Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Importance of How We Show Up!

In our last post we talked about the importance of showing up and how such is 90% of life. This post I want to carry that logic forward with the idea that while showing up is important, how we show up is critical to the success of showing up itself.

Sometimes we are discouraged by the results we get when we show up not considering that how we showed up damaged our result, or kept us from benefiting from the result we got. (Is that proper grammar?)

I know that I struggle with this and as I have paid more attention to how I show up, I find I consistently have to commit to these "hows":

1. patiently persistent knowing that things take time, especially with people, and that any showing up is just the latest in a series, not the last, and so I chip away at barriers and put another arch in the bridge with every showing up

2. ready to add unique value from my "value toolbox", not battling to add value that someone else already is, but to be non-redundant in what I offer thus saving myself the angst of defensiveness and turf battles

3. enthusiastic (spirited & engaged), knowing that in that state of being, I dance with God, my allies, my competitors and the emerging situation to pull off the best possible performance

4. mindful of my own biases and tendencies, productive and not, regarding people and situations, so that I can apply the best, and discipline the worst, thus maximizing my contribution to progress

I am sure I can name more but I have places and people I have to show up for here shortly. :-)

Be well and by all means, add to this list by commenting at www.wiseworking.com.

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Importance of Showing Up!

Woody Allen, the famous movie director, is most often attributed with the quote, "90% of life is showing up", and of course we know that the other 10% is followup. I have been thinking lately about those areas of my life where I am not showing up, and I am not even talking about how I show up. That is a topic for another post.

So often we take ourselves out of the game before we even start playing. We allow the risk of failure, or being embarrassed, or laziness, perfectionism, etc., to get in the way of our showing up when typically the worst thing that will happen is that we will learning something valuable.

Showing up takes many forms. It does not even always take alot of time and energy but it does take courage.

Its initiating that conversation about an opportunity you are only dreaming about but which you want to come to fruition.

Its making time to do research and then sharing your findings, verbally and in writing, to benefit others interested in the same type of opportunities.

Its volunteering your present expertise in a different project context in order to gain first hand experience with a potential opportunity.

Its offering your inquiries & insights in a social community, analog and digital, focused on the type of opportunities you are interested in.

Its rethinking and reengaging with that relationship or project that you failed with the last time you showed up.

In the interest of balance, we need to consider that being finite humans, we cannot show up for everything and everybody, thus it is important to be wise and selective about where we show up. Show up for those people and engagements that truly align to your deepest, critical values and priorities.

Take time today to consider where you have not shown up but need to for this is truly 90% of life. In some future post, we will ponder the topic of how we ought to show up.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The Price is Not Too High, the Value is Too Low

In a world of "Everyday Low Prices" when the goal is to assure that every transaction is a bargain, like with anything, we can take this to an extreme where we transact for bargains that ultimately deliver shallow and inadequate value. In our work, we are all required to convince someone to purchase something of value from us (time, knowledge, contacts, outcome) at some price (salary/wages, fees, attention, membership). These are the elements of transaction. As you know, much haggling occurs in the transactional process as we weigh and negotiate to assure the lowest price for the highest corresponding value. We err when we allow these negotiations to focus too much on price (the more tangible and quantifiable element) rather than value.

The utterance, "that price is too high" is frequent but the fact is that people pay whatever price is asked for what they value and sometimes they will pay extra and brag that they did so; just look at military, legal services and luxury goods transactions. This "price too high" utterance is sweet in the mouth but bitter in the ear. When encountered, our opportunity is to detect and devise value propositions that warrant the price. Note that often the price does not have to change as much as the perception of the value being offered for that price. Unfortunately, we do not instinctively go for the "value build" because of its greater difficulty versus price lowering. We miss the point that the difficult has the advantage of not being easily imitated and by getting good at value building, we gain a significant competitive advantage in all we do.

When faced with the response, "the price is too high", whether we are talking about money, time or the risk of being trusted to get a job done, it behooves us to think first about what value justified the price, and if we have articulated this value thoroughly and compellingly enough. Such thinking better connects us with the valuable outcomes of our work taking us beyond a task to a valuable outcomes orientation. This is critical in an age where employers are more readily hiring for outcomes than for the completion of tasks. When developing your "value build" story, think not only in terms of what value is gained if your price is paid but also what is lost if the price is not paid. When articulating value, also remember there is more to it than money made or saved. There is time saved, service levels guaranteed, knowledge and experience levels leveraged, relationships gained, repaired and sustained, processes made more efficient, downtime reduced, projects well managed, etc.. Build value on as many dimensions as possible in order to warrant as high a price as possible.

So, let's begin to practice this different approach of looking for the "value build" when asking for others' investment in our work.

Thanks in advance for comments and further insights on this topic.