The other day I saw a friend in Starbucks. We did the “small talk” thing, which included a question from me about work.
Dave: How’s work going (my friend works at a upper end restaurant in town)?
Friend: Really good. I’ve made good money.
Dave: Great. What do you like about it?
Friend: I get INSTANT feedback on my performance. I know immediately if I’ve done a good job.
Dave: Talk about fast feedback on whether or not your adding value…
Friend: Ya, that’s one of the things I like most about it.
One of the troubles with working insdie and organization is that it can be difficult to get immediate feedback on whether or not you are adding value in real-time. Though it’s harder today, it’s still possible to hide in organizations–just “getting by” and rarely adding new value.
This is why I wish everyone, at least once, could work for him or herself. When you work for yourself, you are often much more interested in your real-time ability to add value. Because, well if you don’t add value, you don’t eat (maybe a bit of an overstatement, but not too much).
If you’re in an organization, it’s important to ask often:
What am I doing today that is adding value to what matters around here AND contributes in some meaningful way to the money making model of this place?
Asking the question will alter your behavior quicker and make it more likely that you become valuable by adding value.