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Value Propositions for Life

By Peter Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Dec 10, 2009

In my business we talk a lot about “value propositions”. Essentially, a value proposition is a quantifiable truth that helps to build the business case for a particular course of action. For example, if I was asserting that a client should launch a magazine advertising campaign, I would bring market information to bear that presented the measurable benefits of pursuing this course of action as opposed to the measurable cost. The benefits, as exceeding the cost, are either referred to as individual value propositions or collectively as the value proposition.

Business relationships are defined by the value proposition associated with two entities engaging in business based on the merits of the various parties and the benefits to be gained on each side. However, merits aren’t always immediately apparent, so good communication is necessary to make sure that the value propositions are heard and understood, and that those propositions continue to be reinforced and strengthened through continued communication over the course of the relationship.

It would be an interesting exercise if we applied the same amount of discipline to assessing our personal lives. I’ll use myself as an example. What is the value proposition that I present to my wife in our relationship? What is the value proposition that I present to my children? To my parents? To my friends? Moreover, how to I effectively communicate this value—not just at the start of the relationship, but throughout its entirety?

The highest value that we hope to bring to others, as Christians, is Christ himself. Ideally, the greatest value in each of our actions is brought by Christ and is communicated in the language of Christ (love). It is for this reason that some of the greatest suffering for faithful Catholics is when they are acting and communicating effectively in just this manner, but the “Christ value” is being rejected by a close friend or family member. In other words, the highest value proposition that we can bring to the table is being rejected.

Legitimate, uncompromised good will is rare in the business world. When that good will is coupled with top industry knowledge/capability and superior communication it is a powerful force. This is analogous to what we should try to accomplish in our personal relationships—uncompromised good will, combined with a mastery of creating and communicating value.

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  • Posted by: bkmajer3729 - Dec. 10, 2009 8:46 PM ET USA

    Peter, this is great advice and guidance. I wish the business schools would make this THE fundamental proposition for being in business rather than "You only go into to business to make money". ...especially the Catholic Business Schools. Of course money or fair payment is necessary but we don't do what we do just to make money. While our "doing" is not our "being" it is part of our vocation. Therefore, Christ as the value center is essential.

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