Intelligent Leaders—Value Added
There is a concept “value added” that seems to have slipped away from the work setting. I remember way back when I had my exterior paint business while I was at university. I would give a written estimate of the job to the potential client and then do the very best job I could as if the house were mine. “Quality work in a timely fashion.” Some customers would deliberately try to cheat me by bringing out the storm windows from the basement after the deal was made. I would do them anyway. When I saw something extra that was not in the written estimate, I would do it anyway because it needed to be done. That was called “value added” and most often, not always, the extra work was noticed and appreciated. Many times, I got a tip. More than anything, I had a happy customer who would tell everybody on the street. The cool strategy here is that I would get more customers on the same street even before I was finished the house that I was working on. The number one marketing strategy is “word of mouth.” Potential customers could see and hear that I produced quality work on schedule. This is value added. The customer was happy and I felt good about my work.
Today, we have unions that will not allow workers to do anything extra unless they get compensated. As a result unions are losing their foothold on industry. What is wrong with having a little pride in your work and being able to go home at night knowing that you produce “quality work?” Researchers have already proven that increased wages do not produce better work from employees. People in general want to feel good about what they do and know that their efforts make a difference. Pride is often thought of as an ugly word; however, it is great quality that leads to stronger self-esteem and a better place in the world at large.
With all the talk about Millennials, much of it is an overgeneralization. However, there seems to be a different set of expectations of many coming into the work setting. When asked what they expect in remuneration, it is often out of line with the present work setting. There also seems to be an expectation to come in at a much higher positional level without “paying your dues” as the old expression goes. What ever happened to working hard to prove you are worth a raise?
It is important for people to know that what they do makes a difference. We all want to have that feeling of “self-worth” at all levels. There is a tendency to see one job as being more important than another, even though it is not true. I was talking to a shoe shine person at a convention in Las Vegas—I wanted to look good for my meeting. I asked him, “Do you like your job?” He said back to me with a smile, “Sir, I give the best shoe shines in the city.” And it was the best! His attitude was amazing and he spoke so positively about the world at large. He had a sense of added value, doing a job “par excellence,” and pride in his work. Where do you find that today?
It is my belief that we need to ask better questions in the interview before hiring. And, one question that stands out in my mind that should be asked before the end of the interview: “So, I have read and heard about your profile, your strengths and areas to improve, now, ‘what added value do you bring to this work setting that will make you stand out from the other candidates?’” Follow up with clarifying questions. It is important to see what kind of an attitude that this potential employee would bring to the work setting. Is this person willing to do what it takes to achieve excellence? What will this person do that is over and above the basic requirements of the job? How committed is this person to providing excellent product and service? Just being average is not acceptable. “Added Value” is an expectation along with the job description.
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