Three management questions of value

Three Management Questions of Value

 Merging the Action theme from last week and this weeks theme of Values and I have three questions that I would offer you. These questions cover the topics of your most valuable client, your staff activities and your own skill set –  I trust you will find the answers enlightening!

Two of the questions are for you as a manager and one is for your team although there is nothing stopping you having everyone work through all three questions as a development exercise.

Question One – for yourself

Who is your most valuable client?

This is not necessarily the one that generates the most revenue or even the one that is the most profitable. It could be that a less profitable account when considered in the bigger picture is actually more valuable due to its strategic important or what having that client enables you to do (enter new markets etc.)

Once you have identified your most important client (or a short-list of three if you want to do this exercise in more depth) consider

  • When did you last speak to them?
  • When did you last visit them?
  • When did you last provide added value beyond the level they expected?

ACTION POINT If any of your answer to the above are ‘not recently or ‘not recently enough’ then either do it now or put a note in your diary system to do it soon!

Question Two – for your employees

The following makes an interesting, and potentially very useful, development exercise for your staff. Ask them the following as part of a development session

In your role what is your most valuable function?

Not a trick question but rather, in a similar vein as question one, an honest and direct question to get the person thinking. The question works best when the employee is allowed a chance to present their own ideas about their role. Whilst you might know what what they have been hired to do what they actual perceive as their most valuable role can be very illuminating.

TIP To get to the real heart of their role and unearth the most valuable function that a person performs it will be necessary to break their role down into it”s core components. Take a receptionist – they might greet people in person, screens calls, schedule diaries, order items, negotiate with suppliers etc. The question is within your business what is the most valuable function your receptionist does?

Once their most important role (or again three most important roles) have been agreed upon consider

  • What training has the person had recently to help them perform that aspect of their job?
  • How much time do they get to focus on it?
  • What prevents them from doing more of it?
  • Are they personally well suited to the task and do they enjoy it?
  • And finally – what can you do to help them fulfill that function easier, faster and generally better?!
ACTION POINT Ask your key members of staff if they would be willing to try a development exercise – make sure you present this as a positive thing – and then try the above. If the results are useful then roll out across the rest of your staff.

Question three – for yourself

What’s your most valuable skill set?

It’s always positive to take some time and consider our own skills. So take some time and make a list of your skills and whittle it down to either a single skill or a short-list of three or so.

Once you have done that consider

  • How much do you currently use it?
  • What results are you currently getting from using it that way?
  • In what way could you use it more?
  • What would have to be in place to facilitate you doing it more?
  • How could you increase your skill in this area?
ACTION POINT Make time to work through the above or at the very least sit back now and consider the questions!

Summary

A manager should be adding value to all their customers, whether internal or external.

Checking the value of activities and personnel on a regular basis will help keep your firm evolving and moving forward.

Until next time, add some value!

Stephen Hart

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