While reading some material this week on the topic of defining value, I immediately thought of The Platinum Rule by Dr. Tony Alessandra. The Platinum Rule is about treating others the way they want to be treated. This is seen as adding value, or as I like to say – taking care of the bottom line. There are three insights on “value” that I’ve been thinking on since I started reading this material. Let me share those points as I begin my journey towards becoming a leader who adds value.
In my business, we spend countless hours creating and implementing report deliverables for our customers. However, we don’t always ensure that such actions are adding value to the customer. This sounds easy to correct but this is a huge struggle. We have innovative and creative teammates whose sole job is create products and services. Many of the developments are wonderful but they were not created with the customer in mind. We are not treating the customers the way they want to be treated. Customers balk at the high price tag and decline the product offerings. Although our customers do not see value in the services, should my unit be rewarded? They did work hard on the products?
So my first point is, working hard and creating fancy products and services is not enough. As a leader, I must focus on and reward performance that leads to the accomplishment of our organizational goals, which includes adding value to our customers. I cringe to think that I may be leading my staff to focus more on looking busy rather than producing results.
The second point, taken from the subject matter is the need for me to review my department’s approach to generating results through performance improvements. Typically, our approach is to duplicate the behavior of the top performer and use these assumptions to “coach up” low performing agents. I call them assumptions because no careful observation was performed. It has been hit or miss with the method. In fact, it has been more “miss” than “hit.”
In an example of missing the mark, I vividly remember a former agent who left the company because he was not happy. Prior to his leaving, the agent was on a performance improvement to raise his performance to an acceptable level. The improvement process, which included coaching on our “assumptions” of what acceptable performing agents do, only made the situation worse. This agent followed the training and coaching but this didn’t lead to results, only frustration.
The final point, effective leaders are not always the most “successful” leader. I’ve first witnessed this during my first job with a large pharmaceutical company. My manager was neither the smartest nor the most effective team leader but he was the most successful amongst his peers. While his peers were spending time developing their teams and cultivating new leaders, he was busy networking with industry leaders, creating dazzling power point presentations, and lunching with the power players. He used the talents he had to maximize his career.
What does this mean to me? As a leader, I want to effective AND successful. It’s not enough to produce accomplishments but my goal is to be seen as a charismatic leader. When I look at the new promotion section of my company’s newsletter, charismatic leaders are right there in print. Maybe I’ve fallen to the pressures of climbing the corporate ladder. No. I just want to be seen as an effective leader, and one who generates value and results.
Summing it all up, there is plenty to learn about leadership on this journey. This first week of study I’ve learned something new and re-discovered some things that I had forgotten. Yet, I can sum my learning up in one phrase taken from the power point materials. Whether it’s adding value to my customers or my organization, generating results through performance improvement, or standing out as a leader, I must remember that the value I create as a leader is defined by the worthiness of my accomplishments in my organization.
What do you think it takes to create value ?