This is something we keep hearing about, how people and companies need to add value. Adding value is fast becoming the new bubble. A few years ago, Marshall Goldsmith, the world's top executive coach, questioned the cost of adding value in his debut post at Fast Company.
In the opening, Goldsmith outlines a very powerful piece of advice:
In my experience, one of the most common challenges that successful people face is a constant need to win. When the issue is important, they want to win. When the issue is trivial, they want to win. Even when the issue isn't worth the effort or is clearly to their disadvantage, they still want to win.
The more someone is successful, the more they need to be right. Needing to win in many cases shows up as adding too much value. Does this sound familiar? Have you seen some of this behavior in social media? Have you seen this behavior exhibited in social media by brands?
Goldsmith pinpoints the main problem with that behavior: taking away someone's ownership of the idea spells lack of commitment to executing by a team. It's natural, it's human. And acquiescing to the "buts" and "value added" all the time erodes your confidence.
Winning today means something very different than it did even a short couple of years ago. It means collaborating by building on ideas, not tearing them down. Why? Because of velocity. It's not what you think. It doesn't mean you need to beat your competitors at their game.
It means you need to gain momentum for your own game. And you need to do that with people -- internal teams and customers and partners. The more value you add, the more you slow the momentum down.
Same thing applies to brands and crowd sourcing initiatives.
Answer to how
Many companies are grappling with several issues about managing the conversation. If you pay attention, you'll be able to read through the lines in articles and interviews:
- how can our messages go viral?
- what can we do to make people come to our Web site?
- why are people not joining our community?
- how can we get more business from customers?
- who can we get to talk about our services?
Stop adding value. That's how. You need to have messages, yes. I mean you need to know what you're going to communicate (goals), and direction (strategy). To build a platform today, you need to be of service. Help your customers be heroes by sharing valuable content, then step back and let them use it, and approach you, however they please.
Which also takes care of the conversation that ensues. Then work the story and the relationship inch by inch. Although you still need to figure out who and how you manage it.
Forget added value. Help people see each other instead. Concentrate on core value, and nothing added is needed.
© 2010 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.