The One Question That Could Ignite Your Company’s Future

One question can make the difference in the direction of your company. The answer to that question can be a powerful pivot point for your value story.

The one question? What is the one word that you feel best defines your value?

The answer could describe an individual’s value, a product’s value or the entire company’s value. Sometimes the answer comes easily, and other times people really struggle with it. It is a riveting process to see.

Why do we start out with this question? It’s like the science of distillation—a refining process that collects the pure essence of a substance. The challenge to come up with one word prompts people to focus their thoughts about what makes them, their product—or their organization—special.

How could one word say so much? The power of one word begins to shape a state of mind about Value. That one word is a starting point, and it’s also a guide for moving forward.

For example, say the word that defines your value is “energy.” That leads us to discuss how energy is lived or shown in the workplace. When you understand why energy sums up your Value, without even knowing it you begin to define and describe your Value.

Here’s how it worked for me

As I was forming the idea for Value Mapping™, I spoke to nearly 50 people and asked them “What one word describes the value I bring to our relationship?” These were friends, family members, colleagues and customers. While I received different variations and interpretations, all of the answers were very similar in nature.

I distilled that feedback into the words “connectivity” and “authenticity.” So, taking what people already valued about me—my ability to connect people and an authentic style—I began to shape and set a course for my business.

Asking that one question prompted me to build an entire company, and continues to provide a foundation of knowledge on which I can build. So this has to be a question we ask people every single day. Companies should be asking customers “What is our value to you and are we delivering that Value?” Employees should be asking “What is my value to my company?” and “what is my company’s value to me?”

What often happens is that we dance around these concepts but don’t ask the question directly. We gather data, measurements and surveys, but we’re not having frequent, authentic dialogue about our value.

Value Mapping’s Three Easy Steps to a Conversation About Value

  1. Ask the question: What one word defines my/our value?
  2. Write down and document the answer. Look for other words that define that value.
  3. Then talk about why you selected that word, and what does that word of value mean? How does it live in the organization and in my world?


As you share and collaborate with others around the concept of your value, document if, how and why your word of Value changes. Remember that all of this should be done in a very non-judgmental setting. There’s no right or wrong answer—it’s a dialog-starter. It can work in a one-on-one setting like an employee review. The employee can provide one word, then the employer can provide a word, then look at whether the words are aligned or far apart. This can be much more powerful than a rating on a 1-10 scale and can supplement great discussion with other employee evaluation tools and processes.

We typically hold Value Mapping sessions in a group setting. Participants are able and encouraged to self-reflect, so there must be a foundation of trust. When you dive into the world of Value, you’re really peeling back someone’s DNA. A customer once told me that “Value Mapping is like therapy.” So proceed in a positive and empowering way driven by the desire to delve deeper into motivations and actions. This approach allows the story of one’s value to take shape.

Here’s the beautiful thing we have seen hundreds of times with our customers: That story of value based on one simple but powerful question can be told internally and externally. It can infuse your sales, marketing, customer and employee relationships and drive growth. .

The one question of value is at the core of a business’s soul. Use it to ignite your company’s future.


Al is the founder of Value Mapping™ and has been a passionate brand enthusiast and consultant for over two decades. Everything Al writes is designed to help others reach their potential and become wildly happy. Contact him directly via or check out


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