Bringing something to the party…

I’ve had an exceptionally indulgent weekend, after a full on, packed to the rafters kind of week in Barcelona.  (It was ALL work btw before you even think about rolling your eyes.) So for 48 blissful hours I’ve not done much apart from sleep, nap and churn out some ZZZZs. You get the idea?

As I left Barcelona last week I was told, “Well done girl – good job jobbed.” And it made me think about the actual role that I had played last week.  Had I applied value?

In my mind value is delivered as something physical – an act of doing – not by simply being. You need to actually deliver something tangible – anything – to be of value. This makes sense to me – I’m results orientated and with me it’s always, always, always about the end deliverable.

As a team we’d worked well together in Barcelona. We met new faces. And some old ones as well. We’d built relationships. We all talked a fair bit. Listened a lot. Shared opinions. And heard out alternative perspectives. All good. But again I came back to the question – where had I applied value?

On Sunday evening I flicked the goggle box on and came across a documentary style thing with Peter Jones in it (minor point of note – I met him a few years back and he’s really very tall) and decided it might be worth a punt.

The program was about Richard Reed (one of the three dudes behind the Innocent brand) and Michelle Mone (the founder of Ultimo underwear). Both are well known *entrepreneurs* – sorry it’s a word I dislike – and Jones wanted to know about their childhoods, examine their personalities, study their business models, and quite tellingly ask the people closest to them what they are like to work for.

What struck me several times was the marked difference between Reed and Mone. Reed is from a working class background; however his parents worked hard and were able to put him through Cambridge. You watch him being interviewed for five minutes and you can’t help but get caught up in his enthusiasm. He clearly understands the value of what he personally brings to the Innocent brand – what the employee culture should be, how a customer interaction with the brand should feel and what *good* looks like.

Mone also has a crystal clear vision of where she wants her business to be, what she needs to do to ensure that her goals are achieved and what the Ultimo brand is etc. When interviewed on camera you very quickly see how focussed she actually is. The business is her life.

However – here’s what threw me – when asked directly about what she thought the value that she personally bought to the business was, she faltered. She misted up. She couldn’t answer the question. Her self-doubt – that by her own admission she keeps on a tight rein – came bubbling to the surface. It goes without saying that she is clearly as driven as Reed – if not more so – but she still questions herself and her value every day. Yet it is blatantly clear to the outside world what value she adds.

What I learnt from last week in Barcelona is that my presence added value. That is clear to me now. The revelation has been that sometimes it’s not about the product, but it’s actually about the presence.

So maybe when thinking about value what we should strive to understand is perhaps how we are valuable rather than how valuable we are?

One thought on “Bringing something to the party…

  1. Pingback: HR Careers and Recruitment Blog Summary

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