Hey you, Techie.
Yes, you. I have a question for you. Are you a value-add to your company?
“Of course I add value. I know 17 languages, 8 operating systems, can work with 12 databases, can install, configure, and maintain any software application under the sun, and I spend all day in the cloud. I add tremendous value.”
Well, not really. How do you use your skills to add value?
All those things show how much knowledge you have, what skills you possess, but has nothing to do with the value you add. Adding value for most technical people involves doing the one thing that doesn’t happen as often as it should.
Talking to your colleagues.
How often do you see people in a dimly lit room/office working away, with hardly any interaction with other teams or even their own team members. Getting your work done is not adding value, it is expected. Sharing knowledge is how you can begin to add value, and can also lead to learning something new. What good is it to know 17 languages, when you can’t/don’t help mentor a junior developer, or lead a discussion about the latest code release to colleagues outside of your team.
Adding value is not just for the individual, make sure your team is adding value as well. When teams talk problems get solved and things get understood. It does not require a long drawn meeting to accomplish this, but it does require effort in ensuring that communication channels are open and being used effectively.
Don’t allow a status meeting to be the only time you are interacting with others, and don’t underestimate your ability to add value.