Are you delivering the value you should be in all your roles? This is a concept which is intrinsic to how we see ourselves, and important in determining what we do, and how we impact others. Essentially value is around asking yourself whether in each of the current roles you have (leader/ manager/ parent/ spouse/ friend) you’re delivering the core of what that role demands, which is also what will deliver maximum impact for you.
Value is best defined as the unique thing(s) I can do in the role I am in, that derive from that role. At work, this uniqueness derives from the structure you’re in, your job and your experience. At home, it derives from the environment and the needs of the moment.
Value at Work
In the organization value is what differentiates your job from that of the people who work for you- to put it crudely, the reason you’re paid what you are. On the face of it, value seems pretty straightforward; however, in reality, most of us live in the comfort of what I used to do in past roles- either not having reflected around that one core thing that I need to deliver in this role, or choosing to ignore it. This is typically because value is tough, it takes us out of our comfort zone, and there is always a risk of failure.
Let me tell you a story to illustrate value.
I had a coachee, who during the course of our coaching intervention got promoted. Accordingly, in the conversation we had after his promotion, we decided to focus on what he would achieve in his new role. When he listed what he wanted to achieve, my question to him was ‘how much of this could you have achieved had you not got promoted?’ His answer: ‘All of it’. To which my question was ‘Then why did they promote you ?’
This left him deeply reflective, and he promised to think about it and come back to me. When we met next he told me that he’d figured out his value in his role was ‘to help remove the things that stop my people from doing their work’, and he illustrated this with an example:
One of his young managers, a normally bubbly, effervescent type, was unusually low. On probing, my coachee found out that the young man’s wife was terminally ill. To add to that, she was in Chennai (where her parents lived, and treatment was ongoing), and he was in Bangalore, because of his work. My coachee came back to his room, and called IT to send him a laptop (here he said: ‘In my new role I could just call and get IT to send me the laptop; in my old role, I would have had to fill out forms and fight the bureaucracy’). He took the laptop to this young manager, told him to get on to the night train to Chennai, and to work remotely from there, while being with his wife for as long as it took. And this, said my proud coachee ‘is my value in this role’.
Value at home
Value at home is equally, if not more important that value at work, though of course the context is somewhat different. However, it’s still about those few things that can have maximum impact if delivered well. Your role as the parent of a 2 year old is different from that of an 8 year old, and very different from that of a teenager. The value each of these roles demands is different. The question to ask is are you delivering value? Have you truly understood the needs of an 8 year old, looked at your combination of skills and life experience, and then are you delivering best value? Or, as in a lot of cases, are you not fully leveraging your skills and life experience, or even worse, still managing your 8 year old like a 2 year old ?
Value changes based on the role you have, and the time and space you’re playing that role in. While there is a definite value in the role of a spouse, the role you play, and the value you deliver as a spouse in a 2 year old marriage is different from your role and value in a 20 year old marriage. And as discussed above, this is also true of parenting value: it changes based on the life stage of your child.
Why is value important ? It’s important because it gives me a clear idea of what my role is, and allows me to act for maximum effectiveness. It also keeps me firmly in touch with current reality and ensures I live in the present- not the past or the future. At work it ensures I do work that is challenging, fulfilling, and allows me to grow; at home it ensures I give my best to those who matter in the most appropriate way.
Ask yourself these questions to help derive your value:
1. What’s the unique thing that defines my current role of manager/ leader/ spouse /parent /friend ?
2. What impact can this have on my effectiveness, my impact, my relationships ?
3. How can I combine my life experiences/ skills/ strengths in the best way to deliver this value?
4. What do I need to do differently going forward ?
5. What specific action(s) do I need to take to make this happen ?
These will help you get a sense of your value. Once you’ve answered these, get feedback from a Trusted Other (colleague, spouse) to help hone your answers and actions, and then move forward.