Work sure has changed over the years. Technology has given us more access to information and faster ways to analyze, design, and develop that information. It has also blurred the lines between personal and work time. Our work environment has become much more casual too, from dress to business protocol.
One thing that has not changed much, however, is how we perceive work. Work is still viewed very generically. A minimum amount of time has to be put in during a defined time period. This is when the company owns its employees and expects a reasonable amount of effort be expended. Each person is given a specific number of days off, set of health benefits, and policies to follow. In the end, a person puts in a fair day’s work and gets a fair day’s pay. For the most part everyone is treated the same with the exception of a few perks based on longevity with the company.
Within a specific skill set there is believed to be little variability in work as there is little deviation in effort and hours. If the only thing that separates one person from another is the salary they are paid, then work is a commodity where:
There are two problems with this view. First, with commodities, margins must be tightly managed so costs (salary) are always under pressure to be lowered while maintaining existing production levels (work). Often this environment leads to an unintended downward spiral in production and quality. The second and more important problem is that work is seen as the product. But, customers don’t buy work they buy value. Shouldn’t our view of work be aligned with what we are trying to create for our customers?
However, if we focus on the value we are trying to create for our customers it forces us to understand the value chain within our organization and each person’s link in that chain. With this perception of work, value becomes the desired end for each person where:
Having employees focused on the value they generate makes them responsible for ensuring the benefit they produce hits the mark and is much greater than their cost (salary) expended. Plus it drives employees to focus their effort on activities that will apply greater value to the organization’s value chain, hence increasing the value to the customer.
This switch to a value driven organization does not come easy and changes will need to be made. Specifically, you should:
Many highly respected and successful organizations have begun the transition of becoming value driven. And, it is highly likely this transition can be accomplished without even interfering with your overall company policies. Go ahead and take jump in. It will be a rich and rewarding experience for you and your employees.