Becoming a person of value

October 13, 2018

(Part 1 of 2)

JUST recently, my darling wife told me, “One thing I like about you is that you are serious about exercise and eat more fish and veggies, because you see the value of those habits.”

All right, it’s a humblebrag. My point is that people behave based on what value they will get from that behavior. When I say “value,” I mean the worth that comes from an activity, whether perceived or real, tangible or abstract. A blank piece of paper is not worth much. But if someone finds a long-lost page of the original Noli Me Tangere, that piece of paper is worth millions! What made it so precious just because Jose Rizal scribbled some ink on it? In one word: value.

Companies operate on value all the time. Investors snap up or unload stocks based on their present and future worth. Signature bag and luxury cars are outrageously priced because of image or prestige. Employers outsource services so they can focus on core business or reduce overhead, which in turn raises profits.

Now think of your work. Many employees have the attitude of “The company is not paying me enough for the work I do. In fact, I will not accept extra responsibilities because I am not paid for doing so.”

This is a fatal mistake and is guaranteed to stunt your career. The superior mindset is “How can I add value to my work so that I am qualified for a bigger paycheck?” Value, then, must propel whatever we do, not just in the workplace, but in personal spheres such as relationships and self-development.

Albert Einstein famously said, “Don’t be a person of success. Rather, be a person of value.” The more valueable you are, the more chances you will prosper. How can we add value to our work? Let me count the ways:

Add value to yourself. My mantra for job-seekers is “It’s not what the employer can do for you. It’s what you can do for the employer.” What value do you offer that contributes to the organization’s goals? Is it superior skills, experiential wisdom, an effective network? Put differently, nobody will hire you, let alone promote you, if you are perceived as value-less.

The strategy is to identify what gives you value in the sight of the employer. Then plan out how to enhance that value. Is it to put in extra effort and hours to know your products, processes and industry more intimately? Is it to sharpen your communication skills? Is it to be active in trade or civic organizations so you can widen your contacts? Be known as someone who can deliver the goods and more.

Add value to your co-workers. Have your subordinates become better people as a result of working for you? Do your peers look forward to lock elbows with you? Ouch! These are tough questions, but must be asked from time to time. Part of being a person of value is to raise the value in others.

For this, you have to ask, “What does a worker of higher value look like?” Is it greater mastery as measured by less mistakes, faster work or higher customer satisfaction? Is it smoother coordination with fellow operators? Is it an increase of creative problem-solving? If you have a worker who is asking for higher wages, strive together to raise his value as a worker, then justify the raise in pay. Whenever you can, give your people more tools to succeed in their jobs. Invite your suppliers to conduct technical seminars. Ask HR for soft-skill training.

I will share two more pointers next week. Meantime, give value to your friends by asking them to follow my Author’s Page