Your Boss Doesn’t Know How Valuable You Really Are
When it comes to your equity at work, the point is to boost your own value to your employer by revealing what’s not known about what you can do. Remind your boss how valuable you really are—and remind yourself, too.
The best advice about how to be more successful at work always seems to come from somewhere other than the career space. So today we’re getting some pointed career advice from Mark Levy, a positioning consultant who helps his clients “come up with their big, sexy idea—their signature idea, the idea they’re going to be known for throughout their marketplace.”
Let’s translate Mark Levy’s positioning advice to boost your career.
In a recent edition of his newsletter, Levy discussed the hidden value he found in products he already pays for. Though he has an iPhone and is an Amazon Prime member, Levy says he forgot about Siri, Apple’s voice-activated personal assistant, and didn’t know his Prime account gave him access to loads of streaming movies. In “How To Increase Your Work’s Value, Without Much Effort,” Levy credits Apple and Amazon for marketing by reminders—and now he’s ordering lunch via Siri and watching movies at no extra cost.
Maybe it’s time you started reminding your company about all the hidden features that came with hiring you—without much effort and at no additional cost to your employer.
“Your [employer] may adore your work,” writes Levy, “but they’re likely not wringing as much value from it as they could because they’ve forgotten (or never knew) all it can do for them.” (Man, does that translate nicely from product marketing to boosting your value to your boss?)
Here are three ways Levy suggests doing this:
- What would you be reminding [your employer] about?
- What kinds of additional value might they gain?
- How might you do your reminding?
You might be a CMO or a marketing manager or a social media coordinator. But you know you’re much more. Does your boss? That means your boss is probably leaving value on the table every day. While the tasks you’re given are obviously in marketing, how much more value could you contribute?
Surprise Your Boss
What surprises can you bring to your boss that would make a material difference to how your company does marketing?
- For example, did you work in IT before you transitioned into marketing? Or perhaps in sales or finance?
- Did you once work for companies that are now your competitors, customers, or consultants?
Sell Your Experience
If you brainstormed for half an hour, what value could you extract from a previous job or experience that your boss doesn’t know about or has forgotten?
- Be creative. If you came out of IT, how could your latent technical talents be used to help marketing interface with the company’s IT department more effectively or to plan data analytics projects more efficiently?
- If you came out of finance, how could you apply your financial modeling skills to help push ROI on digital marketing programs?
- Think about your previous employers. I’ll guess you developed connections and insights that could be valuable in your job now. What are these?
I can almost guarantee that you’re forgetting your value if you’re not investing time in working this out. Too often, we get stuck on our job descriptions and on what’s expected of us—and we miss chances to be truly innovative. We forget the enormous and sophisticated array of skills, knowledge, and insight we possess—because it doesn’t conventionally fit into our defined roles or into how our bosses view us.
Your challenge is not to do your job. It’s to be a bigger contributor to marketing. Think!
Remind Your Company Of Your Value
How can you remind or inform your company about your forgotten value?
- First, of course, sit down and review who you are, where you came from, and what added value might be squeezed from that—but be free-form about it. Get your best ideas out. It’s no surprise that Levy wrote a book about how to do this: “Accidental Genius.”
- Run your ideas past a trusted peer or two. Toss the worst; keep the best.
- Go talk to your boss. Outline three objectives you were given last year. Show three ways you met them, and explain how you used skills he didn’t know you have. Then propose three new objectives—above and beyond any you’ve already been given—for next year, and suggest how several of your forgotten or unknown assets can be used to achieve them. (We’ve already discussed this in “Seize The Performance Review.”)
“Remember,” writes Levy about people who pay for our value, “you’re not trying to upsell them. You’re trying to help them derive greater benefit from what they already own. They’ll love you for that.”
When it comes to your equity at work, the point is not just to add value to your job. It’s to boost your own value to your employer by revealing what’s not known or forgotten about who you are and what you can already do. Remind your boss how valuable you really are—and remind yourself, too.
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