Overcoming value-inhibiting behaviours

May 02, 2008
Written by Jonathan Kent
jonathankentHave you dropped the v-word lately? Probably you have, or you have heard someone around you say it. It is a common verbal remedy used by people trying to explain how to improve something – usually in the context of business. But at some point between the initial use of the word value and one’s attempt to translate it into a value-adding process, a blank is drawn.

The casual use of the word in nearly every imaginable context has plagued value as trivial or theoretical at best. The purpose of this article is to help take a step back from the usual abstract views on value, and to provide you, the greenhouse operator, with some pragmatic advice on how to turn what you know into action (i.e., value creation).

As a businessperson, it is presumed that you know what makes your greenhouse operation valuable – you know what it is that really sets you apart. It’s your brand, your location, assortment, pricing, your customer base, etc. Unfortunately for many business owners, work routines, obligations and time pressures can create behaviours that hold people back from acting on value-adding intentions.

How can these challenges be overcome? The first step to creating value starts with taking a pause and identifying the behaviours that are inhibiting value. Some signs of value-inhibiting behaviour may include:

  • Misaligned initiatives and resources.
  • Thinking short-term.
  • Ad hoc planning processes.
  • The tendency to over-complicate simple processes.
  • The need to continually dig for information just to make routine decisions.

While there is no miracle cure, here are three pragmatic tips on overcoming some value-inhibiting habits that may be relevant to your greenhouse operations:

1) Translate your long-term vision into a few tangible objectives.
2)  Put your money, time and people where your vision is.
3)  Set aside time each week to check on progress.

When translating your vision into a few tangible objectives or initiatives, do not ignore any disconnects between what makes your business valuable and what you and your people are doing about it. Connect your vision, your strategy and your activities (business processes) with what you need to do to succeed. Put mechanisms in place (i.e., incentives, performance metrics, etc.) to align your employees with your vision, and to encourage the behaviours you require most to grow your company’s value.


Put your money, time and people where your vision is. Continually invest in the resources and capabilities that support your long-term vision.

It’s important to remain strategically fluid; do not rely solely on what has worked well in the past to be the formula for success in the future. Business models, technologies and the marketplace can change quickly, making a rigid business plan obsolete. You should position your business to deal with a range of possible futures, but then hone in on what you need to do for the future that actually arrives.

Lastly, on a tactical level, there are also some critical habits that you can adopt to deter the effects of value-inhibiting behaviours.

  • Set aside time each week to check on progress towards the tangible objectives that you set as part of the visioning process. When thinking about value, we sometimes get caught up reacting to one short-term issue after another. From time to time, we need to deliberately reset our perspective toward the longer term.
  • While consultation and involvement are essential to your team’s engagement in the vision and objective setting process, prevent your strategic initiatives from being sidetracked by individuals and advocacy. Otherwise, the consequence is a series of pet projects that are not properly aligned with the objectives and strategy and that will continue to dominate your agenda. To rectify this, become clear and proficient at continually identifying the expectations and outcomes at strategy meetings so that near-term complications do not blur your long-term value planning process.

Value-creation is not always straightforward. However, there are a few straightforward steps you can take to assess the behaviours within your greenhouse operation and ensure they are properly aligned to a longer-term plan.

  • Jonathan Kent is a consultant with Deloitte’s strategy and operations group. 519-650-7613, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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