“Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at the moment” Robert Benchley, 1889 – 1945. American humorist, drama critic, and actor.
Ever asked yourself “Why am I needed?”
An elementary question, yet so many have difficulty, succinctly answering the question. Yes. One can give many reasons why we are needed, but what is the primary purpose of you being employed or being in business? Let me give you two examples of people having difficulty in clearly defining why they are needed; their primary function; their raison d’etre.
I was presenting some financial concepts to a group of executives at the Mt Eliza Business School. During the program I asked a Managing Director “Why are you needed?” His reply was quite convoluted, from the well-being of employees to ensuring that the company complied with legislation and company law to providing information to shareholders to building a competent management team. Now all this is, of course, important. However, brevity is often the best form of communication and if you can’t sum up your purpose in one sentence then others have difficulty in understanding why you are needed. He eventually decided that his purpose was to ensure an adequate return to the shareholders and other stakeholders through delivery of products and services to customers In Full On Time – IFOT.
Another instance has been when training sales people in assertive and consultative selling. In answer to “Why are you needed” the responses range from to communicate, through to visit customers, promote the product, see if there are any problems and please management. Eventually, someone will say “to sell”. Again, one is not decrying the activities associated with selling. However, I would suggest that the primary purpose of a sales person is not “to sell” but “to sell profitably” which now brings in the awareness of time effectiveness, with whom to spend time and the ability to say “No” if the deal or time spent will not give an adequate return.
The reason we continually ask “Why are you needed?” of others and self is to focus on the primary function. For without focus, it is difficult to achieve our goals and measure our effectiveness.
So “Why are you needed?” And if you can’t measure your answer (please don’t say “add value” or “to help”) then are you and those around you really needed? Hint. Think in terms of outcomes/end results, not processes.
If you have any comments or questions please feel free to contact me.
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