Despite our current inflationary climate, the labor market remains strong. As such, it’s essential to have a strong command of your personal market value and the ability to determine the market value of others. When assessing personal market value, you can see it as a three-tiered cake. The first tier is the Foundational Rings, composed of the Core, Personal, and Professional levels.
The Core consists of one’s significant relationships and social ecosystems. If those aspects of a person’s life lack support and stability, they will not be able to show up professionally, no matter how talented or dedicated they are. Therefore, it’s essential to look inward and determine if the relationships in your home life enable you to succeed. If they aren’t, you need to work with your family and friends to improve and elevate those relationships for consistency.
Next up in the Core area is the Personal level. It entails your commitment to lifelong education, spiritual grounding, and unshakable values. Successful people constantly strive to learn, and more importantly, they know how to learn best. Take a moment to reflect on your learning preferences. Are you a visual learner? Or do you prefer to learn from a textbook? Not being able to answer that question quickly will seriously impact your ability to adapt to adversity. This also makes for a great interview question. If your candidate hasn’t defined their learning preference, it may prove challenging to onboard them and smoothly integrate them into your team. The same goes for knowing what grounds you, spiritually or otherwise, and listing the principles you live by.
The Professional level takes the Personal level a step further. It is your business acumen, presence, and ability to deal with ambiguity. Strong professionals play to their strengths and dedicate themselves to shoring up their weaknesses. You need to be aware of your professional strengths and growing edges and ask the people you surround yourself with to tell you honestly where you thrive and where you need to improve.
Value Accelerants is the second tier of the cake, composed of the Financial, Relational, and Brand rings. The Financial ring is exactly how it sounds; it’s where you keep track of your quantifiable metrics like P&L performances and compensation benchmarks. You need to be able to identify the financial highlight of your career. It’s not about the number itself but the accountability and confidence in your experience or the experience of your prospective hires. Compensation benchmarks are also integral in defining your personal market value. This metric will align individuals with opportunities they’re on par with and helps employers better determine their talent pool.
Professional relationships are critical to your personal market value. The breadth and depth of your relationships can make or break the growth of your career. The Relational level may seem trivial if you feel strongly about your skills and work ethic, but it does transcend educational background and professional pedigree.
The last level of the Value Accelerants is the Brand. This is the articulation of your vision and digital savviness and is how those around you perceive you. List out the two or three things you want everybody in your circle to identify you with. Do your words and actions embody those identifiers? This ring is related closely to your unshakable values and reflects whether you are true to those values. If you don’t feel confident that the people in your circles would all have the same answer when asked to describe you with two to three words, your personal brand needs strengthening.
On top of the cake is the final tier, your Growth Enablers—resilience, Relevance, and S-Curve. Resilience is measured by your ability to navigate turbulent and unpredictable times. Being able to steady the wheel and weather the storm needs to be part of your personal market value. How confident are you in your ability to identify the top three trends in your industry you anticipate impacting your success? Someone who uses the past to inform their future is much more valuable than someone who gets lost in hindsight.
Related to Resilience is Relevance. Someone with high market value can go beyond reflection and synthesize their observations into unique and valuable insights. Staying on top of industry trends and consuming the most up-to-date information will show that you are dedicated to evolving. Aside from professional relevancy, are you leading a dynamic and exciting personal life? All work and no play make a person dull. A multi-faceted person who has mastered both worlds is far more attractive than someone who can only talk shop.
The final level is the S-Curve. Visualizing personal and professional growth and identifying specific milestones and pain points shows self-awareness and an intent to master one’s destiny. Can you identify your plateau stages before you begin to decline so you can invest in the next phase of your personal growth? The most successful among us can confidently and honestly say yes and are constantly growing.
If you want to come out on top of the war for talent, you must clearly define your value to find the position in which you’ll have the most significant impact. When you master each cake tier, your personal brand will become irrefutable, and your personal market value will skyrocket.
So, how much are you really worth in the market today? But, more importantly, what has to elevate your personal market value?