Project Management

Take It Personal: Value-based Culture

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Many years ago, I had a performance review where my manager, who was a senior vice president of a large company so should have had a handle on leadership, said to me “I think you think I don’t value your contribution. I do, but I don’t know why." That’s stuck with me because of the message it sent. After working for her for a year she wasn’t sure how I delivered value to her department, or the organization as a whole. Sure, it’s nice that she recognized I added value, but that was small consolation for the lack of understanding of how.

There’s an important lesson here for leaders, and it’s what I want to explore in this article.

Leaders need to create a culture based on value for their teams, ensuring that everyone understands what their role is, how their work contributes to the organization’s success, and how they as individuals deliver value. The distinction between work value and personal value is an important one. Organizations have become better at explaining to project teams how the project they are working on creates value for the business. That focus on business value has been an important part of the expansion of portfolio management and the empowerment of project teams, but it doesn’t address individual employee value.

By focusing on the value of the work that is done, the organization sends a …

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"Experience is a comb which nature gives to men when they are bald."

- Chinese Proverb