Every year it’s my ritual to take off from work, join other professionals, and meet at a university for two days to share our corporate experience with undergraduate students.
As my trademark routine, I love to engage the young group and gain insight on their future aspirations. Yet, I am saddened by the lack of student preparation for future employment opportunities. Many of these students are graduating seniors who are not ready for the harsh realities of life (your parents won’t be able to sustain you forever).
Furthermore, most students are unaware of current events, how to utilize their career center, and what to do to gain the attention of prospective employers.
Yes, I understand them! College is fun with few obligations and adult responsibilities for the average traditional student. It’s an opportunity to live like an adult without any sever consequences due to the fact that parents will continue to fund their college experiences and bail them out of most situations.
The problem is that today’s college students cannot afford to be unfocused during this economic crisis. If they are to be employed and enjoy life, college students, as well as most of us, must understand the upmost importance of creating value to our customers.
An advanced education can create value for prospective employees. According to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce study, a college degree adds 84% to salary over a lifetime versus just a high school diploma. Individuals need to realize that like corporations they must understand their customers in order to build value for them.
This concept isn’t easy because customers want different things. Value is defined as the net bundle of benefits the customer derives from a product or service. Value creation focuses on an organization’s ability to convey the worth of its product or service to customers.
Leaders must be attuned to value creation if a flow down is to take place throughout the value chain. This is true even for new leaders. Michael Watkins, author of The First 90 Days, maintains that effective leadership seeks to add value as much as possible.
Watkins explains, “The breakeven point is the point at which new leaders have contributed as much value to their new organizations as they have consumed from it….new leaders are net consumers of value early on; as they learn and begin to take action, they begin to create value.”
John Gamble and Arthur Thompson, authors of Essentials of Strategic Management, further explored the concept of value as a strategic advantage. Businesses can create unique capabilities and valuable resources that rivals can’t easily duplicate. This includes companies launching a variety of strategies including low-cost, differentiation, or niche. The authors suggest, “Resource-based strategies may be used in tandem with any of the three strategic approaches…and are keyed to delivering customer value in ways rivals are unable to match.”
Regardless of the industry, value creations needs to be the cornerstone of any business strategy. What’s important to the customer should be important to the businesses. College students, looking for future employment, should always keep this in mind in their job preparation. If individuals keep the concepts of value creation in their mindset, they will be able to overcome many of the disruptive changes to come.
How does value creation relate to sustainability for today’s leaders?
© 2011 by Daryl D. Green