You are part of a team that exceeded their targets. You’re proud of your contribution and your ability to work with well with others. You know without a shred of doubt that you carried a significant share of the workload. For many employees, it is enough to know that you contributed to the collective outcome and helped everyone get a performance bonus.
One director outlined how her team increased their revenues by 22%. When asked what that is in dollars, she said, “I don’t know, give me a calculator.” Her face registered surprise when she realized it was $4.5 million dollars.
Have you ever examined your actions to see what specifically and how specifically your contribution moved things along? Daily we hear stories where a customer company closes the door to a long term supplier. If you had a relationship that enabled your firm to get back into a quoting position and your team won the business, what’s the value to the overall results? You’re pleased you helped regain the business, but can you quantify the value of the connection you caused to happen?
What if your realization that a casual connection you had to a key influencer, was an opportunity? You brought this to your leader’s attention, and a small group strategized about next steps. As a result of your relationship reopening the door, your firm regained the business. It can seem like a small step yet it had a huge impact.
If that door hadn’t opened, what would have been the consequences to your team?
How do you determine your contribution? The best way is to look at the journey this deal travelled and identify the key intersections where the project advanced. Think of planning meetings where the desired next steps were discussed. Did your efforts in any way contribute to those being achieved?
So often the credit goes to the person who negotiated the deal yet there are many steps required before your firm’s negotiator gets to sit across from the buyers.
In lean organizations, there are opportunities for a crucial action to turn the tide. It is common to focus on the ‘we’; however, you need to dive deeper into the details to determine your contribution and consider the ‘I.’ It can be simple or profound, what matters most is that it keeps the business moving.
When you are aware of senior management mindsets and what concerns them most, you can offer perspectives, connections or actions that bring value. When you can identify the steps and crucial intersections in the journey, your input at meetings will be respected and influence outcomes.
Is it egotistical to quantify your contribution? Not at all, however you may need to get used to the idea of defining where the credit belongs. You have probably worked in an organization where others took credit for your efforts, or people missed the ‘real intersection’ that turned things around.
It is great to get appreciation and recognition from your co-workers. However, this demanding pace is here to stay. Wouldn’t it be more valuable to identify what is personally helping you to make a difference?
Quantifying your contribution will affect the way you present your ideas, position your thoughts, ask questions and influence others thinking. When you know why you are competent, it is evident in how you position what you say. Positioning is much more effective than bragging.
Confidence comes with competence, and competence builds from contribution. Why not put a value to your contribution efforts? Here’s a process to get you thinking about your contribution. Examine results that stand out for you and reflect on the journey that was taken to get there:
- What specifically did you do?
- How specifically did you contribute?
- What was the value, tangible or intangible, that kept the business moving?
- Were your efforts noticed or ignored?
- Did others comment openly in meetings or behind the scenes?
- Did anyone ever share privately, that you should have received credit?
- What can you learn from this situation?
- What will you do differently next time?
Would quantifying your contribution enhance your reputation in any way?