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ROI: Connecting Talk to Action

By Michelle LaBrosse

There’s a lot of talk about ROI, the infamous return on investment. The question is how can you personally generate ROI in your own life? The first step is to expand your concept of what capital is. It is not just financial. There are five kinds of capital.

1) Financial

2) Social

3) Knowledge

4) Brand

5) Infrastructure

No matter what we do for a living, we each can grow all five kinds of capital in our lives. Let’s look at each kind of capital from a Project Management perspective.

Financial: You help other people on your team get the funding for their projects and for training they need to expand their PM capabilities and credentials. You do a payback analysis on a project, and you focus on ways to use less money, and get better results by doing better Project Management.

Social: You bring mentees to PMI meetings or industry events to help them develop their PM skills. You focus on your bench and your connections. You use social media like LinkedIn and Facebook to reconnect with people and share valuable info with others. You help people in your network develop more capabilities by their association with your projects.

Knowledge: You leverage your and your team members’ knowledge to most effectively complete the project work. You develop your capabilities by volunteering with various organizations that you care about to help you improve your skills. You’re always looking for ways to expand your capabilities.

Brand: You reflect on what projects you’ve done that position you well for the next opportunity. You personally build your own brand by cultivating a reputation of “can do” and “get it done.”  You understand a project’s impact on the reputation of you, your team, department and company.

Infrastructure: If you need a PDA to stay better connected or a laptop at home, you go for it. You invest in the tools you need to be successful. At work, you assess what equipment, facilities or tools you need and don’t have. You figure out how to get them. When you hitch your wagon to a star, it looks like this:

Move from Concern to Influence: As Stephen Covey explained in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, you need to move from a focus on concern to a focus of influence.  When you focus on concern, you are looking only at all the reasons you can’t do something or why something is difficult. When you focus on influence, instead you are asking, how can I use my five sources of capital to get this job done?

Being controlled:                                              Focused on what you can control:


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