You Are Either Adding Value or Subtracting Value

What’s Your Case For A Raise?

In this month’s View From The Q Blog Post– ASQ CEO Paul Borawski writes:

If you accept the premise that you get paid what you’re worth (and it’s not always true) I wonder what you’d tell your boss you did in the last year to increase your value to the organization. Tell me about results.  Customers more satisfied, revenue enhanced, money saved, waste reduced, lives saved, or risks managed.  What’s your case for a raise?

To quote my friend and colleague from my “other” Professional Home, ISPI, Dale Brethower, Ph.D.:

You Are Either Adding Value or Subtracting Value

And if you are adding enough additional value – then maybe there ought to be some gain-sharing. Maybe.


As always, it depends.

01-LiMl 66155-Lessons_in_Maki-sfull

Maybe you or the function or the enterprise or the industry or the regional economy is up now…

… but recently been down – way down, and still in the hole – depending on who is tracking metrics, including returns (or losses) of the owners, shareholders, what have you, up is relative and not quite above ground yet.

Maybe what looks like up is down, still down.

As always, it depends.

You need to understand your own Value Proposition – against “the Needs” of you job, as related to all of the processes, of the entire enterprise – and how much additional value you deliver against your costs. Your fully loaded costs. Something well above your take home pay (handed over via EDI or not). And then there is Society. What have you done for Society lately?

But I digress.

Asking for, expecting, or worrying over a future raise is the concern of many. You have financial obligations, bills to pay, things to save for, etc. So we all generally would like to be paid more. But that’s not the place to start. And if that is where you started, back up one step.

You either are a great fit – for your job, your processes, etc. – or you are not.

Seek happiness elsewhere, as hard as that advice might be to fathom, let alone actually do. That may be best for all in the long run, and then starting sooner rather than later would also be best.

Back to wanting a raise – and how to approach that- and then what to do if it isn’t enough (in your mind) – and what to do if you don’t get one.

So…the issue, has generic steps – some big differences as each person personalizes this – framework – as I see it, and the generic steps if you will are:

  1. Wanting One – But Being Specific
  2. Approaches
  3. Response If Offerred Less Than Expected
  4. Response if Offered Nothing
  5. Seek Happiness Elsewhere

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1-Wanting One

If you are adding enough additional value – you need to make sure that others, those in charge of your compensation adjustments, recognize that fact. It comes down to one number or many – and you need to understand your number or numbers in terms of your net gain contribution to the enterprise processes your job sits into.

But you need to have some idea of what you are asking for, in monetary terms. $100 more a month, a week, a day? And you need to know the going rate in your geography – unless you job is 100% virtual, etc. Lots to think about in this step. What do you want, why and is that reasonable – or ludacris?

How much and why.

2- Approaches

But you cannot “hit them over the head with it” or “whine” about it.

You’ve got to be a little more nuanced about it all – IMO. Let your voice be heard – don’t clam up. But do it right.

And what you really needs to do is first think about your immediate ideas about approach – and ask yourself if that approach fits the culture of you enterprise and/or function/ department, etc.

What is the “tested-and-true” approach used by others to discussing raises and responsibilities and performance – yours, in those responsibilities.

And – DO NOT DISCUSS THIS with anyone from the workplace, or has connections back to the workplace. For then whatever you say will most likely get back to the workplace. Unless that was part of your approach – to let the office rumor mill carry your message about your desire/want/need/demand for a raise.

But I think a more direct approach- in terms of who you converse with and how – versus how you do that conversing.

Don’t Rock the Boat.

But Paddle the Boat Correctly/ Appropriately in terms of your style – and timing – and pacing.

And whatever else is important in your context.

3- Response If Offered Less Than Expected

This is a tough point in the process, where you have a fairly tough choice.

Accept this reality – or see Step 5.

4- Response If Offered Nothing

This is a tough point in the process, where you have the toughest choice.

Accept this reality – or see Step 5.

5- Seek Happiness Elsewhere

Maybe in the same ole, function, industry. If that’s some of what you bring, knowledge, skill and performance competence-wise, to a job.

But perhaps it’s time to leave this place.

Re-review/ rethink/reexamine your options.

Do you have any feasible options. That lead to your happiness, job satisfaction, personal situation needs for money and other compatibility issues, etc., etc.

But if it’s all about the money and paying bills right now, can you get a second job, part-time? Change your spending habits?Live on a stricter budget, deliberately.

Or seek happiness elsewhere?

But know what you bring to the table, in the Quality/ Performance Improvement world. Know what you can contribute and how that converts to Value Add.

And at which levels – you can see which metrics – are improving.

Societal – Enterprise – Process – Individual Performance

No matter which “neck of the woods” you do your Quality/Performance Improvement gig in or come from, you are operating and affecting one or more of the 4 levels of Performance:

  • The Worker – Individual Performance
  • The Work – Process  Performance
  • The Workplace – Organziation/ Enterprise  Performance
  • The World – Society/ Social Responsibility Performance

4Ws or MOPP List of HPT Things 2011 11

The trick – I think – and it’s not really a trick – is to Measure the before and after any Quality/ Performance Improvement initiative.

Start with an accepted baseline of results. Do your thing. And then measure the new results.

What Are Your Measured Results?

Then share what you accomplished and how you did that – internally – and externally if you can – considering that you may wish to expand your alternatives for “seeking happiness elsewhere” – as your situation might dictate.

Ask yourself before you write anything up – and think through:

  • What are you adding to the Top and/or Bottom Line? How do others perceive that?
  • What are your options to seek happiness elsewhere? How do others perceive that?

Do not do what several teenagers in my life have done: tell me what you are going to do – and expecting me to be impressed with that – or worse – to reward THAT before you moved off of square one.

Focus on Performance Post-It Note slide

That’s my thinking: earn it before you get it. I’ve known plenty of people in my 30+ years in business who thought they should be paid for it before asked to do it. Don’t be there – in that space with that type of thinking.

Sometimes you just have to wait out the situation in your Enterprise – if for some reason/reasons there are no raises to give out.

And sometimes that leads to tough choices. To seek happiness elsewhere – or to be satisfied with what you are doing work-wise – and how you are being compensated for it.

It’s not “all about the money.”

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