Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Do You Contribute More Than You Cost?

GOOD BOOK ALERT:  Price Pritchett's "New Work Habits for a Radically Changing World."

Actually, we should title this post, "Timeless Work Habits," because the 2nd edition print (which I read), came out in 1999!  12 years, however, matters not.  Pritchett's advice is just as applicable today as he encourages employees to stop "putting in time," and start "adding value."

In a nutshell:  make sure you contribute more than you cost.

Employees often mislead themselves, assuming they should get to keep their jobs if they're responsible and do good work. Some of them even have the idea that sticking around for a long time makes them worth more to the organization. Sure, experience may count for something. But maybe not.

The "loyalty" issue is sticky. People who have shown true devotion over the years should get points for that. No question, that's a real virtue. However, we must realize that we can use history to justify our continued employment for only so long. We still need to add value "now." And we should not confuse longevity with loyalty. The mere fact that a person has been on the payroll for years says nothing. You don't get points for just "putting in your time."

It's your "contribution" that counts. Not the hours (or years) you put in. Or how busy you are.

You'll be better off if you think in terms of being paid for performance - for the value you add - rather than for your tenure, good intentions, or activity level.

Prove your worth to the organization. Make a difference. Add enough value so everyone can see that something very important would be missing if you left.

And I would add (these are my words), be ready to articulate that value to a recruiter. It could mean the difference between an "offer letter," (good thing) and a "Thanks, but no thanks, phone call," (bad thing).

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