Building Your Value – What Are You Worth?
Leaders need to continually demonstrate value and articulate it while balancing humility and arrogance. Can you quantify your value?
What Have You Done for Me Lately?
Our on-demand culture is not limited to Netflix and GrubHub. It is pervasive throughout all facets of our lives including the expectations of today’s leaders and the value they bring to their organizations. Long gone are the days of deep and meaningful relationships built over time with your boss and colleagues. With countless reorgs, musical chairs at the top of the house, high turnover within the ranks, and frequent acquisitions and divestitures, it’s important to be crystal clear on your value and to make sure it remains relevant as business conditions shift.
We should constantly be asking ourselves what value we bring to our teams and businesses. If you can’t answer that question quickly and quantifiably or if your answers skew to the intangibles the ideas below will help you get back on track.
Start with your personal branding. As the saying goes, perception is 90% reality and it’s important that your personal brand is in high demand. I often ask my clients to come up with the first three words they want people to associate them with, and I then help build their brand. In today’s on-demand business environment it’s important to take things a step further. Your personal brand isn’t only about what you want; your brand should complement the organizational priorities and fill a leadership gap when possible.
You need a good mix of leadership and tangible value. Leading a high performing team is all about getting the intangibles right. Fostering a good culture, creating productive tension, and making room for innovation are all extremely important but we cannot rely on the intangibles alone. It doesn’t matter which part of the organization you lead, you need to be able to monetize your value using metrics and measurements your company recognizes as legitimate ways of measuring performance.
Be the “go-to” person for something important. You all know who I’m talking about. There’s always that person who is actively sought by colleagues when things get difficult or uncertain. I’m not talking about being a subject matter expert in a niche’ technical area. I’m talking about becoming that advisor that people turn to not because they have to but because they want to.
Flex and adapt to the conditions around you. Just when you have your personal brand solidified, when you have found a way to monetize your value and are finally the leader people turn to – bam! Your boss gets promoted or your company acquires a competitor or there’s a massive reorganization and the entire corporate value chain gets disrupted. The good news is you are still in a great place because you’ve focused on building your brand and demonstrating your value. The bad news is that you need to start all over again to make sure you stay in alignment with the priorities of the current regime.
Getting good at quantifying your value is easier when you have a successful track record to start from. What if you have had a few missteps along the way or find yourself out of alignment with what the organization views as important? Don’t panic! Recovering from failure is what separates the men from the boys (so-to-speak). Businesses don’t expect perfection but they do expect correction. If you’re unsure how to course correct on your own, work with a strong leader who will give you direct feedback on the collateral damage, provide insightful perspectives on the organization’s strongest priorities, and help you to realign your standing within the leadership team.
The combination of strengthening your personal brand, demonstrating you are focused on results and becoming a highly sought-after thought leader will dramatically improve your ability to lead. People gravitate to those who are successful and who inspire others around them to share in the success. Building your value will not only position you for the next opportunity, it can inspire your teams to hold themselves to the same standard and raise the bar for everyone.