Return on Values: Company Culture and Its Impact on Profit are Focus of New Research Partnership

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The Small Giants Community and the Center for Values-Driven Leadership announce a new research initiative, “Return on Values,” which will explore the relationship between corporate culture and business success factors in small- to mid-size companies.

“We want to show that engagement with multiple stakeholders is not just the right thing to do for small- and medium-sized businesses, but it is good for business.” -- Paul Spiegelman, founder of the Small Giants Community and CEO of The Beryl Companies

The Small Giants Community (SGC) (http://www.smallgiants.org), a global group of company leaders who define success not only by their bottom line but by their contributions to their community, dedication to great customer service, and the creation and preservation of workplace cultures of excellence, today launched a new research initiative, “Return on Values,” which will explore the relationship between corporate culture and business success factors in small- to mid-size companies.

“Return on Values” is a joint initiative of the Small Giants Community and and the Benedictine University’s Center for Values-Driven Leadership (CVDL, http://www.cvdl.org), which seeks to help business leaders forge new paths to profitability,

The two organizations announced the initiative at the SGC annual international summit in San Francisco, in June.

“A growing body of literature indicates there is a clear business case for doing business the right way – with concern for your employees, community and customers,” said Jim Ludema, Ph.D., director of the CVDL and principal investigator for the research initiative.

“We know many businesses that are shining stars in this area, leading the way in their industries while being responsible and caring to their stakeholders,” he added. “But we don’t yet have a clear understanding of how these factors directly impact traditional measures of business success, like revenue and profit. The Return on Values study will explore the business case of their success.”

“Return on Values” is a three-year undertaking which will explore qualitative and quantitative measures of the relationship between cultural factors and business success.

“We want to show that engagement with multiple stakeholders is not just the right thing to do for small- and medium-sized businesses, but it is good for business,” said Paul Spiegelman, founder of the SGC and CEO of his own corporation, The Beryl Companies(http://www.berylhealth.com). “We want to connect the academic world and the practitioner world around these concepts.”

The study will also result in resources that business leaders can employ to replicate similar success.

“We expect to uncover not only empirical data, but great case studies that can be used to teach others about how to run values-based businesses and become the framework for curriculum development for future business leaders,” Spiegelman said.

SGC and CVDL first connected through Chicago business owner Tom Walter, a member of the SGC who has frequent interaction with graduates of Benedictine’s College of Business and the CVDL. “This collaboration combines two organizations that understand the importance of values in the workplace – one academic-based and one a community of businesses,” Walter said. Businesses like Walter’s award-winning Tasty Catering (http://www.tastycatering.com) will be studied as part of the initiative.

The CVDL will partner with other research institutions to complete the work, which will then be published in both academic and practitioner markets.

“We’re delighted to be working with the CVDL,” Spiegelman said. “With our different skill sets and resources, our like-minded organizations together can make a valuable contribution to the body of academic knowledge which will have an immediate and lasting impact for engaged practitioners.”

“The Center for Values Driven Leadership has an outstanding reputation for teaching business leaders how to run their businesses based on a foundation of core values,” Spiegelman said. “This aligns perfectly with our business philosophies. We know that CVDL has the resources and people to manage this project to achieve groundbreaking results.”

For more information on this initiative, please contact Amber Johnson, CVDL corporate relations adviser and the research initiative’s communications manager, at (312) 316-0680 or amberjohnson(at)ben(dot)edu.

About the Small Giants Community
Founded in 2009, the SGC is comprised of small business leaders all over the world who define success not only by their bottom line but by their contributions to their community, dedication to great customer service, and the creation and preservation of workplace cultures of excellence. The community takes its name from Bo Burlingham’s book, “Small Giants: Companies That Choose to be Great Instead of Big (Paragon, 2006).” Burlingham, an Inc. magazine editor-at-large, observed a set of six common characteristics in the successful companies he examined. The SGC serves to make these characteristics more common in small businesses.

About the Center for Values-Driven Leadership
The Center for Values-Driven Leadership offers research, education, and outreach opportunities to help business leaders forge new paths to profitability. It is a gathering place where top executives, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders come together to innovate at the forefront of values-driven business practice. More information about the Center can be found at http://www.cvdl.org or by calling (630) 829-6225.

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