As a mentor to business professionals, I find that many are frustrated that colleagues and managers don’t see the true value of their contributions. These people expect their results to have self-evident value without any effort. I have long believed that each of you is responsible for documenting and communicating your worth without boasting or exaggeration.
For example, your work maintaining key customer relationships may be the key to timely change based on emerging trends, but these efforts are easily overlooked as a source of value at the end of a change process. By documenting your input early and following up later by quantifying customer revenue, you can ensure your value is not forgotten in the revenue growth process.
If you feel the pain of not being appreciated or rewarded for all the work you do, I like the steps suggested in a new book, “Show the Value of What You Do,” by Patricia Pulliam Phillips and Jack J Phillips. These authors bring years of experience in value and building ROI competencies through their consulting efforts with major companies around the world.
I like the examples they have included and would like to add my insights to their recommendations for implementing a personalized value process based on your situation and style, consisting of the following steps:
1. Make clear what impact you want each project to have.
It’s up to you to think about adding value early, rather than just working on a project. I continue to be amazed at the number of professionals who simply say “yes” to too many requests, without considering potential value to the company or to you. Focus on return on every job you accept.
To understand impact, it is important that you first understand the business mission and purpose. It’s hard to deliver value in achieving a goal if you don’t know what the goal is. Try to shift your perspective to look at the big picture or at the poll leaders.
2. Choose the right solution to maximize impact.
You need to understand the “why” of any project before working on the solution. The easiest or fastest approach may not provide the value you need to be recognized. Look at the problem from the perspective of your business leaders and customers, who must support your value and theirs later.
In all cases, you need to make sure you fix the root cause problem, rather than just a symptom. I’m a big fan of the “five why” approach, where you simply ask yourself and others “why” five times before concluding that you have the real problem.
3. Communicate the criteria for success early and often.
It is important to establish expectations for success early, as well as the right metrics. This allows others to know what to do, as well as your contribution, to make it happen and recognize the impact. Make sure there is a chance of win-win, with benefits for everyone.
In general, good communication with all relevant parties, without singing your praises, will always add value. Everyone appreciates feedback on progress so far and what is needed in the future. Being the hub of good information increases your value.
4. Demonstrate the evolution of success along the way.
This is best done by collecting and recording request and response data along the way and keeping everyone informed of the progress. Remember that learning has value and often requires pivots. Without your communication, these may be seen as negative values by others.
5. Provide proof of ROI to maintain credibility.
Credibility is a major concern when providing data results. Use real cost and return on investment (ROI) data instead of opinion and exaggeration. It is always good practice to acknowledge all contributors to a project, as well as outside influences. Your worth is the proof as well as the analysis.
6. Use the results for your maximum benefit.
Your goal is always to make the result better. If the project is successful, make it more successful. If not, then change things up so that it yields more value next time, or make the next project better. Use the results to gain support, engagement, influence and funding for related efforts.
What I’ve found is that a shift to value thinking creates a new mindset to start with the end in mind, look for impact and ROI, take responsibility for quantifying your value, and take action before someone asks. It may be just the incentive you need to take a closer look at the work you do and refocus your efforts on the work that can help you and the company.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not Inc.com’s.
This post 6 effective ways to show the value of your business
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