by Ben Baker
It is staggering how many times I have asked CEOs, founders, leaders, and employees at all levels, “what makes YOU valuable, to whom and why?” and either get a stammering nonsensical type answer or a blank stare. As organizations, and those who work within them, having everyone answer these questions quickly and succinctly is critical to your survival.
This is your purpose.
Why you are in business and why people should care about you both inside and outside your organization.
Without understanding this, as I have mentioned time and time again, all you will ever be is another commodity within your industry, easily replaced and easily forgotten.
But who wants that?
Which of us are ready to fade into oblivion? To become a footnote, at best, and fade into obscurity.
What if, instead, we took the time not only to be able to answer what makes us valuable, to whom, and why, but we instilled this into the hearts and minds of every employee, every vendor, and every customer?
What if everyone within your ecosystem understood your purpose, believed in, and believed that it was relevant and valuable to them?
How would that change your organization?
Inside your organization, people would quickly and effectively understand what matters, what does not, what should be focused upon, and what should be ignored. What should be invested in – both in time and money and what should be nice to have, that becomes part of long term goals.
Vendors would understand how they can help you better and enable you to succeed. They would offer you products and programs that enable you to help those you serve and cement their relationships with you based upon creating mutual success.
Clients will understand and believe that you are working in their best interest; that you have developed policies, processes, products, and services with them in mind that are designed to enable them to reach and exceed their goals. This, in turn, creates the opportunity for you to become the vendor of choice and not just another price for them to consider when they make their next purchase.
The problem is, none of this comes without effort.
As organizations, we first need to give up on the belief that we can help everyone and solve all problems. Those who hold onto those beliefs never specialize and, therefore, never become niche players who can efficiently and effectively differentiate themselves.
Secondly, it comes down to culture and training. If your people do not understand and believe what you do and why you do it, they can never explain it effectively to those you wish to serve.
This comes from the top down. Leaders must live the culture of the organization. They must not only speak about the purpose of the organization but live it.
Their decisions, actions, and directives must always be in line with the purpose and people within the organization and must believe that leadership lives the purpose.
Perception is reality.
If those who look to the leader for inspiration do not believe the leader is living the purpose, daily, nor will they.
Next, it is about developing the brand’s story, which encompasses purpose, culture, mission, vision, values, history, and direction to perpetuate the ideology. To give people something that they can listen to, understand, and value. A story that they can internalize, recall and retell in their own words. One that has meaning to them and gives them a north star to be guided by.
Lastly, we need leaders to empower their people.
If we empower our people to make decisions and stand by them even if things do not go as planned, our people will be more inclined to do what is in the organization’s best interest and the customers they serve.
These are the ways that we become valuable.
It is not necessarily intellectual property, technology, or innovative product, but rather how people feel when they engage with you.
- Are you relevant to your audience?
- Do they care about you?
- Do they keep purchasing from you?
- Do they recommend you to others?
- Do they stick by you when you make a mistake?
If you can say yes to this, you are perceived as valuable.
But if all you are is a product or service, at a price that competes with others that have products and services of similar price and produce similar outcomes, then you will be forced into a price war.
None of us want that!
Ben Baker wants to help you engage, retain, and grow your most valuable asset … your employees. He provides workshops and consulting to enable staff to understand, codify, and communicate their value effectively internally and externally and Retain Employees Through Leadership. The author of Powerful Personal Brands: A Hands-On Guide to Understanding Yours and the host of the IHEART Radio syndicated YourLIVINGBrand.live show, he writes extensively on leadership, brand, and internal communication strategy.