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Forget the Numbers and the Calculable ROI: Just Do It


Not everything that can be counted counts,
and not everything that counts can be counted.

Albert Einstein

Living in the information age can cloud our ability to see clearly.

Our focus drifts toward numbers and away from people. We see…

Costs and not customers
Hours worked and not our workers
ROI and not you or I

Just because it can be measured does not mean it is worthwhile. Often the best things are immeasurable deliverables. And yet we often don’t offer our best because we are blinded by the data.

For example, how do you calculate the ROI of a handwritten thank-you card given to an employee on her work anniversary or after she does a great job on a project?

You can’t. And because the hard return of gratitude cannot be stored in a database and analyzed, we don’t do it. And even when someone like Soul Pancake does a great job of illustrating the ROI of gratitude, we still flounder because we can’t see the hard numbers in our own database.

Recently I decided to stop just saying “thank you” in quick but heartfelt spurts and to start giving out handwritten thank-you cards with a few short paragraphs of worthy things I see in that human being – especially at key times like work anniversaries. Since that time, I have seen an ROI that I cannot codify. How do you measure…

The width of a smile?
The number of tears streaming down a face?
The weight of the words, “I can’t tell you how much this means to me…”?
The length of time the note stays on prominent display?
The strength of a grip in a grateful handshake?

You can’t. Not now. Not ever. And yet, you can see with your own eyes that the ROI is there. The R is worth far more the little I it takes to show some gratitude in a meaningful way. Or to show respect, kindness, consideration, courtesy, or a note that says, “You are worthy.”

Forget the numbers. Who cares of you can’t calculate the ROI? Just do it.

1 Comment

  1. Wayne Johnson says:

    Thanks for pointing out that that people deserve more than a quick thank you for giving help, assistance or showing concern as we rush to put out another fire, steer the aligators back to the pond or otherwise go about our business.

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