Invest in Yourself: How to Maximize Your VRI
Cameron Hession: I'm not coming down. I never left it on the ground. I'm not coming down. I want to go higher, higher, higher, higher than this.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: This is Write Your OWN Story: Three Keys to Rise and Thrive in Life and Business. I'm your host, Rebecca Fleetwood Hession. Hey, it's Rebecca. Guess what? There's already a bunch of tickets that have been sold for the fourth annual Stand Tall in Your Story event to celebrate International Women's Day on more tape. So you need to get you on. In fact, as of today, there's only a couple of the VIP tables left. So get on, a bunch of friends are already going to be there. Or if your entire company, you want to purchase a virtual pass for them, I got you girl or guy or whoever's listening. Go to wethrive. live/ events. Boom. Get all the info there. Okay. I want to tell you what Warren Buffett said about inflation. Because I guess if we're going to talk about the shit show that is the economy, Warren Buffett's not a bad place to start. He seems to have gotten some of that shit figured out. Warren Buffett said the best thing that you can do to protect against inflation, wait for it, sharpen your skills, be at the top of your field. Invest in yourself. He said this at a Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting and everybody and their brother, CNBC, all the places have created a article about this advice. He gave the same advice in 2009, so it's not some flash in the pan kind of thing, it's consistent advice. And I got to say, when is that not good advice? I mean, I get it, that right now people are freaking out a little bit. Actually, I don't get it. I think freaking out is the dumbest thing you can do right now. Because if you go back to the 19, go back to 1900 to today. So in the last 123 years, the US economy has experienced 29 recessions and 26 periods of inflation. So if you think about retiring at 65, everybody's going to have a couple of these times in their career. But yet when it starts to happen, it freaks people out. So freaking out, not a great idea. Warren Buffett quote unquote says, " The best thing you can do to be exceptionally good at something." So today I want to talk about what can we do to get exceptionally good at the role that we have and not spend our time ringing our hands, obsessing over the news, screaming at politicians, bitching about stuff. Because you won't be any fun at parties and you're not going to do yourself or your company or your family any favors. So let's just let that shit go. " Skills unlike currency," Mr. Buffett says, " Are inflation proof." So the time that you spend this year during this time investing in you is going to have a significant return on investment forever. In fact, funny little story that fits in here. I have been coaching with a woman who I have known forever. She was a client of mine back in my FranklinCovey days, an executive for a large organization. And she hired me to coach her in her first year of retirement. Yeah. She hired a coach for retirement, because she realized she had acquired all of this talent, all of these skills. She is one of the most well- read people I know, and she has really been passionate about leadership development and personal development, and she knows a lot of stuff and she wants to be really intentional about how she continues to use those skills and that talent to serve others in her retirement. And others are spending time with her husband, her family, but also mentoring and coaching and being involved in the community and the growth of the economy in her town. She didn't retire and just check out. She said, " Oh no, this is when I get to use all of my gifts, talents, and abilities to serve how I want to serve." Y'all, it is lighting my heart on fire working with her on this. So I tell you that story because one, I think it's an amazing idea. And two, it proves the point that investing in yourself is never a bad investment. So what does this mean for you? Okay, so the first thing, as I said, is quit bitching and moaning and obsessing over the news and let's get focused. That's job number one. The answer is rarely out there. The answer is usually within you. So let's look inward instead of outward. Well, how can you take the role that you have now and think about how to be the best you can be at it? Now here at Write Your Own Story, we don't wait for permission. We don't wait for somebody to knock on the door and say, " Surprise, today is today that you get developed." We don't need permission. We write our own story. So I'm going to give you some tips today on how to do that. And much of this started in my book, Write Your OWN Story: Three Keys to Rise and Thrive in the section around company story. But I've, even since I've written the book, I've taken those concepts and have built them out even further as I'm working with clients. I work with leadership teams, I do coaching and consulting work with their organizational design and alignment. So as I'm doing that work, I'm constantly thinking about what's the application of this? How can we make it better? And so some of the things that I'm going to share with you today are kind of that next iteration of application of the things that I wrote about in the book. So if you have read the book, one, thank you. Number two, if you want to put a review on Amazon, that'd be super good. Especially if it's a good review. If it's not a great review, just call me and let's talk about it because I would learn from that. And if you have been waiting for the audio version of the book because you're just not a reader, done, it's out there. It's on Amazon right now. And it's funny, people are messaging me and saying, " I like it so much better because I like that you're talking to me about it." So apparently my voice is a thing which is super fun. I've added it to my unique gifts and talents and deciding how I'm going to use that. But I inaudible So if you have read the book, in the chapters around company story, I share a framework for the company story. And the framework for both the company story and your personal story. The top box, if you will in this framework is value, relevance, and impact. So a term I'm now using is, this is our VRI. How can we get VRI? Because we talk a lot about ROI, which stands for return on investment. For us as humans, we want to measure our VRI, our value, relevance, and impact. So let's get into it. How can you become the best you can be right now to make sure that you're maximizing your VRI? All right, let's start with value. Value is whom do I serve and what problems do I solve for them? So as you look at the role that you have right now, I'd love for you to sit down and think about this critically. Some of you serve people within the organization. You may be in HR or... Oh gosh, IT. Your customers may be employees of your organizations, internal, as we say. Some of you serve customers of your business, external. It's going to be different for, and some of you are, it's both. But I want you to take a really critical look at who you serve and what problems you solve for them. Because in this economy, the problems of your stakeholders, your customers may have changed or shifted in some way, which means how you serve them might need to shift in some way. And unless we take the time to think about those things and adapt our approach, we miss that opportunity to increase our value because here's what's happening, we're always running off of old atoms of behavior. And so if we don't pause once in a while and move out of that back part of our brain, that subconscious just autopilot thing and move into the front part of thinking critically, we miss the opportunity to disrupt that pattern and serve in a different way. So some of your customers, internal or external, may be facing unique challenges because of the economic uncertainty and bullshit that we're dealing with right now. So make sure you know what problems that you are solving for those customers or what problems that they have. Maybe they have a new problem that you don't yet understand or know about, and just by reaching out and saying, " Hey, things are kind of crazy right now in the economy, in the world, how are you doing?" And I'm not saying that because I want you to set up some bitch session about the economy. Oh, for the love of God, please don't do that. There are millions of people already committed to that. Rise up. Don't be those. Simply ask the targeted question, " As a result of some of the economic challenges, what kind of problems are you looking to solve? I want to make sure that I can be as valuable as possible as your partner." And you can say that to a colleague that's in another department that you serve, or you can say it to a customer, even suppliers. We need to be really awake to how we serve each other right now. No guessing and assuming, ask. Ask and then serve. So in some situations you may be able to educate and help these people that you serve come up with creative ideas or maybe the products and services that you represent can be adapted and used differently based on what they're going through. Value, who do I serve? What problems do I solve? And making sure I'm connected to them. Which brings us to the R of VRI, which is relevance. This is what I'm talking about. Relevance means what's appropriate to the current time and the current situation. Well, what's relevant today is different than what was relevant two years ago when we were all just figuring out how to turn on our cameras and how to work from home. Relevant today is what are we going to do in this economy. Now that we're back to work, well, what's happening? Relevance is are we adapting to the present situation? Are we paying attention to the present situation? Because you are going to be the best there is at a particular role, but if you can't adapt and change and create more value in the relevant situation of today, that's not going to work. So it doesn't mean that you have to go get another degree or another certification, means you need to be paying attention and you need to be asking really good questions of the people that you work with and the people that you serve. So relevance, what's appropriate to the current time and situation? So right now, the leaders of your organization are probably in a fair amount of, " Okay, how can we just look at this money making model and make sure that we are set up well?" If cost cutting is happening, if there's. Big money concerns. And you go in and you say, " Hey, I want to implement this huge project, could I please have gazillions of dollars?" You're going to look like an idiot. Unless those gazillions of dollars are going to make you 10X gazillions of dollars, okay, then maybe. But now is the time to really understand the money making model of your organization and how you impact it. If you're around here much, you know I talk about this all the time. And yet when I go in and I work with leaders and I work with leadership teams, I ask the question always, what percentage of your team, whoever I'm talking to, what percentage of your team or your organization could conversationally explain the money making model to me or to their team? And it is historically under 50%. So if you want to be relevant, you're going to have to know these things. And the way that you figure out the money making model of your organization is to go ask questions and pay attention and talk to people that you work with about how it works. You don't need an MBA, you just need to look around and realize that the organization is an ecosystem that is far bigger than the role in the department that you serve. Relevance is about the entire organization, not just stewarding the job that you have, especially now. Okay, the I of VRI is impact. What's the impact that you are having with your work in your role? And impact happens in two ways. It happens with the humans, then it happens with the business. So again, business is human, but the needs are very different. The human needs are personal, emotional, and social. The business needs are to control, measure, and optimize. So when we look at the impact that we have in our role, we want to look at it from both of those parts of the equation. How am I serving the humans and how am I impacting the money making model of the organization, the goals, the systems, the processes, all those things. The money making model, especially now, is critical. One way that you can have an impact on the money making model of any business is to create better efficiency and effectiveness in how the organization works together. So hang with me here for a minute. I want to describe something that I think can be helpful. If you look at the org chart, the organizational chart of your company, it is a series of boxes most likely in a pyramid- like picture or a fairly flat one. And each leader stewards their little box. And some are better than others at it. Yes, we know this, but the effectiveness of an organization and how profitable it is, is dependent on how well those boxes work together to serve your customers. You hear me? So I want to give you a metaphor. I know I've talked about it here before and I'm not going to start, I'm not going to stop talking about it until I open up a CNBC article and they're talking about it. Because I believe it is the most effective way to see this in an organization. It is the relay track team metaphor. So when there is a relay race, each runner has a leg of the race, much like each leader has a box on the org chart. But a relay track race is won or lost in the handoff. And the same is true for your organization. It is the connection or disconnection of how the boxes on the org chart work together that make or break an organization. And so there are consequences in a relay track race when the baton is dropped. One, you probably don't win the race. And two, there's a bit of a trust factor that's impacted because the baton got dropped. And so when the race is over, the next day at practice, the track coach doesn't say to each runner, " Go hit your laps, go run." The track coach says, " We're going to practice..." What? The handoffs. And then the coach puts them through the drill of what's the timing? What's the communication? What's the pacing of the handoff? You can have so much impact on your organization by practicing the handoff, the connection between the various departments that work in your organization. I just did a session with a leadership team, a client that I'm working with, doing some coaching and consulting work, and I got the leadership team in a room together and I facilitated a handoff discussion between each of their departments. Where is the baton getting dropped? Where is their frustration and where is their trust being impacted? Because the people in each of the departments don't trust the other to do the work or to meet things on a timely basis. Or did you know when you do this, it causes this problem over here? No, I didn't know that. Unless we get together and intentionally have the conversation about the handoff in our organizations, it's messy, y'all. I'm just saying. I've seen it for decades. If you want to increase the effectiveness of the way that work, money and communication flows through the organization to get more profitability, to get an easier place to work for God's sakes, work on the handoffs and the connection. In fact, I am confident. I wish I had study on this, maybe I should do a study on this. I am confident that one of the contributors to burnout is it's just too damn hard to get the work done because there's so much crap and messiness in the handoffs. So I get on a tangent and a rant about this. Can you see my, I can feel my heartbeat increasing as I talk about it. Because I also know the power of cleaning up that handoff and the relief that people feel when it gets smoother. In this group that I was working with right before Christmas, it was just so fun for me because this is my entertainment. I am passionate about my work. I'm not ashamed of that. It was so fun to see these executives who have worked together for years and have worked in this industry for decades, being able to see some things that with some simple tweaks, could make a significant impact to various places in the work that were really hard. And having them say, " Oh man, so that's why that happens." Or, " well, if I had known that I'll do it like this." And then boom, the handoff gets cleaner and the trust goes up and the excitement goes up to see things get better. So if you want help with that, God, I love doing that work. But I need your entire team together, your leadership team, your executive team to all be there because you don't only invite part of the runners to the relay race. All of the runners of every leg of the race need to be there in order for it to be effective. But it is a powerful exercise that I promise you that the invoice that you paid me, you would get significant ROI return on investment. So back to our VRI, value, relevance and impact. I have a few other examples that have come up in my coaching clients over the last few weeks as I've been thinking about this concept and watching these articles about the economy. And I only watch of enough to know how I want to respond. I am not digging in and feeling like I need to understand all the nuances because that's somebody else's job and I don't need that dark cloud. I got work to do. I got clients to serve, and I just need to stay focused on my gifts and talents and how I can help my clients. So here's a few examples of some other clients that I've helped increase their VRI. One of them is a gentleman I talked to this morning who is the head of marketing and communications for an organization. And this particular organization is going through some really exciting shifts and changes to make them be more effective. And as they're going through these changes, they've asked for feedback, they've sent out a lot of surveys and gathered data. And I working with partners here, ML Talent Services, who are amazing. Shout out to them as my business partners. And as we're doing this work, we've asked all the employees to take their precious time to fill out these surveys. And now it's up to the leaders to form solutions to the issues. And as we're doing that, as you know, when you make improvements, you don't always see immediate return on those improvements. And so this gentleman, as part of his corporate communications role, I've said, " I need you to step in really strategically and be the voice of this story to make sure that everybody in this organization that took the time for this data gathering to have as much updates and information as we can provide so that they know that something's happening, so that they know that their data was, their voices were heard. And who better than the person in charge of corporate communications to take that story back out to the employees? And so that's a place where his relevance in corporate communications and storytelling is applied to this project. And he's got great ideas on how to do that with podcasts and videos and telling stories that people want to hear. So that's a way that he's going to have a stronger impact using his background and experience to be really relevant right now. Have another gal that I have known forever. We used to work together and we were on the phone the other day catching up on some things and she was telling me about, she's been in sales for a long, long time. But right now she's in this massively big company and part of their sales process, they recognize that the demand was higher than they were able to get people trained and prepared to deal with, with their customers. And so rather than having her out selling more, her boss and her sat down and because of her background in employee development and some of the things that we had done working together, she's now on a project where she's helping go to colleges and recruit and putting the training in place to get as many people out of college and into this organization to be performing quickly. So they shifted her role completely for this particular project. And she'll go back to her other role or probably get promoted quite frankly as a result of this. But they were able to take a problem in the organization and say, " How can we use the people we have and what kind of talents do they already have?" Because many of you have gifts and talents and experiences that you've used from other organizations that may be more relevant now than they were when you got hired. So think about that. And so they're able to create this program that she's now running that solves a very relevant problem for this organization. So just a couple of examples of value, relevance, and impact. So let's summarize. Just sit down and ask yourself, " Who am I? What am I great at? What do I love doing in my job? What past experiences do I have that may be more important and more relevant and valuable now?" In fact, if you want to really dive into this, get with me and book the 90- minute Unique Gifts, Talents, and Abilities session. I've got a hundred dollars off right now. So it's$ 395, y'all. You spent that much on American Eagle sweaters for a kid at Christmas, and those are going to last about a year unless they loan them to a friend and then ain't never going to see those again past February. So the return on this 395 at 90 minutes that you're going to spend with me, I can guarantee will last you a lifetime. So if you were to get with me and get really clear on who you are and what you're great at and how to use those gifts and talents to add more value, relevance, and impact, I would love, love, love to help you with that. And then sit down with your stakeholders, internal or external, and ask the questions, what problems do you have right now? How can I serve you better? How can I increase my value? Get to know the money making model of the organization so that you know how to make an impact. And you know what? You don't usually have to go and start a program or ask permission, just do the damn thing. People rarely get in trouble for adding more value. If you do, that's a different conversation for another day. And call me and we can talk about it. But just do the damn thing. Go add more value, because you know what happens to your own sense of wellbeing and engagement when you know that you're adding more value, that you're more relevant and making a bigger impact? Y'all, that just feels better. That's when you lay your head down at night knowing you're thriving, not striving, which is another callback to a concept in my book. I want that for you because I know that I've been in both situations. I've been in the striving situation where you lay your head down the pillow at the end of the day and you think, " Oh, for the love of God, do I have to get up and do that again tomorrow?" And I'm in and I've been in that situation where you lay your head down at night still tired from doing the work. Because that's who we are and that's what we do. But also feeling that deep sigh and sense of satisfaction that you made a difference today and you're going to get up and you're going to make a difference tomorrow. And y'all, that's the shit. That's the smizzle. That's where it's at. And I want that for you. And if you are a leader listening to this today, I can help you help your employees have more of that. Bottom line is this is not the time to sit around bitching about the economy. Stop. So that's my challenge to you today. Go out, increase your VRI and then message me and tell me how it went. And maybe, gosh, what if you have such a significant experience with this and you messaged me and you said, " Rebecca, guess what happened?" And I hear your story and I say, " Oh my goodness, come be on the show and tell us about it. Tell the stories and inspiring others to do the same." Hell, we could probably fix the economy with that. Let's try. inaudible
Cameron Hession: I'm not coming down. I never left it on the ground. I'm not coming down. I want to go higher, higher, higher, higher than this.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Thanks for listening to this episode. I would love it if you would leave a rating and review on Apple Podcast and then go to Wethrive. live. First thing you'll see is a place to drop your email and join the movement. I'll send you tools that you can use to thrive in life and business.
Cameron Hession: I'm not coming down.
Rebecca Fleetwood Hession: Hey y'all, fun fact. Did you like the music for the podcast? That is actually my son, Cameron Hessian. And I would love it if you would go to Spotify and iTunes and follow him and download some of his other music. My personal favorite's TV Land.
With the potential of another recession looming over us, it isn't easy to know how we should navigate this situation. Warren Buffett's advice for protecting yourself from inflation is to invest in yourself. Coincidentally, this idea aligns with Rebecca's messaging already! This idea of investing in yourself is exactly what we need to keep in mind while we grow into the best versions of ourselves. Today, Rebecca shares her framework on maximizing your VRI, Value, Relevance, and Impact to take us to the next step of our better selves. Listen now!
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- How to protect yourself against inflation
- What is VRI?
- The importance of handoffs in your organization
Connect with Rebecca: