Welcome to this series of short notes. My intention is to offer visitors to this website “something to think about”. The notes will be very informal and “chatty” but always containing a point or principle that I hope you will be able to take away and think about.

I’ll post a new note every two weeks or so and I urge readers to visit the site to catch the latest instalment. By and large, I’ll work in themes, and each theme might take several episodes.

For those who’ve taken ACVM courses during the last 2 to 3 years, the material will be very familiar, particularly to those who followed the post-course “ongoing encouragement notes”. But even for those former students, I hope to inject recent examples into material that you have seen previously.

So let’s get going. The first theme that I’m going to tackle is “The Language of Value”. When I say “the language of value”, I mean the words and phrases that we use that contain or refer to the word “value” and, what we actually mean by those words and phrases.

The language of “value” is really important to us in Value Management: and not only to us, but to anyone who is interested in the topic of “value for money” which is really most people on earth! Philosophers have debated the subject of “value” for centuries and there is still no universal agreement on what “value” actually is from a philosophical perspective.

I doubt if there is any term used in common practice that has more confusion and ambiguity surrounding it then the term “value for money”. It’s quite strange really, because at the local supermarket, everyone knows what value for money is. If bags of rice are being sold this week for half the cost of last week we would say we are getting good value for money from the purchase. But once we get into the complexities of major projects, the meaning that seems so clear and obvious in the supermarket becomes complex and ambiguous. But as we shall see as we work through these notes, even the supermarket example might not be as simple as it first appears.

What do you think the TV personality who made this advertising-statement meant – “that’s $30 worth of value”?

And what do you mean when you use the word “value” and, what do you think others me when they use that same word in conversations with you?

There’s something to think about.

Roy Barton
President, IVMA
[email protected]