Are You Creating Value For Others?

Last summer I attended an interesting leadership workshop which in the end led us to creating the top 3 things we’d like to ‘work-on’ to improve ourselves. It didn’t necessarily have to be just work. My top initiatives were all related to interpersonal skills including:

  • appreciating people
  • creating value for others
  • spending time with people (not via tech toys)

In the past six months I have tried doing all these. However, a lot of these ideas are hard to measure and keep track of. I fail myself often. But I like to try.

Creating value is the most abstract one and to my mind often misunderstood. Because I really wasn’t thinking about business or work. But about reality and relationships (including the ones I have with my parents who are supposed to be more unconditional than anyone else). It’s been important because anything to do with people is work. And relationships require effort. I get to choose who I must prioritize but if I do, I like to follow up. And many are draining. Like shedding snake skin I like to subtract to make life more manageable (it’s appalling how harsh that can sound, but it’s true).

While Facebook is not a benchmark of friendships (and I believe that still), taking people off can also mean something. I didn’t have the courage to say this to a girl who asked me this once. It means, my life is so full I can no longer just keep people for the sake of keeping people. I minimize. People that I minimize often create no value in my life. Most people only listen at a 25% efficiency. So if I am not a compassionate listener, I am indeed getting scraped off someone’s list too. And that’s only fair. In any case following the Dunbar’s number we can’t seem to handle more than 100-230 people.

As a part of the leadership exercise I used a tool to learn how to create value. I like to think of relationships more intuitively, however I do admit sometimes tools lend perspective. It’s from Bracey/ Sanford’s ‘managing from the heart’ and ‘creative value’ from Havens/Paul. Basically, in a nutshell about creating more empathy. I liked this framework a lot. Even if it’s cheesy.

Sorry for the cheesy fonts but you get the picture!

And if you reached this far, I’d love to describe why I chose to write about this today. We were in a ‘stress’ situation in a workshop recently. A friend of mine whose belief system is far more fact driven than mine (I am driven by intuition a lot more) decided to challenge my theory in a way that made me feel slightly uncomfortable about working with her (I love keeping friends and work separate in many cases). Later, she refused to show up to a meeting saying directly (and she could) that she doesn’t think it’s priority. I like her for her directness and also the no nonsense approach. But in my heart, I hoped she knew this was exactly what was bumping her off many mental lists. Of course it makes no difference to people who really like her for what she is, but I like the idea of having that awareness. At least got me thinking about why I was so discomforted. I’m no longer 25 to not be put off by the coolness of apathy. Not what I usually like to aim for.