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ROV Coaching: Gain Return on your Values

ROV Coaching: Gain Return on your Values

‘Values’ may be one of the most frequently used words we hear today, and yet bringing our values to the forefront of everything we do still does not happen as much as it should for our own good and well-being.

The ironic part about this is that we can’t turn them off; we don’t leave our values at work, or keep them only at home. Our values come with us wherever we go, and in whatever we do, for our values determine our behavior.

Considering they are always part of your psyche and your inner power, how much do you get out of your values on a daily basis? What is your usual ROV, your Return on Values?

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Most of us will answer that whatever it is now, we’d like it to be higher, for values are inherently good by nature. If I share a simple listing of universally held values with you, you’d likely say that you want to have them all!

There is a simple exercise I do with people to help them get the highest possible return on their own values. It has the added benefit of focusing on their strengths, and connecting the two. This is what we do:

1. Out of a list of 46 different values, they will choose the 7 they feel the strongest about, the ones that first seem to jump off the page at them as the ones they want to be able to feel a closer connection to. These are the values they want to invest in for a return.

2. Next to those 7, we’ll write a very simple action they will commit to doing, that is connected to that value andto one of their strengths. For example:

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Humility and Modesty. “Self-reflection is one of my strengths, by nature I think before I speak. Today I will focus on the opportunity to give credit where credit is due to someone else sincerely, consciously shaping my demeanor of humility and modesty.”

Appreciation and Gratitude. “I am perceptive at picking out those basic elements which make processes work. Today, I will focus on the people connections in those basic elements, and be sure I voice my appreciation and gratitude to those involved.”

Health and Balance. “Once I decide to do something, I have great stick-to-it-ness; tenacity is my strength. Today I am clearing my morning schedule to begin that yoga program I’ve had my eye on but haven’t yet taken action to start.”

3. Next we’ll assign each VSA (value-strength action) to a day in the coming week, choosing the day it makes the most sense to do it because of the complete day’s framing of all other activities, i.e. we set them up for their best chance of success. On that particular day, that VSA will be their priority to complete.

4. They keep score. From week to week they count up the simple hashmarks they put next to the letters VSA on their calendar. VSA/7= their ROV for the week.

Try it, and you’ll see what a great sense of accomplishment you get. There will be supreme satisfaction in those VSA hashmarks you make! Here’s the list of 46 values you can choose from. ValueList4Lifehack.org

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Postscript: Help me collect positive, affirming values for my list would you? Drop a comment here if you think of a value I haven’t included.

Related reading:
Ho‘omau: Reveal Strengths and Talents
Let’s define “values.”

Rosa Say is the author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business and the Talking Story blog. She is also the founder and head coach of Say Leadership Coaching, a company dedicated to bringing nobility to the working arts of management and leadership.

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Rosa’s Previous Thursday Column was: A Brave Email Experiment.

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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