Last week I was the keynote speaker at an event for a services organization in an energy company. I spoke on the topic of Adding More Value to the Business.
This is an important topic for all of us. The bottom line here is that you can’t wait to be told what adds value, and you can’t count on your job description as-written to add enough value.
You need to figure this out for yourself. You need to educate yourself about what the business values, and then tune your work specifically to deliver more value.
This got me thinking about writing this blog post to give you some ideas for how to add more value in your business.
Do more than your job description
Your job description is valid for a moment in time — the moment when it is first given to you.
As soon as you start doing the job, what the job needs to be evolves as the business grows and as the world changes. If you do your job as written for too long a period of time, you will become out of date.
You will begin to lose relevance to the business. You will not be adding enough value.
Don’t wait to be asked or directed
Yes, you need to do your job, but you also to think about how to improve the way your job is done.
Don’t give this extra work of figuring out how your job needs to evolve to your to your boss. Sort it out on your own and make a recommendation. (That’s what high performers do).
What adds value?
I have collected some questions that will help you figure out how to tune your job over time to make sure you are adding enough value.
1. Who uses my work & what do they need most?
- Who are the consumers of each piece of work that I do?
- Do they still use it? Do they still need it?
- Do they pass it on to others? What do those people need?
- Can the content I deliver be modified to be more useful or relevant?
- Can the manner in which I deliver it be improved to be more useful or relevant?
Note: Stop producing work no one cares about.
Check! I know so many organizations that are over-busy producing reports, analysis, or sales and marketing that no one uses. Don’t burn up your time on things that no one cares about. DO actively learn what they find most useful, and tune what you produce to be more valuable.
2. What business outcomes does my work drive?
- What is the business outcome that happens as a result of my producing this work?
- How does my work impact profit?
- Does my work impact quality, innovation, efficiency, competitiveness, cost reduction, process improvement, sales effectiveness…
- Can I tune my work to create a better or different business outcome?
Note: If you can’t connect your work to a business outcome, you are in danger of not being relevant.
If you are not relevant you are not adding enough value. You need to stay educated on the most important outcomes the business is driving and stay connected with them.
Even if you are a cost center providing an internal service, you need to find ways to improve efficiency or usefulness.
3. What does my work cost?
- How much does it cost the company for me to do this work?
- Can it be done for less?
- What happens to my work after it’s delivered?
- What are the downstream costs of the things that I do?
- Who else does my work cause work or costs for?
- Is there a way to make my work more efficient for others?
Note: Own improving the outcomes your work causes, not just delivering the work.
Always be finding ways to take cost out. If you produce 50 reports, maybe 20 better reports would do? (Everyone will like 20 reports better than 50!)
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If you do things manually or in a chaotic reactive mode, how many people are impacted by this? How can you create a process to streamline the work, make it less complicated, and require fewer touch points, questions, or follow-ups?
4. What has changed?
- What has changed in the market since I started this job?
- What has changed in our customers’ business since I started this job?
- What has changed in our competitors’ business since I started this job?
- What has changed inside our company since I started this job?
- Do these changes require a change in the way my job is done?
Note: If you are not evolving your job, you will no longer be qualified when the game changes.
Or you will be doing the wrong job, and your job will get eliminated. Be the one to recommend changing your job to meet the evolving business needs.
5. Growth & Scaling
- How much has the company grown since I started this job?
- How much does the company plan to grow in the future?
- What still works in the way I do my job if the company is much bigger?
- Which things about how I do my job don’t work if the company is bigger?
Note: When companies get bigger all the jobs change.
You can’t keep using the same way of working. It doesn’t scale. You can be the one to build a new process that will scale, or you can be the one who gets pushed aside by someone with experience at a bigger company.
6. Help others
- What can I do to communicate better?
- How can I share more knowledge?
- How can I teach someone to be more effective?
- How can I help someone step into a bigger role?
- How can I help someone believe that something bigger is possible for them.
Note: If you are not helping others, you are not adding enough value.
The other upside is that helping others can put a meaning into an otherwise unfulfilling job. If you are feeling unsatisfied about being in a corporate role that doesn’t make enough difference in the world, help someone. When you help someone else, you change the world for that person.
I see a lot of people thinking that answering these questions is not part of their job. They wait for others to answer them, and await new instructions from their manager.
It’s dangerous to rely on your job description to tell you want to do or to wait for your management to tune your job along the way. It’s much safer (and your are adding more value) when you do it.
Take that weight off your manager. You decide what needs to get done to drive the future goals and continue to add the most value.
This was originally published on Patty Azzarello’s Business Leadership Blog. Her new book is Rise: How to be Really Successful at Work and LIKE Your Life.