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Value: Do You Know What You’re Really Worth?

One of my clients called me as she was attempting to work up the nerve to ask for a promotion. When I asked her why she felt she was entitled, she quickly rattled off a laundry list of items she was clearly proud to share. She told me that she had been with the company 11 years, had been a supervisor for 8 years, taken multiple seminars, developed several processes, led numerous projects, actively Encourages “teamwork,” and has a very good attitude. To which I replied “Ok, but why do you believe that’s worth a promotion?” It wasn’t the response she expected.

I must say, I understood her confusion. Haven’t we all gotten to that place in our career where we feel like we’re entitled to more money, and maybe more “clout?” I know I have, and I know that listing off what I “do” was typically the first place I turned for justification. The problem is, nobody really cares what we “do.” In other words, it’s not the action that brings value to the table, it’s the results of the
action. I know, you may be thinking, “What’s the difference?” Well, let me explain and clear up a few common misconceptions.

1. Simply occupying a position for a long time does not make you more valuable to the company. This “justification” comes up more than just about any other. Don’t let it happen to you! In most cases, you’re not entitled to more pay, promotion, or even job security simply because you’ve been in the job longer than anyone else. In fact, with the competition for gainful employment and the need for innovation, it’s more important than ever to constantly update your skills and talents. One of the worst things you can do is to work for a company for 25 years without expanding your areas of expertise.

2. Being “busy” carries no value. I worked with a woman for 18 years who never missed an opportunity to dramatically tell me how busy she was (at work and at home), every time I saw her. Understand, in most reputable companies, employers don’t want their employees (particularly their leadership team) to work themselves into the ground. In fact, as a former executive myself, I much prefer employees who get the job done as efficiently and quickly as possible – leaving them physically and mentally energized for the next project. However, for some reason, we often equate being “busy” with being invaluable. It’s not necessary to tell everyone how busy you are (how can you possibly take on more responsibility?), but it is necessary to deliver results. Don’t confuse the two . . . I wish someone had given me this tip before I spent a decade figuring it out!

3. Companies typically think in financial terms. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely believe that all of the items on her list are essential to her professional development. However, they are a means to an end. The real VALUE comes in terms of the results. For example, “developing processes” is fine, but
streamlining efficiencies and increasing productivity are the resulting value of your efforts. You don’t just “take workshops,” “encourage teamwork,” and “have a positive attitude,” you increase motivation and employee retention, and decrease turnover and training costs. See the difference? It’s not the “how you do it,” it’s the “what you’ve done” that really matters. It’s important to look at all the areas you positively impact with your actions (decreasing turnover also decreases overtime coverage and recruiting time, and increases the overall experience of your talent pool). Where are you down-playing what you really bring to the table?

4. It isn’t necessary to constantly grab the spotlight. While you want to ensure you don’t go unnoticed, constantly taking credit, updating everyone on your accomplishments, and vying for high profile projects will only exhaust and frustrate everyone around you. Don’t underestimate the importance of encouraging your coworkers and/or employees, actively recognizing the strengths of others, and leading by example. These are traits that truly improve productivity and morale, speed the success of new employees, and make you a truly invaluable resource. What better way to Actualize your success?

©2014 Lisa Broesch. All rights reserved internationally. Permission granted to excerpt or redistribute with attribution and notification.