The “People” Value
When we think of value, it usually pertains to product or service value. Did we get more value than we expected from our purchase? Did the DVD player last longer than we thought it would? Did the mechanic do more quality work than expected? Value is defined through the perception of the beholder. It is the perceived benefit from an investment. The investment could be money, time, emotions, etc. It is one’s knowledge and experiences that measure current value. I have found that value comes in three forms: Poor Value, Expected Value, and Unanticipated Value:[clear]
Poor Value epitomizes an outcome that does not meet expectations. An example would be if you paid someone to clean your house. Your expectation is to have a clean house (let’s assume “clean” was made clear when negotiating price with the house cleaner). When you inspect the work done, you notice a dirty sink in the bathroom, a dusty television in the living room, and an un-vacuumed carpet in the family room. You would determine this as poor value.
[clear][br] Attitude – Negative, cynical, disappointed
[clear][br] Behavior – Will be less inclined to engage in this action in the future
[clear][br] Expected Value meets expectations. You buy satellite television and were promised 200 channels. You surf through all 200 channels and confirm they are all available for viewing. You achieved expected value from the satellite company.
[clear][br] Attitude – Satisfied, content, appreciative
[clear][br] Behavior – Will be inclined to engage in this action in the future
[clear][br] Unanticipated Value is receiving more value than expected, no matter how high or low the original expectations were. For example, if you went to a golf course and paid for 9 holes and the manager allowed you to play all 18 for the 9 hole price. You would consider that to be Unanticipated Value. Another example would be if you hired a gardener to plant some flowers. You come home and not only do you see the flowers planted but notice your lawn is mowed. Unanticipated Value is getting more than you bargained for.
[clear][br] Attitude – Very satisfied, trusting, optimistic about the future
[clear][br] Behavior – Will be inclined to engage in this action in the future and will act as a promoter (a promoter sings praises and delivers word-of-mouth positivity).
[clear][br] How we value something, especially in regular acts of engagement, may result in different levels of value per occurrence. The experience of an action over time that produces value will be the key determinant as to whether we engage in those acts again. Take for example a restaurant. You walk into a new restaurant and you are not greeted properly, your server is slow, and the food is bad. It may take just one time for a Poor Valued experience to deter you from ever visiting that experience again. In every transaction we encounter (whether that be a financial purchase or a human-to-human interaction), we consciously or sub-consciously presume value. It may take Poor Value over time to conjure enough disappointment (attitude) to take action (behavior). Take for example your manager. Your initial value placed on your manager will be high (as you expect a manager to hold a certain amount of managerial abilities and leadership qualities).
[clear][br] Over time, if this manager displays poor judgment, is unsupportive, and micro-manages, your expectations will continually lower because you will experience constant Poor Value. Eventually, this will lead to a negative attitude and may prompt you to reevaluate your career path under this manager. Continuous Poor Value will drive you away from whatever the engagement is, regardless of the outcome (think about the mouse who keeps getting shocked when he reaches the cheese at the end of the maze, eventually the mouse will stop because the potential benefits are not greater than the actual outcome).
[clear][br] When we think about people (Managers, co-workers, the cashier at the supermarket, a hostess at an upscale restaurant, the hotdog vendor at the ball game) we expect a certain level of value from our interaction. I’m not sure about you, but when I buy my $8 hotdog at the ball game, I am not expecting the hotdog vendor to be a connoisseur of customer service. What I expect is a half-hearted greeting, a “what do you want,” and “$8 bucks.” That is my subjective expectation of this situation derived from my knowledge and past experiences. Yours may be different. Whatever the case may be, we go into these interactions with a certain expectation level. The opposing person can meet (Expected Value), not meet (Poor Value), or exceed our expectations (Unanticipated Value).
[clear][br] We never expect more value. We expect what we expect, even if that expectation exceeds standard socially accepted norms and prior experiences. Unanticipated Value is a surprise, as it is unanticipated and therefore you feel a greater level of satisfaction from the experience if you encounter this particular value. Our interactions with others are value-based. We as humans are always judging and evaluating the other person we are conversing with. The importance of a manager to obtain Expected Value or Unanticipated Value is important. Are you giving the right value?
[clear][br] Here are some tips to identify if you are giving your employees good value:
[clear][br] Listen to feedback/comments. A good manager will receive direct feedback from subordinates if that feedback is good (giving negative feedback to a manager is a lot more difficult). Not to say outspoken employees won’t tell you to your face what they are thinking, but generally speaking that negative feedback is kept hidden. If you are not hearing positive feedback from your employees, you may have a problem on your hands.
[clear][br] Have one-on-one sessions. If you can be trusted to accept negative feedback without being disruptive or in any way harsh, you may be able to obtain some candid feedback this way. If you make the employee feel comfortable with the situation and inform him or her that you really want to improve, they will give you want you need. Some managers are terrified of what their employees think, so they won’t ask.
[clear][br] Have team meetings. This is a good way to get those employees who are shy to express themselves in a one-on-one setting to speak more comfortably with others in the room. Find a creative way to capture feedback from the team about performance.
[clear][br] Develop surveys. The timeless way to capture feedback is surveying. Keep them anonymous as possible (may be difficult with smaller teams). This is a good way to capture both quantitative and qualitative feedback.
[clear][br] Ask your peers. Ask your fellow managers what they have been hearing through the grapevine. Chances are great that the “word” about you is spreading around your restaurant. If you are hearing you are difficult to talk to, you are not supportive, you are not open to ideas, etc., it may be time to think about ways to increase your value to your employees.
[clear][br] Managerial value is controlled and produced by the manager. If you are providing great value to all employees then continue what you are doing, if not, time to take initiative to improve your weaknesses.