I work in the field of information technology (IT). Technically, before we start any IT project, we do what is called IT business analysis.
This is precursor phase to project management—concerned with understanding the business need or problem that the intended IT project seeks to address.
One of the key components of IT business analysis is to methodically justify why the project is necessary. Usually, such a justification is in terms of the financial benefits that the project brings to the company or organisation.
This means that the total money spent on the project should be less than the money expected to be saved or generated as a result of the output from the project being implemented.
Of course, exceptions are allowed. Some projects may have no direct financial benefits but are justified on the basis of other compelling going concern reasons like the need to comply with some regulatory requirements. Another exception would be where the project is done purely to support some other strategic objective of the business and a few other allowed exceptions.
Let us now turn to our jobs. Do you have a business case for the existence of your job? Does your being there add more value than the total cost of your employment, including not just your salary but the utilities you consume and the cost of providing all supporting, administrative and human resource services towards you?
Can you measure your impact and compare it with the total cost incurred because of your being there in the company or organisation?
Not everyone will return a positive answer. Some employees will conduct this analysis and realise that they are in fact just draining company resources without adding much value.
The easy cases are those of sales and sometimes marketing staff. Most of these employees can directly measure the amount of money they make for their employers every month or year. However, if you carefully list your activities and determine their impact, you will be able to estimate how much value you bring to your company even for those jobs not in the direct revenue making lines.
The underlying message here is that we all need to be constantly conscious that by drawing a salary every month, we are consuming resources and the money of the owners or shareholders of the company that we work for.
We, therefore, have a big obligation to return the favour a number of times. If we do not do this, we contribute to the disorder in the world. As responsible citizens of our country and world, we have an obligation to contribute positively towards the world order.
A few years ago, I had a friend who was in charge of setting up a brand new commercial division for his company. He was a very visionary, spirited, organised and hardworking executive. He assembled a great team and had great business development plans for the project.
Unfortunately, results were slow to come by and this was no reflection on his effort and zeal. He kept complaining and expressing guilt on the fact that he and his team were drawing much more cost than the money they were making. It was pleasing to see that after many months of hard work, he began to see great results of his sweat and he gained much more satisfaction in what he was doing.
I have big respect for this friend. I have met very few people that think so deeply about the impact that they are personally making in their job. Can we all spend time once in a while to reflect on and examine the value of our impact in the jobs we are employed to do?
This way, we will be able to identify ways of maximising our impact and therefore, our superiors will be more delighted with our working for them. Responsible employers should be able to reward such a dramatic change—but even if they do not reward, do not do good only because you expect good in turn.
Do good for its own sake. Good luck as you measure the impact that you make in your job!