Look At What People Produce To Determine The Value of Following Them

Photo by Christopher Alvarenga on Unsplash

In the Lean Six Sigma methodology we ask our selves what about a process adds value to the customer. It’s a difficult thing to look at when you are highly engaged in a process because you don’t want to admit that parts of what you do aren’t important to giving the customer what they want. We want to think that everything we do has value, and it does as far as our worth as human beings, but it doesn’t as far as meeting the needs of paying customers.

This idea of looking at what produces value can help us in many aspects of life. One way I think we can apply it successfully is in the area of determining who we should follow. I follow no one says the American! Yes you do. Even the most intellectual and independent minded person let’s people in and influence them. They chose their loyalties at work, lend their ear to family members, have that favorite cousin, adore a leader, worship an author, follow someone on You Tube, or quietly obsess over an influencer.

A co-worker chose her team early on. I wasn’t there when she did so I don’t understand the dynamic that swayed her to believe that the team she chose was the best one. She’s a long term player. She is working hard to ensure she gets this one position. She is already acting like it is her job. With her blinders on she charges forward not seeing that the person she is following, to get what she wants, will in fact give her what she wants and when that person leaves she will be stuck in a place she may not want to be in.

It’s a simple premise really. Let’s evaluate people before pledging our loyalty to them or at least clearly define their role in our life. This will help us compartmentalize people who wouldn’t normally be a part of our every day life and mitigate the risk of placing our lives into the hands of others. We simply can’t trust people in the workplace to the point of not understanding what we are getting ourselves into.

The person my co-worker chose to follow has political power, clout, 30 plus years of work experience, and is in the know of what goes on around here. What she fails to see is that holding onto someone who is about to retire is dangerous. It is naive to think that the organization will maintain the status quo when she is gone. You are working yourself into a position that might not exist and once a shift in power takes place the other team won’t play ball anymore. You will have worked all this time to get yourself into a corner.

They produce decent work and a lot of drama. They are constantly dealing with problems that they create. Nothing that comes out of that camp is anything more than a regurgitation of the way things used to be. There is no forward thinking, no improvement, no ideas, no understanding, and no clue that a world exists outside of theirs.

What people produce tells you a lot about whether you should follow them or not. We may have to interact with people and work with them, but we do not have to pledge our loyalty to them. There is a big world out there that we can strive to live and work in and before we go placing all our eggs in their basket we need to look at what they produce.

Does this person add value to other peoples lives or to the end product? Do they add value to the organization, the department, subordinates, and to the customer? What results are you seeing with what they are involved in? Is this something you want to see in your life? If you met this person on the street would you invite them out for coffee? Would you give them a call, go out to eat, or invite them over? No. Then you just defined your interactions with them.

I see a woman who spent the past 30 years at an organization. Smart, knows her job, and can work the system like no other. She got in a little too good with the boss. It’s cool how everyone ignores the continual conflict of interest. Yet those who follow her tend to be in the most trouble, quit the most often, have the worst performance, and produce the least. In her 30 years of service the results are not impressive. She was good at getting ahead, but nothing more. Not one person who worked for her made it to the top, transferred to that great location, got that great job, or completed that amazing project. Why would anyone follow her?

Look at who you are letting into your mind and heart before it’s too late and you get years down the road and realize you followed the wrong person. Look at what they produce no matter how hard and decide if that is truly something you want to be a part of. We can learn so much about people by looking at the results of their life and work. Whoever adds the kind of value you are looking for might be the person for you, but whoever doesn’t, just walk on by.

Marcy Pedersen

Writer, analyst, life-long learner, and obsessed about improving life and work processes. Connect at marcypedersen@icloud.com