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It's All About Value

It's All About Value

Sharlyn Lauby | HR Bartender

March 31, 2010

Businesses are obsessed with talking about value.  The conversation is focused on departments providing value, or people delivering value or processes creating value.  Don’t get me wrong…I’m not anti-value.  But in our fast-paced, real-time world, the definition of value is changing all the time.  And, if we don’t understand what it means, how can we work toward creating the value concept?

It used to be, if organizations wanted to examine value, they commissioned a study or hired a consultant.  I’m not sure that’s feasible anymore.  The marketplace is moving too fast.  Understanding value is not an event, it’s a continuous process.

For companies to understand value, they will have to use new tools. In terms of format, I think crowdsourcing and monitoring the backchannel might replace traditional focus groups or opinion surveys.   When looking to gather and evaluate feedback, here are some things to consider:

Trends versus Quantity.  Companies will have to pay closer attention to singular comments and suggestions…to make sure they’re not part of a global trend.  It goes without saying that getting a large volume of comments in a short span of time is reason to take notice.  But gone are the days of saying “Let’s wait until this become epidemic before we react to it.”

Proactive versus Reactive.  Assumptions like “no news is good news” have no place in today’s business world.  There will always be someone trying to build a better model…even when the model they have is tops in the market.  You have to not only be better than the rest.  You have to be better than yourself.

Agility and Risk Taking.  Being able to turn on a dime and leverage opportunities will create business value.  Companies don’t have the luxury of waiting until every little thing is perfect before they take something to market.

Immediacy and Momentum.  With the influx of real-time data comes the desire for everything in our lives to be ‘right now.’  If Company A can’t deliver products fast enough, then Company B will figure out a way to do it.  Speed will become a key differentiator.

Ultimately, it’s customers who decide whether something is valuable or not.  And that applies to employees (aka our internal customers).  If you want to know if something is valuable…ask the customer.  Ask all of your customers.  Ask them often.  Earn their trust.  They will give you answers.

When your customers define what value means, then you’ll know how to create it.


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