What Can We Do to Add Value?
Have you ever been stuck just getting tasks done that don’t seem to add value? Do you feel like you spend all your time merely doing what you are supposed to do each day or week and no time to look for ways to add value? What do I mean by add value? In a business or even a nonprofit setting, it usually comes one of 3 ways.
Money – We add value by finding ways to increase revenue or decreases expenses.
Time – We add value by finding ways to save time.
Impact – We add value by increasing excitement, influence, or hope with customers, employees, or even society in general.
Have you been in a situation such as an employee review, a client meeting, or a board meeting and had to explain what you have accomplished? Nobody is going to say I answered 1,000 emails or took care of routine and everyday activities. Yes, routine activities are necessary. These activities are essential or everything good falls apart. We have to clean our house or it would become unsanitary and hard to find anything. Also, we have to maintain the accounting, pay the bills and collect unpaid invoices or we won’t be in business long.
If you spend all your time on these routine activities, you are not setting yourself apart from the competition or improving your business to stay up with technology, stay efficient, or stay relevant. So what can we do to add value to our organizations? This takes some time to think through. How can we do this? Here are some ideas that have been helping me.
- Wake up Early – Each morning should consist of prayer, reading, exercise, journaling, and affirmations. A great book on this subject is called “Miracle Morning“.
- Listen – I have had a quiet time most mornings for years, but what I have started doing recently is listening. I have started listening to God. I know this might seem weird to some people but, I believe as a Christian that God wants to speak to us, but we have to listen. I recommend reading “2 Chairs: The Secret That Changes Everything“. The premise of the book is that God who created everything knows the future and knows us better than we know ourselves. He wants a relationship with us, but we have to listen to Him. We aren’t telling Him anything He doesn’t know, but He does have a lot to share with us. Why not take the chance and try it?
- Ask – I recommend asking clients, employees, supervisors, or even spouses or children how to add value. You might phrase it differently, though. Maybe ask them in one of the following ways:
- How can I make your life easier?
- How can I save you time?
- What is something you would like to change about me or my business?
- Create a Value Matrix – Write down one thing you are going to do to add value each month or at least every 3 months. Do this for all of your important relationships. Since I provide fractional CFO services for clients, I created a value matrix with my clients listed in columns and months in rows. See an example below.
5. Plan your week and day – Plan what you are going to do each day on your calendar the night before. Also, plan each week ahead of time. Be sure to schedule time to work on value-adding activities. Don’t get lost in being reactive to just answering emails and for issues to arise. Purchase the Freedom Journal to help with this planning. This book/journal is a great resource to help meet any goal.
So next time you look back at what you accomplished, write down ways you added value. Look for ways to add value to others in the next month. In a business, focus on way to increase revenue, decrease expenses, save time or increase the impact of your organization. Consider waking up early, listening more to God, asking others for guidance, creating a value matrix and planning your day and week. After all this, your level of value will be invaluable to those you serve in your life.
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