Be Aspirin, Not a Vitamin

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aspirinThe other morning was a typically busy Saturday morning in my house. We were all scrambling to get out the door to get the kids to soccer, and I grabbed something quick from the pantry to eat on the way.

Throughout the hectic morning, I forgot to take my multivitamin. I usually take it every morning. We’re sold on the benefits of taking vitamins: that they help us live healthier lives, they contain antioxidants that fight off diseases, and they help strengthen our immune system to keep us from getting sick. Some of the vitamins and minerals in a multivitamin tablet are essential to life itself.

But I survived the day and didn’t notice any difference from any other day when I took my vitamin. Is this because I had built up a reserve of vitamins and minerals in my body from taking it every day? Is it because I am already getting enough vitamins and minerals through foods in my diet? Maybe.

If you’re like most people, when you get a headache or body ache, you don’t reach for a vitamin right away. You reach for an aspirin (or some other pain reliever). Why? Because the two tablets, that might look very similar, do two completely different things to your body. The aspirin relieves pain right away; the vitamin can’t.

So what?

When your job is to be a “vitamin” for your company, you can be skipped over. You might be redundant, or worse unnecessary.

Too often, I have seen IT departments that are like vitamins for their company. Yes, someone needs to set up computers and keep them running. Yes, someone needs to change the toner in the printer. Yes, someone needs to make sure the Microsoft critical updates are installed on the servers. Those are all important functions, some even essential to the company itself. But they are “vitamin” functions.

What is rarer is a department that is like aspirin for the company. What business pain is your company experiencing? What can you do to relieve that pain? What value can you bring that makes you irreplaceable?

Aspirin is strategic; you take it when necessary and for a specific purpose. Vitamins are tactical; you take them on a regular basis to maintain health.

More importantly, someone else can easily be the vitamin for the company. There are probably multiple sources of getting that service, just like you can get your vitamins through a pill or what you eat.

But if you are the aspirin for your company, you will be in a unique position of creating value. You will recognize the business pain and relieve that pain. You will become irreplaceable.

How can you become aspirin for your organization? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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