How to add value and become indispensable in your job

How to add value and become indispensable in your job

One of my mates, let’s call him Jamie, had just been announced as the CTO of one of the top 15 Australian brands. I can’t share details, but would just say that when people outside Australia think of Australia, it’s likely they think of that brand.

8 years ago, when we first met, Jamie held the same title, but with a little start-up. In the start-up world, everyone is either a CEO, CTO or CFO, but to hold this title with a $10Bn company is a BIG jump over such a short period of time, isn’t it?

How does one climb up so quickly? What is so special about Jamie, giving him the ability to hop from start-up world to top shelf company in such a short time? I was curious, so I’ve done some digging…

I found this quote from a couple of years back, where Jamie said:

Gone are the days where CIOs or technology leaders need to think about storage and computers and what not. These things are now becoming commodity functions. We need to lift ourselves out of the data centre world and more into how do we add value to the business to become indispensable.

When we think about our career, we think about what WE want, where WE want to be and we’re looking for someone or a company that is aligned with what WE want.

The fact is, NOBODY cares what WE want. Like each and every one of us, other people and companies only care about themselves, therefore they only care about what value we bring to THEM!

One executive recruiter I know and worked with told me that in the past 5 years, 75% of the executives he recruited, didn’t have industry experience. Each of the candidates was picked on their ability to solve a current, or future business problem for his clients. It’s not about what you do that is important, but what value does it brings to your employer!

The Gig Economy has changed the career landscape for all participants: Employers, Employees, and the people who bring us all together (recruiters). Romanticising the “loyalty” of the past, won’t help us anymore. Job security is the thing of the past — employees aren’t loyal to their employers any more than the employees are loyal to their employees…

We all focus on our own needs, desires and aspirations. If we get that, we can be well on our way to becoming indispensable.

Every business we’re involved in, is there for a reason, and it’s up to all of us to ensure the business’ sustainability. Are you doing all you can to ensure the business which pays your salary, is constantly improving and thriving?

Realise your value in order to become indispensable

It’s not your job title — it’s the value you bring to the business you’re involved with.

Say you’re a digital marketer, in charge of email campaigns for clients. Do you only try to get those campaigns out in time, and have no major typos, or do you constantly make a conscious effort to increase open rates, CTRs and conversions? Do you improve and solve issues, or just flag them. In other words, are you looking out for your employer’s best interest or just your own?

Continuous growth is needed to become indispensable

Career progression requires constant change. You can’t expect to grow if you stay in the same environment, doing the same ol’ thing… Incremental change isn’t good enough anymore, so you need to accept a major shift, a big leap into the unknown. Embrace new challenges as an opportunity to grow, and make a bigger impact on your next commercial relationship.

Investing time and effort in learning new skills, brushing up on old ones, and expanding beyond what is currently comfortable, will increase your value and indispensability.

It’s a commercial relationship

Think of your employer as a client, and of yourself as a service provider. Do you do your job and go home, or do you look for additional ways to improve your service? Do you look for additional areas you can add value? Can you “upsell and cross-sell”? Meaning: can you take up more responsibility than given? Or if such responsibility is given to you, do you embrace it with a Can-Do or No-Can-Do attitude?

Being “part of the furniture” is a thing of the past. Today, if you can’t demonstrate your value on an ongoing basis, you’ll find yourself continuously looking for your next job. This isn’t ideal, and quite a frustrating experience, when you are forced to take whatever is available, rather than being in a position which allows you to choose your next career step.

Becoming indispensable puts you in full control of your career, so you can climb up as quickly as Jamie did.


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