Would you like to quickly boost your career? Get an unexpected paycheck bonus? Receive more corporate power and fame? Then, my friend, you should join an ROI business case development team!
I've seen ROI business case team members get private interviews with powerful and reclusive executives, meet influential managers for the first time, and fly on a moment's notice to meetings in foreign countries. Forget the myth that ROI studies are little more than mind-numbing statistics, arcane equations, and endless spreadsheet calculations secretly compiled in dark, windowless rooms: ROI business case teamwork can be a dazzling passport to enterprisewide visibility.
Can't find an ROI team to join? Here are some tips for spotting their sails and getting on board:
Know all the Monikers
ROI business case teams may be hidden behind other corporate labels. Find them by staying alert to alternative names, such as ROI analysis, cost-benefit study, justification report, or value analysis. They may even be hiding behind less descriptive titles, such as number-crunching report or cover-your-___ study. Break the naming code, and sign on.
Get the Skinny at Management Meetings
Held weekly, monthly, quarterly, or once every full moon, these decision-maker confabs can tell you what's really happening in your enterprise. Here's where major business problems get aired and where serious solutions are desperately sought. So, attend, eavesdrop, or appoint a mole, for from these urgent problems ROI business cases for systems solutions are born.
Know the Clues
Employee newspapers, executive speeches, or news articles offer discussions about key enterprise challenges or project plans. Look for keywords indicating an ROI analysis opportunity, such as a task force is being put together, a project is forming, priorities will be established, or decisions will be forthcoming.
Create Your Own Team
Convinced that no ROI team exists? Brush aside common objections that ROI business case efforts are bogus, a waste of time, or not read by anyone. Cite examples from your experience where the opposite is true.
For other retorts, check out last month's ROI column The top 10 reasons NOT to do an ROI business case.
Be Ready to Answer, Why You?
Once you've found an ROI team you want to support, arm yourself with irresistible reasons why your team should be chosen. Emphasize skills and experiences that business case leaders covet, such as:
- ROI subject matter expertise (business and/or systems)
- ROI implementation know-how (knowledge of hidden payoffs and costs)
- ROI presentation development skills (dramatic and compelling graphics that convince skeptical decision-makers of your plan)
- ROI super-sleuth skills (knowing how to find crucial metrics and other ROI data).
From a career perspective, ROI really means Radical Opportunity Invitation. Go for it! //
Heard about some cool, unexpected benefits from ROI business case participation? Upgrade my knowledgebase via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jack M. Keen is founder and president of The Deciding Factor, a Basking Ridge, N.J.-based international consulting firm specializing in the development of simple, but powerful ROI calculation models, tools, best practices, and workshops for building better business cases faster. A frequent guest speaker, Keen has advised more than 200 organizations in 15 countries.