“Here are the values that I stand for: honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values.” – Ellen Degeneres
Holidays are a time when families get together, share food, laughter and fun. There are festive traditions like celebrating Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas which are examples of positive traditions that keep family bonds strong. However, not all traditions are positive especially if they go against the changing times.
Everything changes; nothing ever stays the same. Change is sometimes good or sometimes bad or even both. For example, I remember living in the Philippines around the early 90s when Halloween was called “Araw Ng Mga Patay” (translated to Day of the Dead or All Saints Day).
As the name implies, it is to honor relatives that have passed away by preparing a banquet that no living soul can touch. The souls of our dead relatives return to eat their feast or bring some back to the afterlife every year. While the elders visit the graves and have a party there too.
“Araw Ng Mga Patay” was not like Halloween here in the United States where young kids go trick-o-treat and people wear costumes. But when my family went on a vacation in the Philippines, traditions have changed. I can’t say whether it’s good or bad because Halloween has made “Araw Ng Mga Patay” less scary and helped the economy a bit since families spend money on costumes and decorations.
One perspective, it benefits the economy. But on another, how is wearing costumes and trick-o-treat related to the culture of the Philippines? Other countries also celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, but the beliefs and customs may be different. However, being different doesn’t make it wrong.
How Are Traditions And Values Related?
Similar to Ellen’s definition of values, I believe that everyone has a right to understand the truth, to equality, and to be treated with kindness, compassion and respect. But to understand the truth, you must learn multiple sides of a story to find the best solution. True understanding only comes when you are able to connect a real life situation to something you have learned years ago.
The problem is not that we aren’t able to connect events with past lessons, but that some may disregard thinking altogether. Many won’t ever question whether the traditional solution still applies today. Why?
From the “Downside of Traditions”, traditions are detrimental to the business world especially when it causes us to “turn off our brains”. Choosing to use traditional solutions by default is the “easiest and the laziest way” to do something. It may seem right at first because it’s “been done for so many years”, but what if you are missing an improved way to do something better?
How Are Values Used in Business?
A process used to determine the quality of a product or service is called Value Analysis. Its goal is to avoid wastes by figuring out which features create cost, yet provide no value for the customer. By focusing on core attributes that do add value, the product becomes simpler to maintain, less costly, and higher quality for the customer because extra features not necessary to function are taken out.
In other words, this solves the problem from the source so the business waste less time and money trying to fix faulty products coming from the optional features. Instead the business focuses on improving the core features that create real value to the customer.
What Creates Quality And How Do We Define Value?
As a consumer, my definition of quality are its reliability (how durable or long lasting), its features (how well it meets and does its specified tasks), its design (how personalized is it for the customer) and free of defects. Nothing is perfect, and nothing lasts forever, but how well the company deals with customer support affects quality too.
Exceeding expectations in both product and service determine a customer’s trust and brand loyalty. Quality is not only what the product is made of, but also the excitement the customer feels by interacting with your business. Why? In the long term, it is not the material product that is remembered, but memories and experiences created while using your product or service.
Every company, no matter how long it’s established, has traditions. If traditions start to affect the quality of the products or services negatively, change is required. By determining the past and present conditions that result to a low quality product, new concepts, processes, and techniques need to be learned to replace the old traditions that no longer works.
All team members must be open minded to discuss, gain feedback and bring fresh ideas to adapt to the changing environment. To know which traditions to keep and revise, you must first understand your mistakes from the past to correct it in the present resulting to positive values left for the future. Why?
“Tradition is a guide and not a jailer.” – William Somerset Maugham