We need to do valuable work. Right?
You feel better when you know you’re delivering value – I know I do. It’s important, to know that what you do is valued – what gets complicated is where we’re looking for the declaration of that value.
This is one of the few places entrepreneurs have it easier than the rest of us – there’s a very clear scale of “client value” and “my business value” that doesn’t often get muddied. When an entrepreneur’s personal or business value conflicts with the client’s needs, the problems can be quite obvious. When the entrepreneur’s business values and their personal values conflict, there’s obvious work to do in order to fix the problem.
Working in a larger group, it’s easy to run into conflicts of prioritization – especially when more than two parties are interested in creating value.
Imagine you have a project. There are clear objectives set out by the client – they want something to behave a certain way. There are also clear objectives set out by the project manager (who isn’t necessarily you); their concern is that the work get done on time, on budget, and with a certain measure of internal standard applied – which may or may not be higher than client expectations. Here’s the kicker; it turns out that the timeline and budget set out by the project manager conflict with the client’s needs for function, form and finesse.
We’ve all been in this situation – yes, you too, don’t kid yourself.
So where do you draw the line? Do you sacrifice your personal time in order to keep the deadline? Do you cut corners on the internal standards in order to meet budget requirements and satisfy client needs? Where’s the trade-off?
More importantly – where do we express this trade-off?
In a lot of cases, communication may be an answer. Flexibility is possible in a lot of directions, if concerns are set out as early as they’re discovered – and no matter whether we’re paranoid about seeming imperfect, setting expectations is more important.
How else are we supposed to work together, if we can’t support each other? Value, after all, must be agreed upon before it can be delivered.
How would you navigate this kind of multi-directional value equation?
Photo by Ben Betts.