Communication essentials: value-adding by subtracting

I have some shocking news for you: I am not very good at math. I know, I know. A communications professional that isn’t good at math. I’m jealous of those of us who can speak the universal language of numbers so well.

And to those of you who fall into that category, forgive the nature of today’s topic because it probably doesn’t make sense mathematically. But it works.

Today … we’re talking about (value) adding by subtracting.

I’ve been thinking about a way to talk about this for a while now. The term ‘value removal’ was cool at first and then I was like ‘oh, wait, that sounds bad.’ Then I thought about value subtraction. Bleh. So finally I just accepted I wouldn’t come up with a snappy term and, instead, decided to write about what I meant. What a novel approach.

Value-add is everywhere in business. Whether you’re an employee, a vendor, a partner, supplier … you get the point. Our thought, naturally, is people want more for less. Or for nothing. More. What are you doing for me? What value are you adding or bringing to the table?

I appreciate the thinking behind that because our team takes a lot of pride in the value they bring to our clients, and every relationship really. But you know what sounds terrifying to today’s client? And a lot of people in the markets we’re in? Adding anything to anything. They’d rather know what you’re removing from their day-to-day. What are you taking off their plates? How are you simplifying things for them?

Yeah, it’s great that you’re bringing me an idea. Or some thinking. But sometimes … sometimes people don’t have the time to get to that. So instead … shift the thinking when it comes to a value-add. Don’t bring. Take. Don’t add. Remove. Don’t push extra ideas. Pull from those you are trying to help. Sometimes you need to take a covered dish to the party. Sometimes you need to go early and help clean. Right now, in our worlds, our clients and customers need some extra hands.

Adding. By subtracting. A formula we can all understand.