Looking Out for Value Add

I started thinking about working on the fish two months ago.  I had done one previously but wanted to improve the proportion of its scales to the size of the fish and to be more efficient doing it.

While I wanted to do this, I had also struggled with overcoming the challenges that I would face.  As in my last article, waiting till I come up with the best solution did not work until I started the actual work itself.  Along the way, I experimented and eventually worked out the approach to speed up the process and completed the fish in a much shorter time.

The main challenge with folding the fish is in forming the scales.  The paper is first folded into pleats horizontally and vertically about 75% of a square paper.  At each intersection of the pleats, flatten out the ‘+’ (cross) structure into a small square and refold into a ‘T’ structure by bringing two adjacent pleat lines together, and the other two into one line.  Repeat this process and create a scaly surface on the paper.  Choice of which intersection to fold will shorten the time to complete the fish as some portion of the paper will be folded and not be visible.

Assuming the scales are “skills” of an individual in the organization.  If an individual has the skills but his skills are not visible (not put to use or not known to others) in the organization, then it is liken to a wasted effort to form the scale on the portion of the paper that will be hidden when the fish is formed.  Where we place our skillful staff; who we train; and for what purpose the training was given are fundamentals to managing people.  We hire them for a purpose and in the process of hiring, we optimize our hiring by placing the staff to do the work that he can add most value in.  As he works in the company, he may need to be trained or even be re-trained to sustain and develop his value add further.

Unfortunately, most managers are not spending enough time thinking of how best to draw most value out of their staff.  They failed to look at their staff afresh, without leveraging the potential synergy from them.  Until they ‘unfold’ them (as in opening the pleats out flatly), and ‘refold’ them (as in forming the ‘T’ shape from the “+” shape), they will miss the opportunity of engaging their staff to do more for the company as well as for their growth.  While not all staff will add equal value across the organization, it is important that the manager evaluates where the staff is being placed as well.  If the staff is skillful but placed at the “hidden” area, then no matter how skillful that staff is, it adds no value to the organization.  Hence talent is to be defined from the perspective of what the staff brings value to the organization, and not just about being knowledgeable.

Making the conscious effort to find value add makes us effective and efficient.  We must not get into a routine of doing things without taking into context its value for today.  The essence of all that we do, unless done with a mindset to add value, only then will enable one to find effective and efficient ways and make them worthwhile.

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