We’re all familiar with the concept of value creation. Not sure how many of us think about it primarily in the context of our careers or how we show up as Leaders. How do we determine whether we’re actually creating more than we consume?
Borrowing these quotes from Jeff Bezos final letter to shareholders, here. As Leaders and lifelong learners, it’s worth reflecting on some of the themes outlined here, starting with this title quote. Does differentiation often equate with survival? Are there instances where it’s advantageous, even profitable to be typical? Think about what makes you distinct. What’s your unique selling proposition to an organization? As Business Leaders, we often think about how we can distinguish ourselves on the job and help our teams excel at delivering value to our customers, stakeholders, partners.
As we reflect on these questions we start to realize the truths in these statements. The world does pull at us to conform to certain norms. As leaders we often seek some level of normalcy in our organizations and predictability in how our employees behave. It’s easier to lead or manage individuals who behave in a typical/normal fashion. Much harder to lead an organization which is constantly changing/evolving, or individuals who behave in a different or distinctive fashion. As I reflect on what makes leaders distinct, I’m reminded of certain key traits – Self Awareness, Effective Communication, Humility, Integrity, Respect for others, Learning Agility, Empathy & Influence. This is by no means an exhaustive list of great leadership attributes.
Probably the most important trait for these questions is self-awareness. The ability to identify our unique strengths or superpowers, shortcomings and blind spots, is key to distinguishing ourselves as leaders. However, maintaining that distinction “keeping alive the things which make you special” – requires conscious, purposeful effort, every day.
I think most leaders would agree that distinctiveness or originality is often valuable, in part because it’s rare. I often ask colleagues and clients to consistently “bring the best version of yourself” to the challenges and opportunities we face, everyday. This quote reminds me that doing so is challenging and can be uncomfortable. It requires conscious intent – much easier to slack off once in a while or allow mediocrity to slip in. I italicize the word embrace as it reminds me of something Blake Griffin heard from his College Coach “You have to fall in love with the Process of becoming Great”. (video clip below).
As leaders, we should value distinctiveness and originality in our teams & organizations. We must also acknowledge that maintaining that distinctiveness does take energy & intent, to establish and maintain.
I’ve been fortunate to spend time in academia, teaching a Marketing Strategy class. One of the concepts we focus on is the Marketing Process. It’s objective is to create value for customers and build customer relationships. In so doing, we capture value from customers in return. I’ll slightly modify the quote with another…. “Create more than you Capture”.
We’re all familiar with the concept of value creation. Not sure how many of us think about it primarily in the context of our own lives, our careers or how we show up as leaders. We all want to be acknowledged and well compensated for the value we create, everyday – salaries, stock options, bonuses, promotions, awards, gifts – so many ways to capture value. How do we as individuals determine whether we’re actually creating more than we consume? Every person’s situation is a little unique and there’s probably some level of subjectivity in how much unique value one person creates. For me, the important point here is the mindset with which we approach our goals, interactions, and engagements with others.
Closing this post, I'm reflecting again on its title. Clearly, differentiation can result in distinctiveness and originality, and that creates value. A key to establishing that distinct value is awareness. To maintain it, we must embrace and nurture our differentiation. Often that’s our key source of unique value creation over the course of our careers.
“First of all, make sure you’re clear about who you are and what you stand for and what excites you, what are your passions?” And really, really spend some time thinking about that, doing a personal inventory”
Do you have the future… YOU, in mind? What plans are you making today to help create the life experiences you want tomorrow? Not talking about physical assets now – I am focused on Life Experiences.
Capturing some key learnings from Gary Vee's interview with Patrick Mouratoglou. One of the Great Coaches of our time.
Check out David’s interviews with Reid Hoffman, CoFounder of LinkedIn, Ruth Porat, CFO of Google (Alphabet) and Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix.
What's the first thing we do as Leaders, when faced with setbacks or disappointments. Determine who or what is to blame? Someone, some individuals, some circumstance? That is the essence of the Blame Game.