Alan Weiss, of Summit Consulting, is a well-known speaker and consultant. When he talks to speakers (or consultants), he suggests people think about their fundamental value proposition. He says, “Ask yourself how people are better off when you leave?” You don't have to be a consultant to take advantage of Alan's tip. When you complete work in an organization, ask yourself, how are things better when you're done? And, if you're looking for a job, define this before you start interviewing.
Here's how you can define your fundamental value:
- Start with your most recent experience first.
- Write down one thing you did that left the project, the product, and/or the process better than it was before you joined the project. If you have more than one thing from that experience, write them down.
- Loop on all the experiences on your resume.
You should have at least a few bullet points or some summary statements on a piece of paper. Now, if it makes sense, categorize them. Maybe you categorize by skill (catalogs meetings) or by deliverable (initiated a workbook for new staff). If you're like me, you exhibit some patterns in your work. This should help you make your patterns more obvious.
The final step is to use that value in some statement. My current draft of my fundamental value statement is “I help people see their state and develop pragmatic solutions to their problems.” I don't know how long I'll keep that, but that's what it is for now.
If you're a hiring manager, make sure you know what your fundamental value is, so you can hire people who bring other value to the organization. If you're a candidate, define your fundamental value so people can easily see why they should hire you.