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Value as Connected to What?

June 20, 2011

What’s the dollar size at which you first recognize value?  Would you
believe that’s easier to assess value of an offering at the $1 number,
then the $1 million?  Follow along for a quick blog on appraising value
and see if there aren’t a couple of tips that will help you be more
sensitive to when and how you create value.

We all make personal decisions about value.  We all have a sense or an
internal basis for appraising value  And interestingly, it’s easier to make
a decision at lower amounts.   E.g. it’s easier to understand the value
add for the $3.50 latte versus a $1.75 cup of coffee.   Why?  At least
one reason is that we understand the connection.  The connection
between the dollar and the value-add.

When it gets hard to understand the “connection”,
we struggle to
assess the value.

Think about the late night pitch on TV for steak knifes.  As you watch,
you’re unsure of the value…. so to compensate they offer you two
sets for the price of one.  Well certainly that’s a value… is it?

Actually in a lot of circumstances we substitute a concept of value
for clearly seeing the connection between dollars and value, because
we aren’t clear on the facts.  Examples include things you
see all the time, like:

– The two for one sale
– The $10,000 value, available today for only $497
– Ramp up that lots of other people are doing it – the cool factor

So here’s the point, and then I’ll jump to you and me, we have
a sense of value, a sense of what things are worth, but we often
operate without a clear connection based on fact. So we use
some other factor to substitute for connecting our value appraisal
to facts. We muddle along without a clear sense of connection.

So now it comes to you and me.  How did you do at adding value
yesterday?  Do you believe you added value?  Will you add value
today?  You hopefully are saying, “Yes.”  And then I ask,  “How do
you know?  What’s the connection you are relying upon?”

Silence.  Do you hear your mind working?  For most of us, it’s
difficult to point to a specific dollar value or outcome from
what we do.  Our input gets blended in with lots of inputs
from others, like a bucket of water in a river.

But there is a way to use this murky value question to be a
tremendous benefit for you and the people you work with
to get things done.  It’s a different way to think about value.  E.g. instead of
thinking in terms of dollars, what if you thought in terms of

It’s surprisingly simple, for being so powerful, and very easy to
apply to whatever you do.  You see, value is all about connecting.

The more we operate in a connected fashion, and the more transparency
we have about our connections, the more value we create.
Think about it in reverse for a moment:

–  What you say must connect with how you act, the decisions you
make, etc… or it loses value.

– What you do each day must connect to the intended outcome
(the plan must connect to the goal)… or it loses value

– What’s promised must connect with what’s delivered… or it loses value

–  What’s anticipated must connect with what’s experienced… or it loses

– Effort needs to be connected to working smart, efficiently, effectively…
or it loses value

– You must internally have a sense of contribution or value received
of time well spent, as you attend each meeting… or it loses value

Bottom Line:
You want to create value.  You want the people who work with you
and for you to be thinking about creating value… every day.  (It
sure beats entitlement as a motivator).  But how do you identify
value when the dollar connection is often fuzzy at best?  I’m suggesting
you make it easy to see connections between inputs and outputs, between
the goals and deliverables and the plan… the schedule for today.  Make
it easy to see the connection between what you create and how customers
use it.  Make it easy to see the connection and value not only goes up,
it is much easier to verify.  Your thoughts?

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