A couple of years ago, I was visiting with a colleague and we were discussing something with someone who was remote. I had to send this remote person an image on a laptop screen. To do this, I went about an arduous process involving copying the screen image to a graphics app and then cutting the image out, copying that again and pasting it to the email. My friend was watching and asked why I was doing all of this elaborate mess. I responded that I had always done it like this. He then showed me how to use the snipping tool in Windows. I had never seen it or been shown it. It was like I had found the Holy Grail. It was so simple and allowed me to simply cut out whatever I wanted and paste it directly to any document. “Wow” was all I could eek out.
The reason I relay this is that it is a great example of providing value. We hear a lot about value these days but what is it.
There are complex ideas involving the balance between what you pay and what you get but I think it’s simpler than that. Whenever you get something that helps you do something more easily or gets you information that enables you to do achieve something, value has been delivered. When you read something and learn or are inspired, value has been delivered. When you get help that solves a problem, value has been delivered. Whether you pay or not has no bearing on whether it’s valuable or not. It either benefits you (valuable) or it doesn’t (not valuable).
This idea brings up a question. Is what you are doing bringing value? How does what you do or produce help anyone? How is it, like my encounter with the snipping tool, helping someone to achieve something easily, quickly, or more perfectly? It’s clear, value is a service proposition. Helpful is valuable, it’s that simple.
So, if you’re not bringing value with your work, what exactly are you doing? Think about it. Are you delivering value every day in every project and every interaction?
If we want our organizations to be valuable and deliver value, we should all be asking ourselves, every day, “How can I be more helpful? How can I be more valuable?”