Early in your career, you were focused on learning the technical part of your job. You learned it by performing a service. Check lists, work papers and review notes made it possible for you to become competent to provide a service. Your work has value.
Then you discovered that the knowledge and experience you gained gives you the ability to solve problems. When your clients need more than the prescribed procedures associated with the service, you find that you can take what you know and apply it to a problem to solve it. Your work has greater value.
For too many, they believe that solving problems is the pinnacle. No offense, but all your competitors solve problems too and are as good or better than you are. Even though you are esteemed in your firm and with your clients, it’s not enough. There is another level of value.
The third level is where you take a step back to get a big picture view of the situation and see what is going on to produce the problems in the first place. You examine how a problem came to be, what it’s related to, who it involves, why it persists or repeats and the inputs that sustain the it. When you apply that level of thinking, you enter into new territory. It’s more than solving problems using your technical competence—it’s getting to the root of the problems. Now your work has the greatest value.
Solution contributions are what your clients want. There is no fee resistance. They involve you in the important discussions. They are receptive to your recommendations. This should occupy your thinking about your clients; not how you’re going to get their compliance work done.
This week, engage at least one of your clients in a highest-level-of-value conversation and see for yourself how much they appreciate it. If you do, you will always have a job because clients will seek you out.