Your unique value proposition is what makes you stand out from all your peers who are just as talented, work just as hard and deliver results. It’s the value that only you can bring to deliver strategic impact to the business. It’s your promotion superpower.
“Success is adding value to the world through your unique gifts”Lewis Howes
This week, I want to share my story of how I’ve used my unique value proposition to grow my career to the executive level in technology.
A Dream Come True, or Was It?
The year 2000 was a real turning point for my career in technology. I’d been chosen along with another colleague to evaluate C# and .net for Credit Suisse. This was a new approach by Microsoft who usually ran MS office-based product evaluations with its corporate clients, but this was the first time for its software development stack.
As a senior, ambitious and passionate software developer, this seemed like a dream come true. I got the opportunity to solve a business problem using a bleeding-edge technology, interact with some of the best product engineering product managers globally, and visit the Microsoft campus in Seattle several times.
But instead of enjoying this unique opportunity, I started to disengage.
I realised that I no longer wanted to be a hard-core software developer cutting code all day. I wanted something else, but what?
So, after the evaluation finished and my daughter’s birth in 2001, I decided to take a career break to re-evaluate my future and spend some precious time bonding with my daughter.
An Aggressive Career Goal
After a long break, I started to engage and interview with the banks again with the end goal of becoming a technology executive.
After interviews with several different banks, I decided to take a job back at Credit Suisse, initially as a senior software developer/team lead but with their commitment to helping me grow into more senior leadership positions.
To get promoted to the next leadership level (Director), HR set a minimum of 3 years. I, therefore, set myself the aggressive goal of being promoted in 3 years.
To do this, though, I had to understand how I could stand out. What could I offer Credit Suisse that my peers couldn’t – what was my unique value proposition?
My Promotion Superpower
Ever since I can remember, I have loved creating and building relationships, and I was good at it.
I also knew that through building these relationships at work, I’d always learned what I needed to do to deliver strategic impact to my clients. When I did this, I was always rewarded with further opportunities to grow.
My new role was that of team lead for a new strategic front to back application. Each team lead was asked to focus on different business units.
I quickly started to build a relationship with my new clients, understand their current issues and create visibility and buy-in for the new application. My goal was to become their go-to, trusted technology partner.
I discovered that the business was exploding, but the volume was capped due to manual capture, validation, and error-prone processes. My clients were often in the office until 9 pm each weekday and worked the weekends to keep up with the capped volume.
I presented this to my boss, who took this to the programme governance board. The board decided this should be the first business onboarded to the new application.
As with any new strategic system, they were teething issues with the rollout. I, however, made sure I was front and centre, helping my clients overcome any problems they had.
As my reputation grew as a trusted business partner, I was asked to take on more business units, and eventually, my career grew to take on my boss’s role, and I was promoted to director.
It was one year later than my goal, but from that day on, I realised that my unique value proposition was one of the core practices that enabled career success.
What’s your unique value proposition, and how can you use it to generate strategic impact for the organisation and grow your career?