The easiest ROI booster that most entrepreneurs miss

From day one of starting a business, so much entrepreneurial mind share goes to figuring out ROI. Every dollar counts. You start hiring people. Their salary is cash out of your pocket. When they screw up, it costs you.

The business grows. Complexity increases. The search for ROI improvements continues. For most businesses, people investments add up. They can be the largest single expense line.

So what do entrepreneurs do to maximize the output of the team? Most of the focus falls to hiring, firing and intense management of performance. Hire top performers. Expect great things. If they turn out to be a dud, fire them. It sounds harsh, but this is a reality. When an investment isn’t paying off, move on.

The problem with this cycle is cost. Many expenses associated with employee turnover are invisible. The end-to-end process burns a pile of cash. So entrepreneurs focus on better hiring, better on boarding, faster firing. It’s an expensive way to learn.

There is a cheaper, faster, and simpler habit you can develop. It won’t cost you a dime. And if you’re not using it already, it’s guaranteed to boost your ROI.

The ah-ha moment

A colleague of mine relayed a story to me. He was meeting with the CTO and founder of a billion dollar start-up success story. Over coffee the CTO shared a recent revelation. He had come to appreciate the ROI of asking his team about their weekend. People worked harder and gave more to the company because he showed interest in the personal lives of his team.

I shared this story with a senior leader at another company. Her response: “Wow, that’s exactly what we need. If we could get our CEO to do that… to say good morning to the team… to show he cares… it would revolutionize our company.”

Why it matters

In the early part of my career I worked in a team of 12 people reporting to an executive. He was my second-level manager so I didn’t interact with him much. But I did have full appreciation that my career rested in his hands. He came in every morning and went right to his desk. He never said hello and rarely acknowledged me. Some days it made me anxious, other days it pissed me off. In both cases it affected my creativity and contributions to the company. More