Welcome to another Wednesday Wisdom. Every week, I share with you what I'm thinking about life, work, and leadership. This week we're talking about what people really value.
Nobody knows what they're doing. Literally nobody. We're all winging it.
We're digging through mental filing cabinets and muscle memory, every time we face a problem. We apply what we know and what we've done as best we can, but it's always a best guess.
I figured this out at the tender age of 22, in my first job. I quickly realised that everyone I worked with - politicians, Ministers, CEOs0 - was just making it up as they went along. I'm not sure if that's comforting or confronting, but I do know that everyone is uncertain, and that our effectiveness is often down to:
Being OK with that, and
Making decisions anyway.
Knowing everyone is uncertain means there's a lot of value in being a catalytic convertor. (No, not like the one from my 1984 50th Anniversary Nissan Langley. RIP.)
People hire employees because they're uncertain about their existing capacity to deliver. When they do that, they're still uncertain! About if they've scoped the job right, if they've picked the right person, and if they can keep them on.
Add value as an employee by converting those uncertainties into trust.
People hire consultants and advisors because they're uncertain what the right choices are, and how to get there. Even once they appoint someone, they're uncertain whether they're on the right track and if they really know what they want in the first place.
Add value as a consultant by converting those uncertainties into direction.
People work for leaders because they're uncertain about their abilities to make real impact or secure financial security by working for themselves. Even once they take a job, they're uncertain if they're in the right industry, and if they're up to the task.
Add value as a leader by converting those uncertainties into empowerment.
People vote for politicians because they're uncertain about what the future holds for them. After the election, they remain uncertain about whether they will do what they promised, or if their lives will change as a result.
Add value as an elected member by converting those uncertainties into progress.
If you're worried about your job, your business or your future, stop building technical skills. Start thinking about what you can convert for others. There's always a market for uncertainty.