Your Real Value
January 21, 2022
I learned of this equation when I was pretty early in my career. I had the good fortune of being promoted to a prominent role ahead of a couple of equally deserving colleagues.
The other colleagues were just as competent as I was and perhaps more experienced. But I was chosen ahead of them.
After I got the coveted bigger role, I went back to my boss to understand why I got the nod ahead of my colleagues. He shared his perspective with me through the equation above.
From my boss’s perspective, the three of us were equally valuable in contribution but not in terms of real value.
My contribution, my results required very little intervention and support from my boss. He felt I was independent and efficient in dealing with my challenges and constraints without him having to spend a lot of his productive time supporting me. As a result, I delivered my results with very little friction.
With my other colleagues, the friction in dealing with their interpersonal issues, escalations, problem-solving was substantially higher. Therefore, even though their results were commendable, because of friction, on a net basis, my real value was considered superior.
When we think of our contribution or value to an organization, we often think about the skills we show and the results we bring to the table. But, in so doing, we miss a crucial element of our role- reducing the friction necessary to do our job.
Anything that involves others getting involved in getting you to do your job is friction. So if you are wondering how valuable you are to your organization, it will be helpful for you to remember this equation.
Your real value is in your contribution, less friction.