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What are You Worth?

June 14, 2010
by Tim Tolan
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I’m a huge Brian Tracy fan – always have been. I’m sure I’ve read a dozen or more of his books on motivation, and the human growth and potential we all have inside of us. It’s there. Trust me. In this ever changing HCIT market we live in today it’s probably a good idea to step back and assess our value and determine exactly what we bring to the table.
Sound fair? Let me do this with a story that Brian illustrates in his powerful book Focal Point.
So the story goes…Years ago a nuclear power plant had a malfunction that caused the entire plant to shut down its operations. This was costing millions of dollars a day in lost revenue and productivity. After several days, the plant engineers could not find the source of the problem and decided to call in an expert to assess the situation. The expert flew into town, arrived at the plant and put on a white jacket and went to work. He spent most of the day looking at the equipment at the plant, making various measurements and taking notes as he conducted his evaluation. Finally, at the end of the day, he crawled up a ladder took out a red marker from his pocket at placed a large X on a valve in the plant. “This is your problem he said. Replace this apparatus and your problem will be fixed”. He took off his jacket, walked to his rental car and drove back to the airport. The plant manager ordered the replacement apparatus and the engineers quickly installed it as soon as it arrived. Sure enough, the apparatus the expert drew the X next to was the problem. Soon, plant was back up and running at full capacity and the problem was solved.

A few days later the plant manager received a bill from the expert. The invoice simply stated “For Services Rendered - $10,000. The plant manager was shocked at the size of the bill. After all, he reasoned, the expert arrived, took a few measurements, made a few notes and placed a big X on the broken apparatus with his red marker. Surely their must have been a mistake in calculating his bill. He wrote a letter to the expert asking him to please itemize the bill since $10,000 seemed a bit excessive for the amount of time he spent at the plant. A few days later the plant manager received a new bill from the expert. He itemized the bill as follows:

For placing X on broken apparatus - $1.00

For knowing where to place the X – $9,999

Here’s the point. Your value equation in this space is increasing based on the knowledge you have in your HCIT niche and the shortage of people in the market that do what you do. It’s pure supply and demand. Companies will be competing for you, your talent and for what you know. And very soon… Make sure you understand what you are worth and begin thinking about where you place the X in your value and what you bring to the table.

You may be worth a lot more than you think.




I have not had a chance to read the book. It sounds very interesting indeed. I was simply making a case for the HCIT talent in today's market compared to the heavy demand.

Nice post. Classic story and, as you point out, something we shouldn't lose sight of.

I'm curious about your use of the word "talent." I recently read Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman's First, break all of the rules. There, the authors differentiate talent from skills and knowledge. The former, talent, is not teachable/trainable, the later two are. Was that consistent with how you were using the word talent?

The underlying work follows a study by Gallup and the implications are pretty profound.

Tim Tolan

Senior Partner, Sanford Rose Associates Healthcare IT Practice


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