🧘♂️ Breathe In, Breathe Out
Markets are crashing and companies are facing another wave of layoffs and downsizing in response. But no need to worry. Times like these — filled with uncertainty and pivots — are great for a retrospective deep-dive into the value you bring and the goals you want to achieve.
Let’s empower you with an actionable checklist to quantify how valuable you are to the organization you work at!
Tune yourself into the insights-receiving mode. Relax. Close your eyes. Breathe in and breathe out slowly. Count till ten. Recall your first working day at the company. Fast-forward the clock across the timeline till the present moment. How do you see yourself at the company now?
Feet firmly on the ground, follow along these questionnaires below with your honest mind and vision. Each convincing positive answer earns you a strong survival karma point. Once you get the spirit of the questions asked, feel free to add more supporting points of your own. We’d love to hear your feedback.
Ready? Let's see how bulletproof you are! 👊
👲 Looking Back, What Have You Changed for the Better?
- Are there any processes which you helped to speed up?
Examples: Did delivery times become shorter? Did sales cycles start to happen faster? Were customers assisted to onboard easier or pay faster?
- Were any risks reduced?
Examples: Was the product architecture upgraded to exclude some single points of failure? Did the team implement the new process to know about the errors at the customer’s end and to assign a person to fix them right away?
- Were costs cut down?
Examples: Did you switch to a cheaper 3rd party vendor to optimize costs? Did you fire the less diligent employers that were taking the team backward? Did you optimize the cloud provider usage to gain nodes for a better price?
- Did you build the product keeping the business expansion cycle in mind?
Examples: Was product architecture modified to operate at a broader scale? Did the team structure and processes support scaling it up and hiring 50% more of the headcount?
- Did you contribute to effective knowledge sharing in your department or organization?
Example: Does management ask fewer questions because they understand much better what happens?
- Did you contribute to improving the company KPIs?
Examples: Did the conversion rate, LTV, or engagement improve? Did customers’ reviews give your product a more likable score?
Whatever you do, it’s important to remember that you are not “just” an executor. Lead others (with or without formal authority), and bring positive changes at the right speed. As numbers always look more convincing, try to quantify the changes above in percentages or absolute values of working hours, budgets, or tasks.
👨🏭 How Great Is It to Work With You?
When people are asked about you, what would they say, brown-nosing aside?
- Do they see you as responsible for accomplishing everything you have been entrusted with?
- Do they perceive you as a professional authority and a go-to person to ask for help or advice when needed?
- Can you be a great counterpart to brainstorm cool business ideas with?
- How easy is it to communicate with you?
- How safe and, therefore, focused do your team members feel under your supervision?
- Do your team members smile when you join the chat? Does every team member feel he is being supported to climb up along his career path? Will the team you manage “kill for you”?
In short, see how valuable your contribution is to the company’s human capital. Let everyone feel the freshness in the air when you enter the room.
👨🎤 How Irreplaceable Are You?
What is your USP/USO (unique sales proposition/offer)?
- Are you in charge of the deliverables on the critical path?
- Are you the creative problem solver helping to grab the land relentlessly ahead of the company’s competitors?
- Are you the driving force of the company processes in your responsibility?
- Are you among those who whisper check-signing words into investors’ ears or those who represent the company in prominent business relationships?
Summarizing it all, estimate how hard it would be to hire someone else to take control of everything you do now.
👨🎓 Which Skillsets Did You Acquire, and What Did You Learn?
How fast did you develop a deep understanding of everything in the company, such as:
- Did you develop a unique understanding of the industry and the competitive landscape the company operates in?
- Do you understand the positioning of the solution your company provides?
- Being awakened at 3 am, can you tell the company targets and KPIs as well as your fresh hypotheses on what can be improved and how?
- Do you really “live” the product roadmap and the features’ breakdown without opening the Kanban board?
- Do you know by heart the current status of the product, e.g. usability issues, bugs, and suggested workarounds?
- Can you draw the overall system architecture without asking your CTO?
- Do you lead the processes (and whom should you talk to achieve this or that and whom you shouldn’t)?
- Do you know whom to ask and what to say to push things to happen?
- Did you learn about all the details you should be aware of, the questions you should and should not ask about?
Grasping things fast is essential to succeed in startup dynamics. Analyze how quickly you’ve brought yourself up to speed to move the company forward.
Consider everything above as a self-assessment test; better if revisited periodically. As you can see, staying “safe” in the company climate requires a lot of exciting personal work, unleashing your internal superpowers and streamlining your energies to satisfy the ego bringing multiple positive changes.
The longer you work at the company, the louder the answers should be to all the questions above (feel free to add more criteria as you go). Have fun, keep yourself inspired, and remember that climbing up is always funnier with allies, altogether helping the entire company elevate to the next level.
- То Yael Tamar, CEO of SolidBlock for inspiring me to put my knowledge in a written form.
- Co-authored with Jessica Salama. Jessica is a Strategic Marketing & Community advisor in the web3 ecosystem, a decentralized believer, a social impact advocate, and Co-Founder @ WingWomen.xyz.
- To Alexandra Shelenkova for the article artwork.
- To my hardest bosses and most challenging employees.
- To everyone who helps me to become a better person in general and a better manager in particular.