Value Creation & Navigating the Changing Work Place to Get More Done
As we emerge from this recession, crises continue to emerge, and the
present and future remains a slippery object to get our arms around,
different, not necessarily better – you’re probably wondering about
how to succeed in such an environment. Let’s go over two tips in this blog.
First of all a quick review of the current environment. There are multiple
predictions of change in personal careers. Changes in the number of times
someone like you and me will make a job change, much less a career change,
e.g. reinvent ourselves and what we do to make a living and with whom.
There’s also predictions that the nature of work will change, see the post
below from a recent email from the Economist.
“Today, humanity is on track to advance mentally, physically and
economically more than ever before. But serious challenges lie ahead.
We will soon be a world of at least 9 billion people. In an age of high
unemployment and aging demographics, how will we educate billions of
new people and manage their successful entry into the global economy?
The nature of work and talent development must evolve dramatically.
Your office and how you get things done may never look the same again.”
On the other hand, a quick scan of forums reveals that the reality of
managing work change looks very messier, and challenging. Here’s
a sample from Airbucket:
“It appears thus far that finding a career or switching careers in mid 30s
is difficult thing to do and to research. My husband graduated with a useless
B.A. and has done nothing since resume worthy although he is a model
employee, he has no IT experience or finance or any of the major industries.
Now at his age and with a family he is trying to decide what to do, and
constantly searching on the net and reading books and trying to predict
what will be a winning move is confusing at best and almost making
things worse in that we are both too confused to make a move at anything.”
So what do you do? Here’s two tips for starters:
1. Focus on value and think like an entrepreneur.
Most people think they are valuable at work. In fact our brain is very good
at convincing us we are valuable and should be treated well, if not better
than we are.
That’s not what I’m talking about. If you think about value (think outside
of yourself, not personal value) and you think like an entrepeneur, then
you find the conversation in your head to be something like this:
“Where is there a need that not’s being addressed? A need by people with
the resources to pay for a solution? How can I jump in and be part of/create
In a sense creating value, is a lot like selling hamburgers if you’re an
entrepenuer. You want to find a market of hungry buyers with cash, and
get your shop right in front of them, e.g. be a very prominent, “in your face”
So imagine you are regularly going to scan your work environment for
unmet demands by people with resources, because that represents a value
opportunity, and decide whether or not it is worth it to you to get in front of
that demand and market yourself as (part of) the solution.
2. Standout by following-up.
The world at work is full of more starts and stops than an LA freeway at 5pm
on Friday afternoon. Meetings get canceled, sometimes you get call backs,
often you don’t. Lots of information, but continuity is in limited supply.
Stand out by owning continuity, in your own behalf, first of all. Persevere
in asking the value question and pursuing the opportunity to reinvent
yourself to meet that opportunity. Keep moving ahead, keep testing what
works, keep learning, keep trying. As some would say, “keep on keeping on”.
Keep challenging your assumptions about what creates value and what
you should have to do to be successful, to see if they still make sense in
the world NOW, and the anticipated tomorrow. Then extend that
continuity to your work network. Be the person that returns calls,
that remembers, that prompts, that keeps the goal in mind.
Following up, not just to maintain contact, but to create value, or in
pursuit of creating value, as defined TODAY, will help you stand out and
navigate the volatile work place projected by the Economist. Your
follow-up on the process of “how do I succeed, and succeed by identifying
opportunities to create value?” will stand out to others over time.
The world of work is a volatile place, full of starts, stops and unexpected
turns. Focus on Creating Value and Followup as two essential skills to help
you navigate the instability and develop a good set of sea legs in the process.