A simple definition of relevance is the “relation to the matter at hand.“
“So what,” one might say. Well, experience and information is supporting that unless we ensure our relevance to a person, a department, a team, an organization, we can pretty much call it a day and move on.
What does it mean to ensure relevance? It means four steps…
- Ascertain your current roles, responsibilities and relationships. All too often, we become immersed, no let me rephrase that, we become entrenched in a position or a part that we play so deeply that we lose sight of what is important. Clearly assessing our current functions and tasks can help to establish how we are establishing our relevance to the situations that we find ourselves in. Once this step is done, we can move forward armed with valuable information. Now, we know what we can bring to the game, the job, the partnership.
- Create clarity around what is important. And let’s try something novel – a friend in a recent conversation really helped me with this – start with yourself first. This is the time for you to fully understand what you want and need to ensure that your mental and physical energy and are souls are important to the matters at hand. After we appreciate our own wants and needs, then and only then can we start to fully appreciate what is important to others. Now, we can start asking better questions, sharing relevant information, talent and energy.
- Transform through thoughtful action. Setting goals is a way of life. In fact, goals are set all the time most of the time without thought and definitely without any consideration for the planned actions that will help accomplish that goal. Investing thinking time up front can and will save tons of time. We can ensure relevance when we go into an interview, a response to an “request for proposal” (RFP), an evaluation or meeting with at the very least a well-defined plan of action that can positively ensure successful outcomes.
- Sustain relevance. This last step involves consistent, ongoing, critical evaluation. The quality of what we evaluate is much more important then the quantity of what we are measuring. Sure we may have only made two mistakes, but the mistakes cost thousands of dollars or one or two priceless relationship. On the other hand, perhaps we have 50 clients but each of them only generates $500. Can a business survive on $25,000 or would changing the quality and the service and now the company commands $5000 per client and generates $250,000? Measuring and monitoring tasks, products, services, experiences – you decide what you want to measure, just be sure that it is meaningful.
Ascertaining, creating clarity, transforming and sustaining are approaches that can ensure relevance, that there is a “relationship to the matter or situation at hand” if you choose. The choice is yours.