One of my daughters called me recently to share her excitement for a new opportunity she was getting with her job. The energy in her voice was a beautiful sound to this 'ole Dad! As she was telling me about her new role, she said two words that caught my attention. Honestly, these two words dominated my thoughts for the next several days. The two words were valued and valuable. She told me she felt valued and valuable! Powerful!
It took me a couple of weeks to begin to get my hands around why these two words grabbed me in the manner they did. Before I give you more details, let's look at the definition of each.
Valued-considered to be important or beneficial.
Valuable-a thing that is of great worth.
First, let's look at valued. She felt valued because the people she worked for, and with, made it obvious that they were glad she was on their team. She felt appreciated. They communicated to her in a way that made her feel important, relevant. We must never underestimate the power of a kind, encouraging word.
Next, she felt valuable. She could really feel the work she does was making a difference for her customers, her team and the company. The feeling of being valuable creates purpose. Purpose creates focus. Focus creates energy. All of these combined creates a successful working atmosphere...and a place she desires to invest and grow.
These two words can appear to be similar, but the difference is quite significant. You see, being valued is how her employer made her feel. Valuable is how she felt about the work she was doing. One is about how the employer made her feel and the other is how she felt about her job. Separate, but both tied to the overall culture of the company.
Is it possible to be valued, but not be valuable? I think we can all agree the answer is yes. Here's an example...I have my grandfather's old John Deere lawn mower in my garage. He has been gone several years and his mower is quite old. To me, this old mower has great value, but to most, it is not worth much. Conversely, can something be valuable, but not have value? Again, the answer is yes, but a tough one for many businesses. An employee can have a high paying job, but also be miserable. They may seem valuable as in dollars, but still not feel truly valued from their employer. Successful companies recognize much more goes into productive employees than just a paycheck, even if it is a really good one. People desire, and deserve, to be valued and also feel valuable.
Honestly, these two words apply to many aspects of our lives. Being valued and feeling valuable are important in our friendships. We want to feel valued by the other person, while also feeling valuable in the things we bring to the friendship. How about marriage? Each person desires to feel valued by their partner while at the same time feeling they are valuable to the overall marriage. How about church? We need to feel valued by the church, but we also need to feel we have something to offer to the greater good. We need to feel valuable to the health of the church. And yes, our jobs are the same!
So, here's the reality for every business across the globe. The barometer for success must begin with culture. It must begin with employees who feel valued and valuable. A positive work environment is critical to long term success. Happy, engaged employees will always do more than those who feel unappreciated. What are you doing in your business to ensure your most precious asset, your people, feel valued and valuable?
Where do we start you may ask...We begin by evaluating the leadership currently in place. We need positive spirited leaders who consistently engage their employees and help them feel valued. Remember, negative leaders never cultivate positive staffs. It's time we challenge one another to be better, to be more. Our industries, our companies and our employees are counting on us.
Finally, do you feel valued and valuable? My hope is your answer is yes. If so, now it is time to go help others feel the same.
I'm rooting for you! Swagger On friends!
The Swagger Institute is a business consulting company specializing in live event and virtual training including motivational speaking, sales training, customer service training and organizational development.