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Demonstrating professional or personal value

Why do we have to go the proverbial “extra mile?” Should not our professional or personal objective be solely to always present our absolute best effort? Jennifer Cruise asserted, “Values aren't buses... They're not supposed to get you anywhere. They're supposed to define who you are.” Going the extra mile is like having spare change. There is nothing spare about money; I simply elect to share what I have, but by no means is it spare. The same holds true for demonstrating value. In my opinion, the value should not be equated to going the extra mile but instead providing the absolute best service necessary to accomplish the goal. Demonstrating value is a key term for employees to employers, businesses to clients, and in personal relationships. There are key factors we may want to consider when we discuss value. The culmination for demonstrating value is simply educating yourself on what is valuable to your employer, what is valuable to your clients, or what is valuable to your personal relationship.

Recognize what is valuable to the other party

Educate yourself on the needs of others. If you are an employee, be proactive in determining the needs of your manager’s superiors and strive to meet those objectives. Keep in mind that once those objectives are met, by default, you will have also met the primary needs of your immediate manager, thus positioning yourself as a resource, identifying a possible advocate, and increasing your probability for long-term success within your organization. Those who are serving clients might want to identify key factors to address the individual, not just the masses. Make each client feel as if you are serving only that individual. Personal relationships are frequently the most challenging because we often expect the other party to understand our thoughts, needs, and emotions. However, we must prioritize needs in personal relationships just as we do with our employers and clients. Learn and recognize what the other party holds valuable and whatever that is, you should safeguard it.

Communicate your intentions

You invested the time necessary to educate yourself and you have identified an opportunity to serve. Now you are ready to articulate your intentions. To ensure your intentions are receptive, communicate your desires to serve and highlight the resulting benefits of your efforts. This is especially important in the employee/employer relationship. In communicating the benefits, when possible, pay special attention to quantitative methods (show the numbers). For clients, the emphasis should be on returns on investment. Deepak Chopra expressed that “Mathematics expresses values that reflect the cosmos, including orderliness, balance, harmony, logic, and abstract beauty”; therefore, stay focus on what is tangible and in faith toward the intangible. When clients purchase a service or product, they want to know that whatever they purchased was worth the investment. Remain diligent in making clients feel that although others may be able to provide similar products and services, it is not from you and that your efforts are the key factor for their success. Communication in personal relationships requires a high vulnerability. Author Brené Brown amplified the importance of vulnerability. Ms. Brown noted vulnerability is the true measures of courage. We need to continually clearly articulate our intentions as well and ensure buy-in when possible. The buy-in is key in all phases of professional and personal communication.

Listen for Feedback

The dialogue has or is occurring and it is time to listen actively to the feedback provided. Do not reduce listening to simply hearing, but use it as an exchange for increased understanding. Listening takes on two forms. Individuals can actively listen or passively listen. Active listen occurs with full engagement of the listeners. It includes an exchange for clarity and understanding. Passive listening requires less engagement, and hence potentially may lead to misunderstandings and misjudgments. The listening element in demonstrating value should not be minimized. We must listen to assure our potential solutions align with the respective strategic vision. We must listen to assure we provide the specific products and services warranted to serve our clients. We must listen to assure we have peace in our personal relationships.

Map out the success

Mapping out your success brings closure to any situation; however, the success is not yours. The success must solely be from the perspective of the other party. Illustrate how you made your employer successful. Illustrate how your clients are successful because they are satisfied with the returns on their investments. Recognize harmony exists in your relationship. It is essential that everything we do in the mapping of success is presented from a servant leadership perspective. When you have contributed to the organization's success, when you have provided tangible returns of client's investment, or when you have achieved harmony in your relationship then you are on your way to leaving a legacy of demonstrated value. As noted by South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist Nelson Mandela, “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”

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