Value or values—know which one you bring to clients

Cartoon of two businessmen, one holding a large coin and the other, a small one
“I want to be measured by my values, not by my value”—M. Moffa

I've got to tell it like it is: as much as you’d like to think you’re giving your clients valuesyou’re not.

But wait! Don’t panic. It’s probably not for the reason you think. You probably do give your clients value, just not values.

I hope you are starting to realize, maybe with a smile, that while the words value and values are deceptively alike, they actually have two different meanings.

  • Value (uncountable) is your worth. What you bring to the table. In Japanese, the equivalent to it would be the word 価値.
  • Values (countable/usually used with “s”) are your important and lasting beliefs or ideals. In other words, your principles. The Japanese word here would be 価値観.

To illustrate:

  • We want to consistently deliver value to our clients.
  • In terms of productivity, organizations need to refocus their objectives by putting less value on the hours they put in and more value on the actual content they produce.
  • One of my core values is courage. This means that I don’t care too much about the results of my actions. Success to me is doing what I know is right regardless of how scared I am.
  • I chose my company, because its values really spoke to me. One of my favorites is how we value independent thought. We are always being encouraged to question our own assumptions.

*Note that in the last example, the “value” in “value independent thought” is used as a verb, not a noun. 

Generally speaking, when an "s" is added, a word's meaning does not change—the word simply becomes plural. However, "s" can sometimes change the meaning of the word; here's a discussion on this very topic.

I sincerely hope this lesson was of value to you!

Tell it like it is—be totally honest.
Deceptively alike—very similar, so much in fact that you can be tricked. 
Bring to the table—​​​​​​​the positive things you bring to your team at work, especially in regards to projects and meetings.