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VALUE PLUS

BY ALEXEI ORLOV

Mr. Orlov, who lived and worked in China for several years as the Global CMO for the Volkswagen Group of Companies, comments on the importance of “value plus.”


Value Plus

In trying to find distinction, we all too often create a great deal of confusion and kerfuffle; a bit like those fast-turnover restaurants that simply cannot just give you the steak and fries that you ordered. Instead, piling up your plate with all manner of greenery, fruit pieces and slices of other unasked-for debris, so as to hide the mediocrity.

Noise and layers of incidental dressing may fool us some of the time, but hardly ever twice. We do remember and seldom forgive…

Complexity does not guarantee success. In fact, speak to almost any successful person and they will tell you that they try to have as few rules as possible, but as much scope to do the right thing. Easier said than done, though!

It takes acute sensibility and care.

Jon Moulton, the well-known British equity investor, owned up to the fact that the best returns he ever made for his partners were those that were uncomplicated, yet there was always a relentless desire to go beyond the norm. He wanted nothing less than “value plus” – the extra dimension.

But here’s the thing: People like Jon Moulton, even though excellence appears simple to them, take nothing for granted. They know genius lives right at the edge of disaster. They are skilled at asking the essential questions, never forgetting the fine details.

Value plus, invariably, is just that; the finest slithers camouflaged as incidentals, that have the power to become invincible moments:

  • That smile in a sea of frowns
  • A simple light in a sad room
  • Flowers on an empty table
  • A drop of sherry in onion soup
  • A handwritten note, instead of an email

Listen to the whispers, they can become a shout.
Take note of the incidental, lest it becomes prominent;
tiny snowflakes gather and can stop the traffic.

It is not size that matters. It is always the substance.
Big does not win over small. Small does not win over big.
Greatness comes in all sizes.

Hardly ever is it an “extra mile,” rather, just a few footsteps.

Understanding what matters, knowing what works, then doing it well…just 5% of magic that makes the whole world of difference!

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