By Joe Evans
The U.S. economy grew at just under a two percent annualized rate in the first half of 2011.
Interestingly, statistics also told that the productivity of workers rises at about two percent a year. That means that a company can produce two percent more goods and/or services per year than the year before, even if it doesn’t increase the number of people it employs.
Perhaps it is because we have yet to see an economic recovery stick, but the pressure to increase productivity continues to grow. This phenomenon is really about losing entitled employees and keeping those who add value. You can see it happening at all levels of organizations.
As this trend continues, companies will realize and see more clearly that they actually have a bifurcated workforce, consisting of those that add value and those that do the minimum to perform their job function.
Executives cannot be in the latter group, and the new super-class of value-enhancing leaders are certainly not. Those that are not adding value will be replaced from the rich pool of available talent that is willing to do so.
What this data also suggests is that we are demanding more of our rank-and-file workforce than ever. As leaders we must step up as well, to lead by example. Today’s executives must do more than fulfill their basic job duties. They must be innovators and leaders.
In fact, today’s executive role requires the leader get out of their office and take on an elastic form that can stretch and maneuver with ease, adding value here … solving problems there … and removing roadblocks somewhere else — every hour of the day. Anything short of that falls into the subpar value range in today’s business environment.
The term “value” is used so often that it is getting harder to define what it means, but we know what it looks like. Value comes from making oneself indispensable, seeing the gaps and filling voids that no one else sees. It is second nature to spot trouble and correct it.
Today’s executives should inspire those they work with and the people they encounter in their daily organizational roles, providing value that is tangible. That value may come in the form of the vision and the innovation that they themselves offer, but they also inspire and foster in others. It may surface through their superlative communication style that motivates and raises confidence levels in disheartened employees. Most importantly, they set the bar high for their followers.
This “super-executive” class of leader creates efficiency in their environment. They change processes for the better and always challenge the status quo — asking, “what if” and “why not?” While sales may not be their passion, they can sell. They can sell their ideas and they do sell their organization’s value.
Perhaps the source of value from this super-class of executives comes from servant leadership. Most will lead by example and achieve results for their organizations by giving priority attention to the needs of their colleagues and those they serve. They quietly create value while they function as humble stewards of their organization’s resources (human, financial and physical). Their highest priority is to encourage, support and enable subordinates to unfold their full potential and abilities. In addition to the innate value they bring to the organization, they also unlock it in others.
How Do You Evaluate Your Own Value Proposition?
There are many possible factors that might be considered in evaluating your own organizational value. Assess your own value. Some value parameters to consider in the evaluation include:
- Co-worker value: Be a servant leader that encourages, supports and enables subordinates to unfold their full potential and abilities
- Customer value: Be an executive that always seeks benefits for customers through service, access or enhancement
- Community value: Benefit society through positive actions, conservation and responsible behavior
- Strategic value: Never fail to deliver on the mission of the organization and the achievement of strategic initiatives
- Operational value: Improve process, innovation and overall productivity while reducing risk
- Financial value: Benefit the organization through initiatives that improve revenue, decrease costs
Originally published: Sep 6, 2011