What is meant by “value”? Clearly, all of us have value as human beings. In terms of your employability, however, you could fall anywhere on a continuum from someone the world of work can’t live without to someone easily replaceable. Today, organizations are faced with rapidly changing environments, competitive pressures globally, ever-changing technological advances, and more. The pressure to be more innovative, productive, flexible, and sustainable has never been greater. You probably don’t need to be told this – you know it and you’ve been experiencing it in your work life.
What you may not have thought much about, though, is what this means to you in terms of how you want to strategically approach your career development in this new world of work. It is no longer a world where you “punch the clock” and “do your time” and it is no longer enough to simply have a job. To be continuously employable, you must provide genuine value to the organization in which you work.
Below is a list of the Six Invaluable Factors anyone can develop to make themselves truly irreplaceable. This is adapted from the book, Invaluable: The Secret to Becoming Irreplaceable, by Dave Crenshaw.
Invaluable Factor #1 – DEMAND
Demand represents how well your skill set matches the current needs and wants of the market. You have little direct control over demand, so the only way you can improve upon this factor is to increase your understanding of current and future market trends and work to align your actions with those trends. Consider: What is the current and future market demand for your personal skill set?
Invaluable Factor #2 – ABILITY
Ability represents how well you do what you do or how much value you actually provide. It is important to continuously deliver progress and results; it is not enough to just know what your position is supposed to be or how to do what is required of you. You must also seek to continually improve on that ability on a daily basis to become more and more invaluable. Consider: What are you doing daily to improve your ability to perform for the unit you work for and the organization as a whole?
Invaluable Factor #3 – IRREPLACEABILITY
This measures how difficult it is to replace you and is a function of two things: the available competion for your position, and how deeply you understand the unique needs of your current employer. To stay irreplaceable, you must commit to ongoing research and reevaluation. Consider: What is the biggest thing keeping your boss from firing you right now?
Invaluable Factor #4 – FOCUS
Focus requires you to avoid anything that gets in the way of you spending time in your most valuable activities. These are the activities that have the greatest impact on the bottom line, both for you personally and for the organization as a whole. The more you spread yourself out in many directions, the less valuable you become. As information and available options continue to explode, so does the temptation to engage in many less valuable activities. Consider: How well do you focus your actions on your most valuable activities?
Invaluable Factor #5 – CONNECTION
This assesses your ability to connect personally with others, both in terms of quantity and quality. The value that you bring is directly affected by your ability to work well with others and to share resources with others. Connection is an absolutely essential part of becoming invaluable. In order to increase connection, you must not only master the art of face-to-face interaction, but digital interaction, as well. Consider: How many people feel personally connected to you?
Invaluable Factor #6 – AUTHORITY
Authority evaluates how strongly the current market considers you to be the top expert in your field. An authority is someone others look to when they make decisions. An employee who is recognized both inside and outside of the organization as a leading expert dramatically improves his or her value. Consider: Do my peers, both inside and outside of my organization, consider me to be a leading expert in my field? Am I regularly consulted on matters at work?