August 1, 2018 at 7:11 am #2363JeffAltmanCoachKeymaster
Someone wrote to me asking me to answer a question that’s geared toward senior professionals. It’s a stupid question; you and I both know that. I want to take it straight on so I can go into a little bit of depth with it.
The question is, “What will be our ROI. If we hire you?”
We both know it’s stupid because it’s impossible to really calculate. After all, you don’t have the budget that you walking into, you don’t have details of the challenges that you be facing, you don’t know the quality of the people you’ll be inheriting, how do you answer the question?
The answer is… You go through this with them.
“Great question and I think it is impossible to quantify now. Part of it is that I don’t know who I am inheriting in this group. I don’t know exactly what it is I’m walking into. I don’t know if my user population is going to be challenging or supportive.” You go through 5 or 6 things that as an outsider is impossible to quantify and to use that language specifically.
“I think it is impossible to quantify as an outsider.”
Now, here is where the shift occurs.
This shift is now saying, “But I can tell you what I have done and other organizations. At my last firm, I walked into a number of different situations and was able to achieve (a 350%, a 450%… Whatever percentage it is) return on investment over my salary/over my budget.” That sort of thing where you can specifically claim credit for it.
You can also say, “I want to be clear, no one operates as an island in these situations. I put together a great team and that is part of the measure of ROI– getting people on board who buy into the mission here, who are inspired who have a desire to do great stuff.”
What you doing is starting off by saying, “I can’t quantify it with you. Here is why.” Then, from there, you talk about how in the past. This is how it turned out, when people have hired you.” Then, if you want, you can smile and say, “And in all candor, I have to say, I am here to be honest with you. Like the mutual fund industry says, ‘Past performance is no guarantee of future returns,’ there are so many variables here that I can’t speak to is an outsider and give you such a measure.”
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