The EFMD business magazine

The EFMD business magazine

Sustainable value delivery: Evidence is the key

Every organisation wants to deliver value. But not all do. Andrew Kakabadse suggests that following the evidence is the success formula.

Value delivery has been held as fundamental to the continued success of any corporation.

The attention given to continuously enhancing product and service quality, ever-greater team work and collaboration, improved strategy creation, more focused marketing and sales, and gaining that deep understanding of customer and broader stakeholder requirements are all testament to the drive for ever-enhanced value delivery.

Yet my research shows that delivering on value remains elusive. Many organisations experience that whatever value is intended, it is not the value that is ultimately delivered.

My global studies strongly indicate that one reason for inconstant value delivery is that no one definition of value or even competitive advantage exists within an organisation.

I have studied top teams and the strategy creation process across 12,500 organisations in 21 countries. Just over 34% of top team members are continually divided on the mission, vision, strategy, and nature of value and competitive advantage.

The result is internal strife and undermining behaviours at the top of the organisation, which all too quickly become the norm for the rest of the enterprise.

A further finding is that 66% of top management are too inhibited to raise this uncomfortable issue and through such paralysis permit the organisation to deteriorate to the point of failure.

In effect, strategy derailment and the continued lack of value delivery are the results of nothing being done to re-address unwelcome circumstances.


My latest global study of over 100 organisations across 14 countries provides some interesting insights.

Quizzing corporate leaders concerning poor value delivery led to revealing responses. It became clear that two contrasting approaches to creating value are held by leaders. One is about perceived value; the other is about delivered value.

In the course of my research I noticed that these different ways of going about creating value indicated two different types, or styles, of leader.

The creator of perceived value is more likely to be a big-picture thinker who elevates strategy above all else; while the creators of delivered value are characterised by their closeness to customers and other stakeholders. Most leaders have a default setting, leaning towards one or other mindset.

So, what do I mean by perceived value? Leaders with a pre-disposition to perceived value start by formulating a value proposition (actually it is probably best described as a value hypothesis) and then look for evidence to support their strategy.

Sustainable value delivery: Evidence is the key

See more articles from Vol.09 Issue 02 – ’15.

Andrew Kakabadse ( is Professor of Governance and Strategic Leadership at the UK’s Henley Business School and an Emeritus Professor of Cranfield School of Management, also in the UK.
His latest book, The Success Formula, published by Bloomsbury, 2015, captures the ideas in this article.

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