Whether I am at work or working on a personal project, the underlying question I ask myself is “How do I add value?” Although there are many different ways of expressing the spirit of that statement, it is the underlying principle that matters. It doesn’t matter what type of work you are doing or who you are working for, you should always ask yourself how you would add value to that project, client, initiative, mission, etc. By operating under that mindset, you will automatically improve the quality of your work in multiple ways.
I learned the importance of adding value when I first started working with clients. One of the more senior people at a former employer always emphasized the need to add value. That message really stuck with me throughout the years.
Take Responsibility and Ownership
First, by constantly looking for ways to add value, you will automatically take responsibility and ownership for your work. If you care about adding value to the client or your work, you’ll automatically look after the overall success of your work. If something goes wrong on a part of it, you’ll look for ways to fix it since that is adding value. If something is executed poorly and upsets a client or manager, you will be there to fix it since that is also adding value.
Move in a Positive Direction
By looking for ways to add value, you are also moving in a positive direction. You will consistently be looking for ways to improve your work, and ultimately, add value to your clients, stakeholders, managers, etc. Your work will no longer stay stagnant, and instead, move towards completion.
Satisfy Anticipated and Unanticipated Needs
By looking for ways to add value, you are automatically looking to fulfill any anticipated or unanticipated needs that may come up. You may be currently providing your service A to your client, however, since you noticed that he has trouble within a certain area, you may offer him service B in addition to service A to address those issues. By finding the right additional services or products, you are not only adding value to your client, you are also expanding the business relationship.
Or, if you are pulling together materials and notice something strange or interesting, you add value by diving deeper since your manager or client will most certainly ask about it. Just having the mindset of value adding will get you in the habit of fulfilling future needs, which will allow you to go above and beyond when it comes to customer or client service.
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