How to Add Value When You Know Nothing

If you’re struggling with how to add value at your company, then at every meeting you go to, be the person who takes notes and sends them out to everyone who was at the meeting.  Be sure to include what specific decisions were made, what the next steps are, and most importantly, who the single person who is accountable for any follow-up items.  And if you’re unclear about any of these, most likely someone (or everyone) else is as well. Don’t let the meeting end without asking (translation: demanding) for clarification.

And then here is the kicker, check back after the appropriate period of time to see if what was supposed to happen afterwards actually did happen.

There is are an immeasurable number of meetings that happen each day where the ball gets dropped because a) people weren’t clear about who was supposed to do what; and b) people just didn’t get done what they were supposed to do.

So there you go – you can know nothing about a business and can still add massive value.

By the way, if you don’t have someone in your org or in specific meetings who is assigned to do this (whether you, a project manager, note taker, assistant, intern, chief of staff, or your spouse), it might be one of the highest ROI roles you can fill.  And as you can tell, they don’t even know about your business to be effective in this role.

But watch out, they may start to learn your business and who gets stuff done – better than anyone else. You might even need to find a new role (gasp!) for them as you learn what more they can do.

Luckily, the next person you have to hire to replace them doesn’t need to know much about your business to be effective…


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Caith Chapman
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Reader Interactions


  1. Marc Osgood says

    Hey Babak!

    I stumbled across your website after reading the Linkedin post mentioning your presence in Forbes.

    Read a few blog posts and loved the value of the information and the easy to read writing. This article (bringing value without knowing anything) is a great tip.

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