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Val-YOU

Goldkey It's great if your accomplishments are noticed, and even better if they are engaging, but when people unwrap your accomplishments, will they find something VALUABLE at the core of your accomplishment's brand?

There are a lot of projects out there that are pure fantasy.  I recently blogged at IowaBiz about this phenomenon, how many IT departments like to drive unnecessary projects through the pipelines... just because they can.  I've observed many CIO's who have authorized projects for "really cool technology" just because of the "bells and whistles."  At one client, I referred to the CIO as "the little engine that shouldn't" because of his ability to materialize non-vetted projects... I don't think he liked the title very much.

But how do we define "value" in our accomplishments?  The dictionary calls it "having desirable or esteemed characteristics or qualities" or "of great use or service," but I don't think either of these really cut to the chase.  Your accomplishment has to be relevant.  In other words, the recipient/user/customer of the accomplishment has to care that you've accomplished something.  If they don't, you have New Coke... or Gap... sure, you accomplished something, but your audience did not find anything of value.  Look at the gripes every time Facebook changes something... you'll see a tremendous lack of accomplishment value.

Often, value is - as Malcolm Gladwell would put it - "thin sliced."  We can just look at an accomplishment and deem it to be valuable.  How?  Brant Fetter made a good observation on his blog:

I think we humans use any kind of cue to assess the value of something. That’s why branding works. Just as someone who has a clean appearance and speaks in an articulate fashion is going to be more trusted initially than others. We try (whether we know it or not) to use this shorthand from gut reactions all the way up to deciding multi-million dollar contracts and mates. Any human knowledge is based on those that go before us, such as science is just one body of work based on the previous.

Whether it's a snap decision or well researched, value will be vetted out over time.  So it's great if your accomplishment brand is noticeable and engaging... just make sure it is valuable as well.  People will notice.

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