“In the past, jobs were about muscles, now they’re about brains, but in the future, they’ll be about the heart.”
~ Nemat Shafik, Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science
The quote above was lifted from my new favorite book, Brené Brown’s Dare To Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. It’s a great way to think about how we’re going to have to work in the future.
This year though, I want to encourage you to “level up;” to think about what you can do better to improve your work and enhance your value.
Asset or Commodity?
Adding value to a workplace, a project, a product, is what keeps us in demand and indispensable. Basically, we need to shift from a commodity to an asset framework.
Commodities are people with specific skill sets used for a specific purpose. While commodities can be highly skilled subject matter experts, their work can be easily automated and outsourced. Commodities are easily replaced and upgraded by other cheaper and faster commodities.
Assets, on the other hand, continually add value to an organization, a team, a product or a service. Assets are creative, designing new products, services, processes that improve the bottom line or enhance efficiency. Assets interact and empathize with clients and customers to help define their needs and design solutions that fit.
Commodities are average; assets are extra.
Work at the Edge of the Box
If we want to be recognized as a valuable contributor, we need to rise above the perception of average. As NYT columnist Thomas Friedman noted, “the age of average is over. We’re in the age of ‘extra,’ and everyone has to figure out what extra they can add to their work.”
In addition, we need to be leaders and connectors who make a difference, the folks Seth Godin calls linchpins. Linchpins are people who make a difference; who can walk into chaos and create order; someone who can make things happen.
To be indispensable, to have the most impact, we have to operate at the edges. We can’t be out-of-the-box people. Nothing happens outside the box. Outside the box is a vacuum; there’s no reality. We need to think and act on the edges of the box. That’s where things get done; that’s where you make an impact.
Linchpins bring their humanity to work and are brave enough to make a difference. They see what’s right and what’s wrong. They see opportunities and can “see around corners.” Your job is not your work. Your work is what you do with your heart and soul.
So are you ready to level up in your career?
How can you add value to your work? How can you bring your heart to your work?
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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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