When you are a competent professional, as you are, it’s easy to forget how much value you bring to your organisation. Imagine for one moment that someone else was in your job - projects would take longer, results would be less solid, processes would run less smoothly, revenues or savings would be reduced. It’s this alternative reality that you need to explicitly describe to your colleagues and bosses so they appreciate and are completely clear on the value you are bringing, value that would not be there if you were not in post.
‘Jo’, I hear you thinking, ‘give us an example’. Okay.
I negotiated an agreement with HM Revenue & Customs which my predecessor thought was impossible and our advisors had not seen negotiated before. It would have been very easy for me to have overlooked my success, thinking ‘I just did my job and got what I hoped for’, even though it saved millions in potential tax for my organisation and significantly reduced the work load for my department.
Instead, I enthusiastically talked about my success and the alternative reality that could have come to pass.
“You know that compliance issue we’ve had outstanding for 2 years, the one no one thought we’d be able to get HMRC’s agreement on? Well, I put together a detailed case with lots of supporting evidence and after much consideration, HMRC agreed it. It means we don’t have to set aside £X million for an uncertain tax position or dedicate 0.25 of a person each year to deal with the compliance. Isn’t that great?”
The key here is to explicitly compare and contrast what you did and what you achieved with the alternative reality that could have been had you not been in post.
People often don’t think to talk in this way because they believe it’s obvious what could have happened, and they think others know what could have happened. The truth is, it’s not obvious and they don’t. You need to spell it out.