26 March 2012

Random Thoughts on "Add Value"

Having been in the industry for quite sometime, i took a lot of time to understand the true meaning of "add value" and practical meaning of "add value". I never shy away from being bold and often share my candid opinion with a caveat that i could be wrong. When i share, i understand my limitations in my own thinking and offer to correct my thinking flaws when an argument is made with evidence. This post need not necessarily my experience at my workplace. This is just a "how the world can be" thinking. 

Many people who manage people use these tricky words - "add value". I think, the statement "add value" is so abstract. Can you make it concrete so that understanding becomes easier? When you go abstract, you become more philosophical. The abstraction has to be an outcome of one's own thinking. It is outcome of your thinking when you play with few concrete things and you understand them. It can and should never be taught. When we say "add value", what do we mean by that? Have we clearly said what is basic expectation and what is value addition. Being in an industry where there is large human churn (due to attrition), being sticking to a company for few years is basic expectation and  serving the company for long years is adding value. can the mere presence be considered as "adding value"?

How will you convince a worker who is so passionate, who maintains a very low profile who thinks that he is doing something what is expected out of her. Here, "adding value" is built in. You cannot differentiate such worker and value. How can you define "add valuing" to such a person? Will you exploit him when she says "she is normal guy".

Why is that adding value never be practiced? When you have so many people under you, it is much easier to make noise, can you step up your contributions through critical thinking? Are you dare enough to say, "come on guys, fire my thought process, let us learn something new, thinking fresh is more important than value itself". You know, being an example takes a lot of pain and we have to endure a lot of pain. The commitment to remain painful is a way to "add value" to your folks. For example, you have endure the pain of no results for many months before seeing something. Are you prepared for it? When your team is in incubation, will you rally around it?

Unless we have such a commitment towards shaking up status quo, we can never be "adding value".

With my little experience, i infer that only rebel can add value in words and spirit and i also believe that the value driven out of such a person will never be visible. Because such a value will lead to paradigm shift.


Sandy said...

Wonderful post!! Kudos!!

Made me to stop, think and reflect for a looonnnggg time...

Lucky are the guys who are working under you. Mostly, only when a person loses something, he realizes the value of it. I just hope the guys under you realize the value.

And btw, a few corrections - gender usage is bit wrong - "he" is used with "her" :-)

P.S: While posting a comment, I always laugh because I've to enter the words in captcha and it says "prove that you're NOT a robot" :-)

Lakshmi Narayanan N said...


i think, it is time to reflect sitting together and share the gyan @ saravana bhavan. What say?