Developing a value proposition is one of the most important exercises one can do in a sales or marketing role. Clearly defining the value one can offer to the intended customer base and the ways in which they are superior to competitors’ offerings is the foundation for all messaging and outreach. Similarly, HR teams also develop an Employee Value Proposition to articulate the benefits of joining the organization and is used to attract and retain talent. For both the organizational and employee version of the value proposition, it really boils down to defining the essence of the organization and what it can offer in return for commitment/loyalty as a customer or employee. Additionally, the thought process required to develop a value proposition forces the organization to take a hard look at what it really offers and how it compares to competitors. Naturally, in the process of ensuring the Value Proposition is competitive, that also creates clear pathways for improvement.
If the old adage is true- people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers, then shouldn’t leaders make defining their Leadership Value Proposition a priority? Leaders should apply the same rigor to their Leadership Value Proposition as the company does when creating the Employee Value Proposition.
- What do you offer as a leader that sets you apart?
- What values and beliefs do you hold that drive your behaviors?
- What is your vision for the future of your team and the individuals who comprise your team?
Each of these questions is important for anyone considering joining your team, but often is overshadowed by the role-related questions that dominate the selection process. In your next interview, put yourself first. Spend as much time articulating the value of working for you as you do articulating the benefits offered by the organization.
To start developing your Leadership Value Proposition, ask yourself ‘Why should anyone want to be led by you?’ This is often a difficult question to answer for humble leaders, so it can be helpful to ask for feedback from current or former employees, peers, superiors, and career coaches. Take time to reflect on your successes and challenges as a leader. What patterns can be identified? For example, have you successfully hired and promoted several employees identified as High Potential? Then, perhaps part of your LVP is your ability to identify talent and ensure they are noticed and given formal development/stretch assignment opportunities. Or perhaps you give employees space to create innovative solutions, and therefore part of your LVP is giving employees the opportunity to create something of their own.
Defining your Leadership Value Proposition certainly requires some introspection and honesty. What is your reputation? Are you seen as successful, inspiring, committed, or demanding? As you craft your LVP, it can also be helpful to take some personality assessments to gather additional insight into your work styles and motivators. These additional data points can help you connect the dots between what you’re known for and why. You may be seen as an inclusive leader, and your personality assessment results could validate that by showing that you are open to new ideas and value diverse backgrounds and experiences.
Once you craft a clear definition of who you are as a leader, take time to target that message for the kind of person you want to hire. A Value Proposition in a sales context is only effective when it takes into account the needs/perspective of the prospective customer. Finally, once your Leadership Value Proposition is finalized, publicize it. Print it out and put it where you’ll see it every day as a reminder to fulfill your commitment to your team.