Discovering Hidden Value

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With thanks to the O2 Ideas Room for blog posts…

“What we must decide is perhaps how we are valuable, rather than how valuable we are.”  (Edgar Z Friedenberg)

It may take a moment to digest the full wisdom of this brilliant distinction.

However, for businesses in the future, it’s not going to be a case of what is the cost; but more about the value we bring.

Do you ever find that your customers (or employers) are reluctant to talk about the value you bring?  Or would bring… if only they gave you the assignment or the job?

This reluctance is often very real. At other times, however, it is also a reflection of our own reluctance to probe, and thus discover how exactly we are valuable. Who knows what enormous gems lie undiscovered beneath this reluctance?

If we are serious about harnessing the untapped power of undiscovered value, we must equally be honest about the resistance we encounter. We have a natural distaste for those who constantly seek reassurance that they are of value. Those who constantly ask for feedback on their performance may well betray an underlying self-obsession that at best we indulge, at worst we resent.

They are making the mistake of pursuing the question of “how valuable they are“. Let’s be honest, most of us are tired of “rate our performance” questions.

By contrast, take a look at these questions, assembled to discover how we might be of value, rather than how valuable we are:

1.    (at the start of an interview)  “What was it about my CV that prompted you to meet with me?”

2.    (meeting a new client for the first time) “Of these four subjects, which would be most valuable for you to explore today?”

3.    (at the end of any meeting)  “What are you taking from this discussion?”

4.    (in a project review)  “Of all the areas we have worked on – brief recap – which for you had the most value?”

5.    (personally / socially)  “What have you most enjoyed about this evening?”

Questions like these uncover how exactly we are of value, rather than how valuable we are. Value is the ideal basis of effective negotiation, genuine customer-service development, fruitful employee appraisal and lasting business development.

Paul Davis
Davis Business Consultants

Ideas Room