The Value Quotient

Take a deep breath.

An advantage of being an elder presence in the workforce (and I assure you there are many) is that I carry with me a long canon of previous experience and can get past many things if not all with some set of ease if not a sense of déjà vu. Haven’t we seen this before?

Not long ago a colleague sent me an email which had no actual purpose. You know the kind: wrong on facts, wrong on timing and wrong on tone. In fact the issue my peer was complaining about had long been resolved so other than being completely useless it was a handy note I guess.

Do you suffer fools gladly?

In previous days when my hair was both darker and fuller I would not have hesitated to point out the omissions, commissions and indispositions this useless grasp of digital space afforded, but hey, you can’t fix everything. The question becomes is it really worth it: will it add value?

Remember as well when we start to criticize, politicize and minimize our peers’ input (no matter how well-deserved) we ought first to take a look in the mirror and ask, lo, thee in the mirror – have you not ever made a mistake?

I know I have.

Here’s the thing. We live in a connected world. We generate a lot of noise. Some of the noise can be helpful and even useful. I think the art of the game in commerce and life is to try and increase your helpful ratio, or, value quotient.

Let’s say for the moment half of everything you produce in the workplace – emails, reports, power points (are you still doing that?), chats, and even live-action actual talk – is actually useful or beneficial in some way. Now I think 50% is a pretty high number but I’ve mentally already deducted all the idle chatter, socializing and background b.s. many of us employ day to day. So let’s assume half of what you offer has value now.

Rather than worry about the odd input a coworker may share with you, concentrate on increasing your own value quotient. Its not hard to do by the way. ‘Say less and mean more’ is a good start.

Will coworkers offer things that don’t make sense from time to time? Will they miss the mark or in the end just be bloody wrong? Yes, welcome to the world of work where the barrier to entry is lower than you think. The question is do you want to spend your working life correcting others one by one and in doing so possibly poisoning lots of relationships, or do you want to focus on increasing your own value.

I’d go with with the latter.

Please do keep in mind – the less value you offer over the longer period of time the sooner we will see that we need less of you.

Add value.


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