Difficult situations like slowdown force organizations/managers to do cost-benefit analysis. Salary you are paid is a cost and what you do in the organization for that cost generates value.
Value has two components – tangible and intangible.
Tangible value (easier to visualize) is explicit knowledge of subject (e.g. knowledge of .NET programming or software testing), revenue, efficiencies, numbers etc. This is important.
Intangible value (which is also hard to visualize) is tacit knowledge, knowledge on processes, knowledge on how to deal with typical situations/clients, attitude, different ways of doing things, workarounds etc. This is hard to visualize and measure. But impact of this value is huge.
So from organization/manager’s standpoint – it is important to see value as a sum-total of tangible and intangible value that someone brings on board while rewarding or hiring.
In this regards, I loved what Seth Godin has written in his post “What are you good at?”. He writes about explicit versus tacit knowledge. Crux is that explicit knowledge on subject can be easily learnt. Tacit knowledge only comes with experience within and outside the organizations. There are no shortcuts to acquire tacit knowledge.
Seth Godin writes:
As you consider marketing yourself for your next gig, consider the difference between process and content.
Content is domain knowledge. People you know or skills you’ve developed. Playing the piano or writing copy about furniture sales. A rolodex of movers in a given industry, or your ability to compute stress ratios in your head.
Domain knowledge is important, but it’s (often) easily learnable.
Process, on the other hand, refers to the emotional intelligence skills you have about managing projects, visualizing success, persuading other people of your point of view, dealing with multiple priorities, etc. This stuff is insanely valuable and hard to learn. Unfortunately, it’s usually overlooked by headhunters and HR folks, partly because it’s hard to accredit or check off in a database.
Knowing difference between explicit and tacit aspects of one’s knowledge is very crucial from an individual standpoint.
I can easily relate contents of this post with Tom Peter’s saying “Hard is soft. Soft is Hard.” More elaboration on this in the next post.
Have a fantastic weekend!