"Congratulations on earning your degree. But I want you to know the only thing it shows me is that you know how to learn."
My father was stunned. He had worked hard to get his degree over several long years; surely all of what he had learned counted for something! Engineering was a hard degree to get and covered a lot of knowledge areas in depth...what was his manager talking about?
For the manager, my father's value proposition was the potential for a future of great contributions to the company, based on his educational focus and demonstrated ability to learn complex things (provided he continued to apply himself and work hard, of course). To be sure, the company must have seen value or they would not have hired my father in the first place - but it was still a shock for him to hear that message on his first day.
My father didn't tell me what he was thinking before he entered the office, but that first meeting with his manager had a profound effect on him. I even believe it was a defining moment for him. It forced him to look forward - to what he could do with and for the company, rather than dwell on his prior accomplishments.
What you have done is not as important as what you will do next. The past only shows what you were capable of then; it merely lays the groundwork for what you might become on your journey.
For many of us, our value proposition is often quite different than what we think it is. In fact, our value is always defined more by the other person (the receiver of your services) than by you (the giver of the service).
They want to know what YOU can do for them, and how you can help them solve their needs and problems. This is your Value to them.
But there is much, much more to it than that...
Listen to the podcast, or read the full article on Gazza's Corner blog.