Ways to distinguish yourself #154 – Never invalidate contributions

Ways to distinguish yourself #154 – Never invalidate contributions

By Rajesh Setty on Wed 19 Jul 2006, 10:17 PM – 11 Comments

Imagine you are walking up the stairs. When you are almost at the top, you may think that the first few steps on these stairs are no longer useful so why not knock them off and save some space. The thought seems ridiculous, yes,  but in real-life that’s what many people do. They get a ton of contribution to their growth from several people and after sometime forget who all helped them. Then repeat the cycle with a new set of people.

I touched on this briefly when I said “Never forget any help.” How difficult would it be to forget help that you received? It’s easy especially if you don’t need that kind of help anymore. What would be worse than forgetting help? It would be to invalidate that help or contribution. Take a look at some ways of invalidating contributions of the past:

a) Anybody could have done it.
   Note: May be. May be not. But the person did do it. That’s what matters.

b) It was not a big deal after all.
   Note: Yes, when the job was complete it all looks simple. A problem for which you have a solution may not be a big problem after all.

c) If they didn’t do it I would have taken it up myself. It was easy.
   Note: Yeah Right!

d) The person was not doing anything important anyway. This kept him/her occupied for sometime.
   Note: How do you know?

e) The person also benefited from this. So it was not like it was solely for our benefit
   Note: The person knew how to leverage his time better. Shouldn’t you just worry about what benefit you got rather than worrying about whether somebody’s work “exclusively” benefited you?

f) It is not directly benefiting us
   Note: Do you know how to notice value? Are you using the right criteria to judge the person?

g) He was just doing his job
   Note: But you did get the benefit from the job. So what’s the point in not acknowledging it?

If you remember using that kind of language in the recent past, that should sound a warning bell. Remember, if you move around with people who invalidate contributions of others, it is easy for you to fall into the same trap. If you are in that group, it shouldn’t surprise you if one day you end up on the recieving end. After all, if you and the group can do it someone why won’t the rest of the group do the same to you sometime?

Never invalidate contributions. That will put you right in the middle of the commodity crowd.


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11 Comments so far, Add Yours

Anonymous  on July 20th, 2006

Hi Rajesh

For last few days I had been caught up in the same thoughts that you have posted. I had started to take the casual approach & use the same phrases mentioned above. But this just-in-time post has really changed my attitude for good.



Anonymous  on July 20th, 2006

Well, This is a very normal thing that hear a lot in the software environment especially during your appraisals.

If you say, you have done good job of what has been given, you will be told that is what you are expected to do.

so many bull crap, so on and so forth.

Unfortunately I have also seen that people like those will rise above the rest also.

Unfortunately Rajesh, what you have written is a moral lesson. But whether it is useful, I am not sure. I am not really that very experience to guage that.

Nice blog though because I really believe in the values that you have written here.

Anonymous  on July 20th, 2006

Thanks Prashant.


Don’t give up. Long term success requires working based on sound principles. Those who don’t follow MIGHT see short term success. But that’s not what you are aiming for.



Anonymous  on July 20th, 2006


You have touched on one of the important areas when it comes to having good relationship with others. I agree that if you don’t think consciously then you will end up doing these things unconsciously. I am in a client interface role and manage a team of four. Here are few things, which I usually follow which my superiors never did.

1.If a team member has done analysis or fixed a problem, I make sure he is on cc list and appreciate his/her contribution or forward his mail to client with the analysis. Lot of times I have seen my superiors where they cut/paste the analysis and send it to client as if they have done then work.

2.Since we work on onsite-offshore model I call them up and thank them personally for any extra contribution given to keep the application running.

3.I allow my team members to take time off for any extra hours put in.

Nice blog.Any comments!!!

Anonymous  on July 20th, 2006

One of the best set of points I have read so far. I think you and I have seen many of these said about many of the people we ourselves know. Good stuff!

Anonymous  on July 20th, 2006


Thank you very much for those encouraging words. Only time will tell what will happen. :-)


Anonymous  on July 20th, 2006

Thanks Raghava for sharing those tips. They were great.

I remember John Maxwell’s quote

“People really don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”

You care for your people and that shows.



Anonymous  on July 20th, 2006

Hi Raghava,

Great to know that someone is actually taking the trouble to do it. Keep it up and I am sure you will achieve what you have set out to achieve

Anonymous  on July 21st, 2006

Well said! Unfortunately the state of this world today is based upon greed and selfishness, where people are constantly eyeing more money and power. Not only they discard friends/strangers who helped them along the way, they don’t seem to remember their roots at all!

Anonymous  on July 21st, 2006

Hi raghavas

Very well done. I appreciate your work from my heart. Keep up the good work.

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