In today’s world, to out-delight your clients and to out-think and out-perform your competitors, you must be obsessed with adding more value than anyone else is adding in the marketplace. 

 However in spite of this sincere intent and desire to “add massive value”, we can sometimes miss the mark completely in executing on our intent. 

 Outlined below are the 4 common mistakes I observe (and sometimes make!) when wanting to create value for others: 

#1 – Not appreciating their specific situation 

 A good idea shared at the wrong time is a bad idea. There is a time and a place for everything – and knowing that requires a deeper understanding of someone’s situation. To uncover someone’s situation, explore answers to questions such as: 

  • What are their current circumstances?
  • What life stage are they at? 
  • What is important to them at this point of time? What isn’t?  
  • Where is their head space at? 
  • What is their level of readiness to receive new perspectives? 

#2 – Not deeply understanding what value means to someone else

Plato, the famous greek philosopher and mathematician once said, “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”…I think this notion applies to value as well – what is of value to one person may not necessarily be of value to another, or worse still, may be a waste of their time! 

To determine what is valuable to another, ask directly: What would be of value to you?

#3 – Not appreciating their influencing style 

To influence someone, in addition to understanding someone’s situation and what value represents to them, you also need to know their influencing style e.g. what will compel them to take notice of what you have to share, and most importantly, do something about it. This requires knowing answers to questions such as: 

  • How do they think?
  • How do they like to receive insights?
  • What will trigger them to act? What will sustain that action?
  • Consider how they influence others: to what extent does this mirror how they like to be influenced?

#4 – Not stepping into the “unrecognised” needs space

Before the first iPad came out in April 2010, I didn’t even know that I needed it so badly…having bought every single model since then, it is both a must-want and a desperate need – I can’t live without it!

 I’m glad that Apple pre-empted my future needs and wants, and produced something that has enhanced the quality of my life. I’m also glad they didn’t wait for me to articulate my needs that I had no clue about!

 To get beyond someone’s wants and talk about their needs, especially the unrecognised ones, requires heart and courage and perhaps even a healthy level of constructive arrogance! But if we are clear about someone’s situation, their notion of value and their influencing style, and when we are truly about serving someone (rather than pleasing them), then we need to be bold about sharing our insights about their unrecognised needs.