A few weeks ago, I made the case that you should track your professional net worth. That is, what’s the value of your career? Is it growing or shrinking? Today I’m sharing the first in a series of articles that will show you how to do this.
First, a few caveats…
- Different professions and functional areas require different calculations. An account executive can’t use the same formula as a lab scientist.
- It is much more important to get a sense of directional trends rather than an exact number. That is, did your professional net worth increase, enhance or otherwise improve or did it get diluted, devalued, or otherwise decrease over the past 12 months?
- Even if this article doesn’t exactly describe your situation, you still can benefit from absorbing - and acting upon - the general principles I’m sharing.
Let’s start with a truth that most people ignore: your salary is not your professional net worth. If Jim gets paid $100,000 this year, his career is not worth $100,000. Compensation generally lags changes in your behavior and performance. This works in two ways.
First, if you start to significantly improve your performance, it generally takes a while before management notices and rewards your improvements; sometimes, you have to change jobs to reap the rewards of such improvements.
Second, unfortunately in many organizations, you can coast for a while before people notice that you are doing so.
That said, here’s one of many possible ways to calculate your professional net worth:
The centerpiece of this approach is that you start to track two groups of people:
- 2 A.M. relationships are the people you could call at 2 a.m. and have them answer, “How can I help?” They are your strongest, most impactful business relationships that have become personal friends.
- Portfolio relationships are true experts in your network; they are go-to people with whom you share deep mutual respect. They are you think tank, sounding board and may include current or potential clients.
In both cases, you want to understand whether – over the past year - you have added more people to this group, strengthened your relationships, or allowed them to weaken (perhaps by neglect or misstep).
This system also asks you to keep track of whether you helped - or let down - people in these two key groups. For example, if a key contact asked you for assistance in replacing a critical vendor - and you failed to respond to her calls or emails - you let that person down. Likewise, if you committed to manage a project, but failed to see it through, you eroded the value of one or more key relationships.
Finally, this system asks you to record your annual income, simply because over time you should start to see a correlation between the effort you invest in these relationships and your recognized value within your business or organization.
Most professionals say relationships are important, but many let relationships go idle for months or even years at a time. By tracking relationships in this manner, you push relationships to the front of your mind and develop the habit of nurturing them.
Is the value of your career directly related to the value of your relationships?
In my experience, the people who answer “yes” to the above question have the most valuable careers, and the people who answer “no” have the least valuable.
I mean this both in terms of monetary value as well as what you are able to achieve.
It is not enough to simply put your head down and work. The most successful professionals can accomplish more because of the strength of their relationships.
This post was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse.
David Nour has spent the past two decades advising executives on building business relationships. In the process, he has developed Relationship Economics® - the art and science of becoming more intentional and strategic in the relationships one chooses to invest in. In a global economy that is becoming increasingly disconnected, The Nour Group, Inc. has worked with clients such as Hilton, ThyssenKrupp, Disney, KPMG and over 100 other marquee organizations. David Nour is a strategic relationship keynote speaker, consultant, and advisor that helps these companies drive profitable growth through unique returns on their strategic relationships. Nour has pioneered the phenomenon that relationships are the greatest off balance sheet asset any organizations possess, large and small, public and private. He is the author of nine books translated into eight languages, including the best-selling Relationship Economics - Revised (Wiley), ConnectAbility (McGraw-Hill), The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Raising Capital (Praeger), Return on Impact (ASAE), and the 2017 forthcoming CO-CREATE (St. Martin’s Press), an essential guide showing C-level leaders how to optimize relationships, create market gravity, and greatly increase revenue. Contact David Nour to learn more, subscribe to the Blog, sign up for the Rendezvous Newsletter or request his speaking schedule availability for your organization’s next event.