Value Based Work

In the book, Great at Work by Morton T. Hansen, he concludes that 7 “Work smarter” practices will enhance both an individual and company’s performance. These are divided into two categories, four practices for the individual, and three practices when collaborating. One of those practices, “Redesign Your Work”, focuses on asking “why” questions of current activities and “what if” questions about new and innovative activities. At the heart of this redesign is “value”.

Productivity measured only in terms of output is flawed because it doesn’t ask if the output creates value for others and too often focuses on internal metrics of success, e.g. I hit my output goals, but my customer does not meet their own. Hansen suggests another formula with “value” being the hinge factor, so if value is not being created it doesn’t matter how effective or efficient you are at your tasks, you have failed to create value for others.

The question, “Am I creating value for others in my work?” should be at the forefront of our minds. If we produce goals and tasks first (or others create these for us) we’ll miss out on the answer to this question. If I ask questions like, “How can I create value for others in my work?”, it will create a metric for analyzing current practices and creating new ones. Goals and tasks will flow down from “creating value”.

Here are some questions to ask to determine what is of value to others:

  • Where are the pain points, that if solved, will make the lives of others better?
  • Are any of my current activities creating those pain points?

Hansen describes 5 steps for re-designing work:

  • Less fluff: eliminates existing activities of little value
  • More right stuff: increase existing activities of high value
  • More “Gee, whiz”: create new activities of high value
  • Five star rating: improve quality of existing stuff
  • Faster, cheaper: do existing activities more efficiently

At Gould Design, Inc. we are committed to looking at each customer’s needs and evaluating whether we are creating value for them. We treat the success of our customers as we would our own. If we “profit” but our customer fails, we have failed.

What about you? Do you look at creating value for others in your work? Tell us how in the comments!

Tim Hoke

General Manager – Gould Design, Inc.

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