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How to Protect Your Relevance from Extinction

What is workplace relevance?


Relevance in the workplace is a snapshot of our contribution level as experienced by others. It is not a static achievement like a college degree, but a living thing that we must constantly nurture and renew. It’s a measure of how much people value the contribution we are making today, seasoned by the contribution people expect we’ll make in the future. ​​Relevance is not always transferable. Employees, colleagues, bosses, customers, and suppliers all have their own perspective on our relevance. You could be highly relevant to a teammate who values your coaching, yet less relevant to a colleague who needs more detailed information than you normally deliver. Similarly, what is relevant at one company may not be relevant at another.


Mastery alone is not relevance. Certainly, we need to study and practice deeply enough to develop a nuanced and masterful capability, but we must also look broadly enough that we can put our insights into a context that is meaningful to others. Without connection, there is no relevance. Workplace Relevance is not complex, but it does take effort. It means constantly asking ourselves, “What is needed?” and “What do I need to ponder, learn and do to contribute value and meaning now and in the future?”

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