Are you adding value?

If you want to excel in your job, career, family and literally anything you do, you need to constantly check if you are adding value in everything you do and everything that you are involved in.

Adding value is what will make you relevant, needed and important. If you do not add value, then you are as good as not needed. You may belong to a committee but if you add no value, you will later see others meeting without you being invited. Do not be surprised if you get side-lined in some meetings or events.

Take an example of a wedding organising committee. Typically, there will be anything between 10 and 30 people invited to join a wedding organising committee. Within a short time, you will find that typically only five to eight people are driving the whole programme, doing all the work, coordinating everything and talking. The rest–typically more than half–are just ‘passengers’. To be blunt, and we need to, the rest are not adding value at all.

When I chair such meetings, my task in the beginning is to quickly identify these value adding members of the committee so that I can focus on them. For the rest, I will only engage them for purposes of ‘political correctness’ and to avoid disgruntling them which may turn them into ‘loose cannons’ who may later frustrate efforts of the value adding members.

In the workplace, it is the same. A great leader will spend more time with the value adding team members. These are the people that he or she will give more work to because they deliver. These are the people that he will send for training more often while the others keep complaining without reflecting on why they are neglected. If you want to become ablue-eyed members of your team, be outstanding when it comes to adding value.

What this means also is that when time comes for giving bonus, you stand to benefit a bigger portion. It also means that at the time of promotions, you stand a better chance of being promoted, all factors being equal and in an even world. I am adding several conditions because I know that the world is not even and so in practice, you will find that there are other factors at play that may not make it obvious for the value adding people to be the first to be promoted.

For you to add value, you need to have the relevant competence and skill. This means that you must constantly work at being skilled and acquiring the required competences. Acquire today the skills you will need tomorrow. Always be ahead of the game. Read your industry and profession. Check which direction the industry and profession are going and keep updating your skills set to remain ahead of the game to remain relevant and important. Acquire as much knowledge as possible. Remember that knowledge is power and so the more you know, they more you will be able to add unique value and this way, you will gain a lot of influence.

To maximise your value adding capability, you need to be good at delivery but also you need to be a good communicator so that in every meeting, your contributions add value. Do not attend a meeting without saying a word. Then what value are you adding if for one or two hours you do not contribute to the flow of the meeting. This spirit to always say something in the meeting will seriously encourage you to be very attentive so that you can clearly grasp the proceedings of the meeting to be able to add value. Therefore, spend some time and resources to improve both your oral as well as your written communication skills.

We have discussed the importance and benefits of always adding value. We have also looked at what you need to do in order to become a person that is able to add value in teams, meetings and the rest of activities that you are involved in. Good luck as you enhance your value adding skills. This way, you will always rise and shine!

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