I have identified the secret to overcoming jet lag. Or in truth this may actually be the secret to an inability to get to sleep brought on by any cause. It does not involve alcohol or pharmacology. Lie in bed and try to define (in your mind) the difference between Value, Added Value and Value Added. I tried it a couple of times this last week and in each case I was fast asleep before I had finished Value.
Like most useful discoveries, I came across this one by accident. I was visiting a major partner in Europe and had been asked to describe our organisation and talk about what I was looking to achieve. Apparently I used the expression ‘added value’ 12-15 times in 20 minutes. And was asked what this meant? Meant to me? And how it differed from ‘value’. I gave an answer in the moment, but the question made me think…and helped me sleep!
When I got home I quickly discovered there are many great financial definition websites and that ‘Added Value’ has a precise definition in economics – the price that a product or service is sold at less the cost of producing that product. This was very clear, but I was not sure it helped me. At all.
But then I came across…‘Added Value is equivalent to the increase in value that a business creates by undertaking a (production) process.’ This helped. On my European trip I had talked about wanting me, and my team, to deliver ‘added value’, both to the partner company and to our own company.
We all have value and we all deliver value. (Value: a relative worth, fair return or relative importance). But for any team to be successful it has to be able to deliver added value. For us to be viewed as successful by a partner or by our company we have to deliver added value. The whole has to be worth more than the sum of the component parts.
A simple example for a team delivering added value is a restaurant serving a meal. The kitchen staff work together to prepare food that is served and sold for a price substantially higher than the cost of the ingredients. Added value has been delivered to the customers…and to the restaurant owners. And back onto my financial website…a business that is delivering substantial added value must – by definition – be operating profitably.
Although it is possible for any of us to deliver added value as individuals, most processes in a company involve groups of people working together. Identifying ways to deliver added value is a really important activity for teams and team members. In fact it could be argued that delivering added value to the team should be the number 1 goal of any team member. Simply put, this will be the difference between survival and failure; between profit and loss.
But we are all individually motivated by achievement; by desire to deliver and achieve. We have our own role, our own group or our own team. We want to succeed and we want our group to succeed. But in the world of added value, individual or individual group success is necessary but not enough. Individually and collectively we have to deliver added value to the team, and to processes and activities undertaken by the team.
But the beauty is that seeking and delivering added value is engaging. It is exciting. It is unknown. It involves investing in relationships and developing partnerships. It is based on friendship. And trust. It requires experience and ambition. Innocence and passion. Not everything will work but everything will be enjoyable.