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Adopt a "Management Value Added" Mindset

The concept of Management Value Added (MVA) is based on a simple question that you should ask whenever you’re making a decision about how to invest your time and energy: "What value does management add?"

One way to start using the concept of MVA is by sitting down with your boss to discuss his or her explicit needs (the ones written down as part of the company’s strategy or the division’s official mandate). It shouldn’t take long for the two of you to agree on what those explicit needs are and to prioritize them appropriately. Then ask your boss, "How do you feel I can add the most value?" If your boss responds, "Huh?" you can flesh out the query with additional questions like these:

  • "What are the activities where I’m contributing the most?"
  • "What are the activities that you and the company most need me to do?"
  • "What do you consider to be the best and most productive use of my time?"
  • "What do you think is the special contribution that I’m best positioned to offer to you and the company?"
  • "Of all the things that I’m engaged in on behalf of this company, what are the three areas where you believe that I can contribute the most?"

Listen carefully to your boss’s responses. Using those answers as a guide, you can begin to understand exactly how your boss views your contributions. It’s quite likely that the way he or she measures your value is different from the way you might measure it.

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