Dina's Blog

  • I Told Harvard: Business is Not About the Money

    I recently had the pleasure of speaking at Harvard University for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. This global event, in partnership with the United Nations and the U.S. State Department, is an exciting campaign designed to encourage and empower more women in business.

    As you can imagine, I was honored to be at one of the world’s most prestigious universities facing an audience of future leaders on this occasion. Like so many speaking invitations that I receive, I was excited to share the success story of our organization at Dwyer Group. But more importantly, I accepted this invitation to speak about values. As I told everyone in the auditorium at Harvard, business is not about the money.

    Success in business starts with having values.

    Many people — especially those who follow franchising — know the growth story and success behind Dwyer Group. They know that our service brands are household names. They know that we have grown into a billion-dollar organization with more than 2,500 franchises around the world.

    But what I like to explain is the Code of Values at the heart of our business that has provided the roadmap for how we live and how we lead across those service brands. You see, I credit the success of our company to our Code of Values — the guiding principles that serve as the foundation for our business.

    As I said at Harvard, “The profits are simply the applause we get for doing right by taking care of people.” Real success, the kind that goes even deeper than the bottom line, is rooted in living and leading with values.

    This seemed all too appropriate on Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. After all, I believe that women have a nurturing instinct that points us in this direction in many ways. In taking care of business, we often approach it as taking care of people too.

    The unfortunate reality, however, is that many companies think they have this kind of culture or environment in the workplace when they don’t.

    It’s been said that 95% of companies that have a code of values don’t use it.

    A company may think it is living and leading with values because its leaders have gone through the exercise of writing down a code of values for the organization. But many times, as I share in my book Values, Inc., that’s all it is – an exercise. The missing element is putting that code of values into practice.

    Dina shares Dwyer Group's Code of Values at Harvard

    Dina shares Dwyer Group’s Code of Values at Harvard.

    Thousands of companies spend countless hours and tons of money with experts to help define their mission, vision and values. They write them down, hang them on the wall…and then walk away.

    The key for our team at Dwyer Group is reciting those values at meetings, looking to them for answers when we have a question about our business, and bringing them to life. When it comes to values in business, our team knows what we stand for and it’s more than just a theory. This is the real exercise, a daily exercise, that makes a distinct difference.

    Students can make a difference to our future business world too.

    One of the reasons I love speaking to college students is because they can make a lasting impact on how businesses live and lead in the future as well. They are the future! And what they learn in the classroom may influence what they do in their careers. Studying theories, reading books and even hearing from speakers like me might provide lessons and information worthy of action on the paths they choose. My hope is that my story, the Dwyer Group’s story, is one of those lessons about values in business that they can put into practice when they pursue their dreams. The rewards, even the monetary kind, will follow.