Intro: The Value of Value
One of the most valuable things is time <see time blog here>… So I will discuss the value of value, with the value of your time in mind.
Lately there has been a lot of talk in the work world about ‘value’. The abstract measure of value has been attributed to everything from approaches to employees. There has been a particular focus on “value add” (or add value, depending on the manager). This phrase, “value add” has increased in usage by approximately 3 fold since 1990. What does “add value” mean? And why is it important, if at all?
What is add value
In general value is synonymous with worth. More specifically value is the measure of somethings worth. Worth is best defined as something of usefulness or importance. Using transitive logic, we can say that value is the measure of somethings importance or usefulness.
The corporate world value can be broken down into 3 general categories:
Accounting – where value is the monetary worth of an asset measured by how much money could one harvest from the asset.
Economics – where value is the worth of all of the benefits and rights of ownership, like the right of first refusal.
Marketing – where value is the extent a good or services is perceived to meet the customer’s needs.
Creating add value is the creation of either perceived worth, additional function or benefit, or monetary worth.
What is YOUR value?
This is the main question. It is how you are measured your entire professional life. What is your inherent or intrinsic worth? What importance, usefulness, or benefit do you bring to the enterprise that you serve?
The idea of intrinsic value is that there is value in something for its own sake. This would be like saying your valuable because you are. If there was intrinsic value in you professionally, a company would hire you because having you as an employee in of its self would create value.
The question of if this intrinsic value actually exists in the corporate world is more complex than one might initially think. The instinctual answer would be “no”. Enterprises don’t value anyone unless they produce. But is it possible for you to produce by being who you are? This is what an endorsement is. Michael Jordan didn’t have to MAKE shoes, or design shoes, he didn’t have to do anything but attach his name to the shoes to increase their value. While we might not feel like this concept applies to us, it does. There is worth that are you, that you do and that you bring, that are inherently apart of you. Identifying and strengthening these attributes will maximize your intrinsic value.
New Value Culture
At a high level, everything anything does is to create some value. What makes the difference is the audience of the value and the type of value that is being valued. Recently, when the business world says value it has been in reference to shareholder value. Shareholder value is monetary, and immediate. This is a shift of values from when the value of an enterprise was social, to valuing the benefits provided to beholden individuals. American steel was not the most profitable steal, but the BEST steel. Being the BEST would in turn create profit. Now we increase the perceived value of a company to the benefit of those who own those shares. These shareholders, do not work for the company, are not a part of the company, and in many cases have no loyalty to the company at all. A shareholder values the value of their shares. One could think through and extrapolate how this would drive decisions.
Value for the shareholder does not just tie value to money, but to the current perception of that company’s monetary future worth. The way a company creates value is by looking like they will create value in the future. The question that is being assessed to improve shareholder value is “what can we do today to look like we will make more money tomorrow?”
The value problem
And this is where value becomes cyclical. What is currently valued is the perceived value of future value. This value problem trickles down to the employee. Your value is not what you contribute, but what you will contribute in the future. Your employer is paying you, and shareholders are paying the company, to grow, to create more value. But not value in the sense of ACTUAL value, the benefit or worth of the good or service provided, but the monetary value of providing that good or service. And value that enshrouded this swirling black hole of value is the value of money… But that’s for another blog.
References and additional interesting reads