‘You won’t get paid for how hard you work; you’ll get paid for how hard is replacing you’. Many years ago and by saying this, a clever friend explained to me how worthy companies do business: it is all about creating value.
Creating value is like one of those infinite loops tech people use to explain devops processes. A never-ending job.
Before getting started we need to assess where we are. And here it comes the questions.
First question could hurt, but it’s worthy: how much value are you creating now?
I invite you to think about what would happen if you suddenly quit. Yes, I know. This is tough. But, now, nobody is watching. It is just you and your thoughts.
Be realistic: How much time would they need to cover your post? What would be the impact of your leaving in a week, in a month, in a year? From 0 to 10 how much value is creating your work today?
From experience, I’d say this is a great exercise of humility. And maybe could make the difference for the next professional chapter of your life. That’s the reward.
If you started to feel stressed by these questions, just take a breath. Difficult questions with honest answers might provoke a fear response: earthquakes usually do. This is the first step to work on deliver true value. If not, great! Let’s go on.
We actually work our tails off to be productive, don’t we? We were told to maintain productivity no matter what. In fact, we know now that last year productivity peaked despite changes.
Is that the same of creating value? Not necessarily.
Getting many things done is not the same of getting high value-added things done. As it is pointed out here, we can do a lot for our productivity by changing processes and tools in our company; also, being trained on how to be more productive by learning different techniques. By doing that, we’ll be very productive; not necessarily very valued.
Going back to questions: What are you good at enough to make a difference? What do you need to make the most of it?
Take your time to find an answer. It doesn’t matter if it is something not directly related to your current job. You need to take the whole into account.
When you get it, think if there is something in your current job (or in your desired one) that could be improved by using that or something that you’re not currently taking care of, and you should do because of that.
Can your work benefit from your skills? If so, can you create more value with that? You need to test.
How can you find if you are really creating value? Define your own KPIs and be honest. I’m not kidding. Know where to look at is as important as make changes. If you don’t measure, you never know if you are doing good or bad.
Above all, measuring requires you to detach from the task and get some perspective. This is key: not only to see results but also to find your way.
What if you were in a dead end, and you haven’t realized? What if it is time to move on and look for something different?
Let’s start over. Hopefully, it will hurt less this time.
How much value are you creating now? Is it enough? What do you need to improve?
This infinite loop for creating value can help you not only to get better results at work but also to embrace changes.
This mindset, from only work to value, can open a world of possibilities, by giving you a wider perspective: how will you spend your time to make the most of it? And where?
Please, tell me how it works if you try or if you don’t see the value, what is missing. Thanks!