Are You Creating Value?
December 15, 2020
Twenty-eight years back, when I joined one of India’s leading IT firms as a fresh intern, I remember going through a two-week induction program. One of the instructors told us, the new inductees, a powerful story to illustrate the attitude that makes for a successful career.
Two friends, let’s call them Vikas and Mitesh, fresh out of college, joined a carpet trading company as sales officers at the same time. After two years, the manager promoted Vikas to a sales manager’s role while Mitesh continued to be a sales officer.
Mitesh felt deeply hurt and disgruntled because his boss overlooked him for the promotion.
“How can my boss ignore all the hard work and effort I am putting in. It is not fair,” he thought. He needed the job, so he continued despite being deeply unhappy.
As time passed by, Mitesh developed deep bitterness towards his friend and now supervisor Vikas. He could no longer bear working with him.
So, after a few months, Mitesh wrote up his resignation letter to hand it over to his boss. But before doing so, he decided to vent out his feelings with his supervisor,
“How could you ignore my contribution. You and the management team don’t value hard-working staff, and you only promote people you like and favor.”
The supervisor knew that Mitesh was very committed and worked hard for the firm. He wanted to help Mitesh get a promotion. But, something was missing in Mitesh because of which he was not ready for the promotion yet.
He decided to help Mitesh understand what was missing in him and why he was not getting the promotion he felt he deserved.
He gave Mitesh a task- “Can you please go and check if anyone is selling Handwoven Kashmiri Carpets in Town.”
Mitesh got to work immediately and came back to report to his supervisor.
“Yes, there is one weaver who is selling Kashmiri Carpets.”
The supervisor asked him, “What is the price this weaver sells a typical carpet?”
Mitesh hadn’t checked on this. So he went back to the weaver to check on the pricing and returned to inform the supervisor,
” The Average selling price is Rupees 25000.”
The supervisor told Mitesh,- “Great. Now let’s give the same task to Vikas and see what he does.”
In the presence of Mitesh, the supervisor asked Vikas the same question.
” Can you please go and find out if anyone is selling Kashmiri Carpets in town.”
Vikas left the office and returned in a couple of hours to update the supervisor.
” There is one seller in the whole town selling Kashmiri Carpets.
- He sells two types of Carpets- 400 KPSI(knots per square inch) and 800 KPSI and in two sizes. 6 feet by 4 feet and 10 feet by 6 feet.
- The 400 KPSI carpets’ price range is Rupees 12000 to 15000 while the 800 KPSI carpets are in the ballpark of Rupees 35000 to 50000.
- He has a stock of 32 carpets, and he has a team of 12 weavers in his factory who can weave one carpet every month.
- If we place an upfront order for a minimum of 10 carpets, he will sell those at a discount of 20%.
- If we are willing to enter into a three-year contract with a minimum commitment to buy 20 carpets per annum, he is ready to strike a deal with us at a discount of 40% on the retail price.
- I feel there is a good demand for these high-quality Kashmiri Carpets. We should enter into a three-year contract with this seller.
I have a full report ready in a spreadsheet format and I can send it to you for your review. If you need us to enter into a partnership with this person, I also have a draft agreement ready”
Mitesh, who was sitting with the supervisor when Vikas came and shared the report, was dumbfounded and impressed by his friend’s smartness and attention to detail. He understood what the difference was between him and his friend. He decided not to resign and instead learn from his friend Vikas.
Our Instructor at the Induction program shared this story to impart a valuable message.
It’s not what we do that matters. It’s how we do any task that matters and makes all the difference.
Do we just do what is in our Job Description, or do we put in the discretionary effort and go the extra mile to create value and make an impact in everything we do.
Working Hard is not enough. In order to create value, we also need to be intelligent about how we do any task.
So, the next time you grudge someone getting a break ahead of you, instead of being bitter and unhappy, ask yourself what is it that the person is doing that I can learn from and improve?”
Hard work without smartness will create sweat, not value .