Educate September 2016

Adding Value To Your Organization


Written By: Craig W. Petrus

My father once said to me, as I was about to embark on my first ever internship, “Become indispensable, so they have no reason to get rid of you.” Since that day, the idea of always adding value wherever I go and becoming indispensable has stayed with me, and is something that has guided me at each of the companies I have called home during my career. It’s not so much the fear of getting fired, but instead the desire to become a constant learner, an innovator, and one who is a problem solver and not a problem-starter. It is being that employee who always raises a hand to take on new projects and initiatives and even, at times, the work that no one else wants to do, just to set yourself apart from the rest. Overall, what really matters is identifying the areas where you feel you can add value — both within and outside of your area of expertise — and where you feel you can make a positive impact.

“Be so good they can’t ignore you” — Steve Martin, actor & comedian

There are many ways to add value to your organization. Here, I will touch on a few that I think are important.

BECOME A PROBLEM-SOLVER
No one likes a complainer, right? Well, the same can be said within your work environment. It is always easy to point out what is wrong with a particular product, service, program or company. It is those executives who come up with solutions to these problems who really set themselves apart. One should spend more time talking about the solutions to problems and the action plans to get there rather than just complaining about them. This has everything to do with your mindset. If you become a “solutions-oriented” person toward everything in your life, then your outlook will change in how you deal with setbacks or negativity on an everyday basis. So, before you approach your manager about what you think is wrong, come up with a plan of action as to how you would fix that problem, and then have that conversation. For example, spend two minutes pointing out your concern, and the next 20 minutes communicating your solutions to the problem.

RAISE YOUR HAND
One way to add value to your organization is to always be willing to take on new projects or initiatives. If your manager is seeking “volunteers” to work on a new program, be the first person to “raise your hand” and lead that initiative. Not only will you be seen in a positive light among your leadership team as someone always willing to step up to the plate when needed, but you will gain valuable project management experience. By volunteering to take on new projects, you are not only adding value to your organization and increasing your marketability, but also quite possibly adding a new skillset to your toolbox. Consider this as additional training and development that is part of your overall job — an investment in you and your career.

LEAD WITH DATA
In this day and age of “big data,” the first step in solving problems, identifying trends or uncovering the “big idea” is through data analysis. Numbers don’t lie, so a great way to tell the real story of what is taking place within your organization is to lead with data. By leading with data, you delete any concern your manager may have of an ulterior motive or agenda, because you are separating fact from your personal opinions (whether they be good, bad or indifferent). Become a data expert at your organization; one who people go to when data analysis is needed. Sharpen your Excel skills and learn how to build models using this tool. Again, approach this as additional training and development for yourself that will only increase your marketability in the eyes of others. Most importantly, don’t forget to add any solutions to the data that you uncover.

LEARN HOW TO BE CROSS-FUNCTIONAL
While you may have entered your organization with a certain subject matter experience, if you ever leave, you will want to have added to your expertise. A great way to add value to an organization is to become “crossfunctional,” or learn what others within your organization do and then think about how your particular skill set or expertise can help accomplish their goals. By doing this, not only are you adding to your own personal toolbox of skills but you are also showing others around you and your leadership team that you can work cross-functionally with others and add value to a particular business unit. Be open to learning what other parts of your organization do and how that may impact your area of expertise.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE
Literally…don’t be afraid to take out the garbage! Those who really add value to an organization have a mentality that no job is too small or too big for themselves and that there is no real separation in job descriptions when it comes to certain realities of daily work life. Treat those both above you and below you with respect, regardless of what they do for your organization. Treat all your customers the same way. Whether they are your biggest or smallest, a high level of customer service to those around you — both internal and external — will go a long way in the eyes of your manager.

 

 

CRAIG W. PETRUS joined the Hough Graduate School of Business in June of 2009. As Director, Craig is responsible for the day-to-day operations of Graduate Business Career Services and ensuring the delivery of quality career development programming and services to students within the Hough Graduate School of Business at the University of Florida.

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