayala Corp.

Pedro Roxas, Central Azucarera Don Pedro: From the days of my father and my uncles, the company had very strong core beliefs, which were then passed on. And as I furthered my own career, the more I realized that if you want to sustain your business over the long-term, you have to maintain relatively high standards of corporate behavior.

Ric Pascua, Fort Bonifacio Deve­lop­ment Corp.: I am the product of many influences. The first was how my parents lived; to some extent what they taught me; but to a large extent how they showed me. Se­cond, the people at school, the tea­chers. The most important, and las­ting, is my religion, my faith.

Guillermo D. Luchangco, Inves­tment and Capital Corp.: My personal view on corporate ethics is that every man must have his specific standards and a point beyond which he is not willing to go further. I try to live up to that even to the extent of foregoing income that I could have gotten had I violated my standards. As the founder and the top executive, the company’s view corresponds to my personal mindset. I set the tone for the company, so as a rule, the people in our organization respect and follow the pre-set guidelines.

Vicente Ayllon, Insular Life: At age 23, I was a working student. I had 40 laborers under me. I got to have an inside view on how the less fortunate live, what were their hardships and their problems. I learned how to get along with them, and learned what loyalty was all about. I learned about fairness in work. You have to be loyal to your people first before they become loyal to you. You do that by protecting them, taking care of them, and being fair to them.

Corazon S. de la Paz, Joaquin Cunanan & Co.: We are professio­nals, and a profession, by definition, includes adherence to a certain body of rules, which includes our code of ethics. That is how we view our relationship with clients, peers, the government and with the investing public. So a profession is really a body that has certain rules for advancement of its members in the professional sense, as well as on how you conduct yourself in all of your relationships with your publics.

Tony Tan Caktiong, Jollibee Foods Corp.: Since we consider every citizen in the communities where we operate as customers, we always consider the ethical implications of all our actions, with the end purpose of providing our customers total satisfaction.

Roberto M. Lavina, The Phinma Group: One of our companies is a large insurance brokerage outfit. We once had a chance to do business with the largest customs bonding broker. I learned that our general manager was being enticed by this marketing guy to push for a negotiated arrangement. I felt that I had to ask this question, “Is it something you can tell your children about, this arrangement you are making?” It would have involved some cash moving into the hands of public servants in return for which we would get the exclusive arrangement. We turned it down.

Joselito D.Y. Campos Jr., Unilab: The United Creed actually defines a set of truly Filipino values–unity and cooperation or “Bayanihan”; the welfare of the people–consumers and customers–above all; integrity and truth and honesty in all relationships; the human asset as the greatest asset; and the belief in Divine Providence.

Fr. Tamerlane R. Lana, O.P., University of Santo Tomas: In the case of an educational institution, the task of the people involved, like the faculty members and the staff, is to form young people to eventually become professionals, so that they prove instrumental in the trans­formation of our society. These people must then be part of the ethical values that the university espouses and teaches.

As the entrepreneur and founder of your own company, where are you coming from? If you are not clear about it yet, now is a great time for you to figure out your path in your business life by reinforcing your values. This value system will guide and help you lead your business to success.

World Peace: Our reader Joseph Do has this to say: For me world peace starts in ourselves. We must be rich in virtues; particularly RESPECT to oneself and others, and everything else will follow. Please include me in your prayers for I am currently taking my CPA review.

ASTD Global Network–Panama invites organization leaders, especially organization develop­ment and human resources profes­sionals to their First International Conference and Exposition on September 17-19, 2003, at the Hotel Rianda Continental, Panama City, Panama. Author and manage­ment guru Jack Philips will keynote the conference and will talk about “leading change.” For details and brochure, please call Grace (715-9332 or 714-4533).

Ms. Moje Ramos-Aquino is president of Paradigms and Paradoxes Corp. and helps companies develop shared vision, matched missions and congruent values. She could be reached at