“Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.” ~ Lewis Carroll
This quarter (April, May, June), I’ve assigned themes to each month. The themes have helped me focus my work and my writing. The themes for April and May were disruption and what’s next? For June, the theme is clarity.
Clarity is a critical element of knowing the value you bring to an organization. It’s a key component of your Leadership Narrative. It’s about knowing and articulating your unique talent, or as Laura Garnett calls it, your “inner genius,” that which you do better than anyone else.
Clarity is about determining what you’re good at; what you like to do; what you don’t like doing. Related to this, is how you do what you’re good at. How do you approach the issues and challenges you face?
Determine Your Inner Genius
It can be hard to assess your inner genius, simply because what you do well, you do intuitively. You don’t think about what it is you do best and how you do it. You see a problem, jump in, and solve it. However, it’s really important to be able to articulate how you add value to a project, a team, an organization. You can’t assume your boss, a prospective employer, or a client, will figure it out on their own.
There are tools you can use to determine your value. One is the CliftonStrengths assessment (formally StrengthsFinder), which provides your top five strengths. Another is Odyssey Planning, where you sketch out different three scenarios for your life for the next five years. Finally, listing out your top accomplishments and formatting them into stories referred to as SARs (Situation, Actions, Results). These tools can provide clarity on your unique talent and the value you add to an organization.
Clarity = Competitive Advantage
Being clear about what you do best and how you do it, gives you a competitive advantage in the world of work. You can position yourself as an asset to an organization — someone who adds value — as opposed to a commodity, that relies only on hard skills.
If you rely solely on your hard skills you blend in with the crowd. It may feel safe in the crowd, but you don’t get noticed. Value stands out; it’s what makes you unique; it becomes a strong part of your Leadership Narrative. Skills are necessary, but not sufficient, they don’t trump value.
Value relates to accomplishments rather than tenure and responsibilities. It appeals to the people who care, the people who make the decisions to hire or retain you. Skills may get you in the door, but it’s your value that will get you noticed, hired and promoted.
Clarity = Intention
Being clear about the value you bring helps define the role you seek in your work and in your life. Writing down your value strengthens your intention and provides greater clarity.
Can you respond to these questions?
- What are my passions, what gets me going to face the day? (These can be personal, professional, or both. What is it you like to do more than anything else?)
- What are my top 5 strengths? What is it that I’m really good at? (Don’t include attributes like “loyal,” “punctual,” “quick learner.” Include value-added strengths.)
- What am I most proud of in my career?
- In a sentence or two, what is it that I do well?
Write out your answers. Let me know what you come up with. You can reach me by email at email@example.com. I’d love to hear what you came up with.
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If you’re struggling with how to achieve your career goals let’s chat about how I can help. You can use this link to my calendar to schedule the best time to talk.
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