Monday, November 21, 2011


Business is all about ROI (return on investment).  The backbone of anything that calls itself a business is the general principle of investing something and getting a return back on that investment.  That investment could be time, talent, a product, etc, but whatever that investment is if it isn’t returning some kind of value to the investor then it is a bad deal.  In a small business especially, if you are not bringing in money, you need to be moving it around to all the right places.  Ultimately you, as an individual, need to manage the type of value you are within an organization.  The size of that organization has a direct impact on how often you see or feel the influence that value has.  The challenge then becomes your reflection and ownership of your value.

Adding value is important in business.  From a dull and harsh perspective if you don’t add value there is no need for an organization to invest in you, meaning your position.  This creates an uncomfortable fear of keeping your job.  As I’ve talked with people I get the feeling that there is an unspoken group who find themselves in this uncomfortable position of feeling like they don’t add value.  When a bump in the road like this is experienced how does one move forward?  Questions likes these may help get one started:

·         Can you briefly summarize how you add value to your organization?
·         What happens when you find yourself in a position where you cannot justify your value?
·         What happens when you feel you cannot add any value because of boundaries placed on you, something like a budget? 
·         What happens when you feel like you add no value? 
·         What happens when you lose any motivation to add value? 
·         How do you go about adding value (constructively or destructively)?

How one adds or detracts value form a company should be considered often.  Busy people don’t have time to stop and consider such things though, or so they say.  I’d challenge them by asking why they are busy.  Being busy doesn’t necessarily mean you are adding value.  I know plenty of busy people that are busy because they don’t manage their work well and turn things that should take 10 minutes into 4 hour affairs.  Efficiency is a concern in adding value as well. 

The self-inventory of what value(s) you bring to the table is very important as an exercise to highlight and/or discover your strengths, on which you should focus your time and energy on.  More than just discovery of your value it is essential to evaluate how you promote your value.  I have found that some people give the illusion of their value by tearing others down.  They basically walk on the backs of others to appear at the top.  Political debates and campaigns typically work this way.  Instead of talking about their value candidates just focus on destroying any sense of value their opponents may be perceived to have.  It’s tough to not look valuable when you have crushed anyone that sets the bar higher.  Your value should be promoted in such a way that is constructive to an organization and those within it.

Now the weight’s on your shoulders to consider your own value.  I’ve found this to be one exciting journey full of opportunities to learn about others and yourself.  

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