I read an article today about Angus Deaton, the recently announced Nobel Prize winner in economics. A quote in that article resonated with me: “…we cannot understand the whole without understanding what is happening in the miniature economy of our daily choices.” (My emphasis) Any relation between that and Baldrige and EFQM?
As many of us become more concerned with income inequality (big picture economics), I’m struck by the impact that we have in Deaton’s miniature economy of our daily choices (little picture economics).
While we protest what may seem unfair from a social justice (two emotionally-tinged words) perspective, who do we have to blame? The reason that Walmart is the largest retailer in the world is because they virtually guarantee the lowest price possible – and we are always looking for the lowest price, no matter our capability to pay more. As I buy more heartworm pills for my dog, I think “I could get these cheaper online than here at the veterinarian’s office,” without considering the impact that markup has in ensuring the great office staff that give a warm greeting to me and [multiple] treats to Tucker the Wonder Dog every time I take him in for care.
In a world that revolves around “You get what you pay for,” is it any surprise that we become disappointed by the customer service we receive from low-cost suppliers of the goods and services we buy?
I’ve made a personal decision not to shop at Walmart or Sam’s Club because their low-cost methods don’t provide a living wage for employees – even as the Walton family builds huge generational wealth. And when they finally get a store in Woodbury, I may sign up for a membership at Costco which serves the same market as Walmart, but have made the values-based decision to pay a living wage with good benefits to employees.
And I’ve made the decision to continue to buy heartworm pills from my vet, because I recognize the impact of lowest-price online shopping on the revenue stream of a veterinary clinic.
I grew up as a firm believer in the trickle-down theory of economics. I think I’ve become jaded as I see hoarding instead of the reinvestment or spending that is a key component of trickle-down economics. This isn’t meant as a socialist rant or a plea for wealth redistribution. It’s a challenge to say “Are you really thinking about what the miniature economy of your daily choices say about your values and beliefs?”
Indeed, we have met the enemy, and he is us…
Baldrige and EFQM connection: This post most appropriately ties to Baldrige 5.2 Employee Engagement and EFQM 3e “People are rewarded, recognized and cared for.” But most of all it ties to the Baldrige Core Value of “Valuing People” and the EFQM Fundamental Concept of Excellence of “Succeeding through the Talent of People.” In addition, we should all consider how we support the Baldrige Core Value of “Societal Responsibility” and the EFQM Fundamental Concept of “Creating a Sustainable Future.” We as consumers have the opportunity to show that we value those people that serve us through how we spend our money.
Core Values Partners, Inc., helps organizations focus, align, and accelerate their performance excellence efforts through effective deployment of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence and the EFQM Excellence model. They work in close partnership with clients to advance excellence.