All organizations operating in complex environments are impacted by external and internal forces. Externally, your organization needs to raise capital in order to invest in its growth and generate revenue to cover its operating expenses with vendors and employees. In order for your organization to obtain capital or generate revenue, it needs to create value for investors and customers.
When I assert that you must achieve more than just doing your job well, I am not suggesting that doing your job well is not important. Conversely, in today’s excruciating work environments, good performance is expected. Your organization is finding less time and spending less money to train you to be a good performer. In her recent Wall Street Journal article, Herminia Ibarra of INSEAD continued to reflect that “Businesses are putting managers in a tough spot: They’re forcing bosses to take on many new responsibilities – but they’re not training them to get those jobs done.”
The head-spinning advances in technology, endless bottom-line financial pressures, and growing networks of global economies described earlier demand a need for superior performance and sustainable efficiencies. Organizations aspire to motivate their employees to be better, more productive, and more engaged. Leaders seek ways to create a common language behind which organizational goals and activities can align. What can replace the void that is being created by the slow demise of performance management systems?
In the Raise Your Visibility & Value model, “Value is when the outcome of a situation exceeds the cost incurred by a satisfactory margin.”
In our last two posts, we addressed the meaning of the terms “outcome of a situation” and “cost.” Today, we’ll discuss “satisfactory margin.”
In the Raise Your Visibility and Value model, raising your value is defined as follows:
You raise your value with activities that connect individual contributions with business performance.
Similar to most of your colleagues, you spend little time raising your value. You are more likely trapped at your desk working hard to be a good performer and deliver what is expected of you as defined by your boss or your job description. Your boss’s environment does not allow her to focus value creation and most job descriptions do not identify ways that your role can create value for your organization.
In today’s “get-it-done-yesterday” business environments, the frequency and pace of change is accelerating, tenure is shorter, and relationships are shallower. Herminia Ibarra, the Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Professor of Organizational Behavior at INSEAD, reflected on this topic in a recent Wall Street Journal article. “With competition fierce and the business climate changing rapidly, companies are telling their leaders that it’s no longer enough to deliver results in their individual departments, or over the short term.” Doing your job well, which often results in an “exceeds expectations” rating on your annual performance appraisal, is no longer enough. You must do more than just do your job well.
Organizations today are not like a family, regardless of what your well-intentioned CEO tells you. In functional families, “blood is thicker than water” and family always comes first. Whether you a mother, step-father, sister, brother-in-law, aunt, uncle, beloved or estranged, you are and will always be historically, legally or genetically a family member.
Conversely, in organizations, the organization always comes first. While business is on the upswing, your relationship with your employer will flourish. Moods are positive and opportunities are abundant. Hope springs eternal! Yet, it is the belief that good times are forever, or that relationships will supersede a tough decision that leaves most business professionals surprised, shocked, and hurt. When red ink starts to rise as financials tighten or competition heats up, reorganizations, restructurings, and reductions rule the day. Good performers are suddenly reminded that they are liabilities on a balance sheet and liabilities must be reduced in order to stabilize financials. “Family members” are suddenly and unceremoniously asked to pack-up their belongings and exit the building, escorted to the door by Harold from Security. In organizations, blood is not thicker than water – red ink is.
Allyn Gardner, the long-time career coach at Harvard Business School’s career program for MBA students has observed this phenomenon first hand. “They call people human capital for a reason,” Allyn mused. “Capital is an asset that you review periodically to determine how well it is performing to meet your objectives. Businesses tend to focus more on the capital-side and less on the human-side.”
When you work to raise the value that you provide your organization, you need to start by hosting a productive and future-focused conversation with your boss. You need to know what types of financial metrics your organization holds dear, and the best place to start is with your boss. In this video, listen and watch as Ed provides you some guidelines to ensure you host a productive conversation.
Having a good attitude, demonstrating good behaviors, and acting with integrity are only part of the reputation equation. In today’s fast-paced organizations, it is almost assumed that the work you produce is good. Even colleagues who demonstrate a good attitude and good behaviors may find themselves in job jeopardy if they are not producing good work.
Production is comprised of the following categories:
- Quantity. The volume of the work that you do meets or exceeds the expectations of those for whom the work is being produced.
- Quality. The nature of work that you do meets or exceeds the expectations of those for whom the work is being produced.
It should not be surprising to you that doing what you do with a high degree of quantity and quality is an important part of a good reputation. Quantity and quality are similar to what you say and do in that quantity and quality need to be in balance. When quantity and quality are not in balance, the impact to your reputation is not positive. More on that in the coming weeks.
There are many types of value on which you can raise your impact at your organization. Every organization uses different financial metrics to convey their success (or lack of success!) to Wall Street, their Board of Directors, or their Executive Committee. In this video, Ed shares with you the three types of value areas that exist within most organizations.