Top-Shelf Tip No. 225:

"Don’t find fault, find a remedy."

Henry Ford

How To Make Yourself More Valuable, Part 2

Here's a simple question: how do you affect your organization's bottom line? Okay, maybe it's not a simple question. If you don't readily have an answer, then you need to evaluate how you deliver value to your organization and how to measure your value.

In today's organizations, change is constant. Financial goals change. Operational structures change. Employees' roles change based on these moving targets. To promote visibility in your organization, it's important to assess how you drive strategic value to your team, your manager and your manager's boss.

In yesterday's issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we discussed the importance of doing research to understand management's goals and priorities and asking yourself the right questions to determine how you can support these goals and help to drive strategic value.

Today, we look at how you incorporate this knowledge and elevate your role with what business coach Jill Johnson, president and founder of Johnson Consulting Services, refers to as your "value center."

Use Your Knowledge To Provide Strategic Insight
In your role, you likely have access to valuable information that you either currently provide to management or that you could share with them. You might be directly interacting with your customers or work in a key area to create and deliver your company's services or products. Often those closest to these areas have the best ideas to improve productivity or increase profitability. Taking a more proactive approach to incorporating strategic thinking into your job will help you transform your role as a valuable business resource.

Provide management with insight, not just information. You need to incorporate your value-add of interpretation and recommendations. Insight can be a game changer to build your relationship with management. This will position you as a value center, not just a cost center.

Identify opportunities for your company to optimize the available assets they have already invested in. These investments could include people, buildings or equipment. Consider how you can maximize the work you do and the assets you are directly responsible for managing or using. Pay close attention to the touch points your role has on key metrics for your company. Where do you affect sales, profit margin, return on investment or return on assets? If you don't understand these terms, learn more about them.

To make yourself more valuable to management, you need to know what makes money for your company and how your role fits into making money. This insight will help you tie yourself to the company's business priorities. Focus on creating a positive impact on revenue growth or overall bottom-line profit. The better you understand these concepts, the easier it will be for you to position yourself as a strategic resource.

Always position your ideas and recommendations to management in the language they use. If they frequently use the words "return on investment (ROI)" or "profitability," be sure your ideas always include a reference to how they will impact ROI or company profits. If management talks about "target markets" or "employee engagement," then you should do the same.

Communication with your managers should be short, simple and to the point. They will ask you for more details if needed. Make sure your data and information is accurate; you'll be perceived as credible and trustworthy. Management must be confident they can trust the information you provide; once burned, you will not have another chance to re-establish their trust.

Once you begin spending time on thinking strategically, it will become a natural part of how you conduct your work. This will make you more valuable to management and you could soon find yourself in consideration for a manager's role, too.

Source: Jill Johnson, president and founder of Johnson Consulting Services, is a highly accomplished speaker, award-winning management consultant and author of the forthcoming Bold Questions series. Johnson helps her clients make critical business decisions and develop market-based strategic plans for turnarounds or growth. Her consulting work has had an impact on business decisions worth nearly $4 billion.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson