As I sit down to write tonight, I am just cooling off from a late-night run in unseasonably cool weather for an Atlanta evening in July. I considered writing before taking off. It was late to start a run, 9 p.m., and I had some thoughts on what I wanted write, thinking I could sit down and knock it out.
Then, I checked my Fitbit and saw I was a couple of miles short of my goal for the day. Now I had a decision to make. Continue on through hour 14 of my workday or take an hour +/- to get in a short run. A quick look at my calendar told me I had an hour I could carve out for writing tomorrow, so I opened a Google Doc, jotted down my initial thoughts as an outline (all about return on investment (ROI) for marketing automation systems), got changed, and headed outside.
I am often asked about how I make decisions.
My day is filled with opportunities to choose my own path and the path for my company. To me, every step on every path is an investment and therefore every decision is an investment decision. The investment might be time, the investment might be financial, the investment might be mental, or the investment might be a combination of those things.
Literally every decision I make in life is an investment decision and as such, with each decision I weigh the cost against the potential return.
In my role as chief executive (CEO) of Salesfusion, I am faced with three primary decision types:
1. Cultural Decisions: These are decisions about where and how to invest to attract, grow, and retain the best people in the world for our team. Culture is critical to any business and even more so for a fast-growing company that is adding team members and customers at a blistering pace. It can be tempting to cut corners in hiring – to take someone with the right skills, but maybe not the right cultural fit, when you are growing quickly and just want (need) bodies. It can be tempting, but the return on that investment will be poor. Investing the extra time and energy up front to attract the right people pays off continually. Each great hire adds their special sauce and moves everyone forward in exciting ways, making it easier to achieve your goals and, more importantly, to attract more amazing people. One bad hire, culturally, can sink the ship. Culture is king in a growing business and the ROI of each cultural decision must be treated with the respect they deserve.
2. Customer Decisions: Stemming from our culture is how we treat our customers. These decisions are pretty easy and the ROI is readily apparent. Even decisions that look like they may cost a lot in time and money up front almost always pay dividends when made with a customer first mindset. At Salesfusion, our decision hierarchy is Customer → Company → Self. Again, when we act with that hierarchy in mind, our investment decisions are easy and the return on those investments is almost always positive.
3. Product Decisions: If you make good decisions in the first two areas, these decisions follow in track. If you make poor investment decisions when considering your culture and your customers, product investments will never pay off. These decisions often seem discrete – they are the easiest to spot and the ROI is the easiest to track on the P&L, so they end up getting the most attention and scrutiny. While important, I believe if you execute educated culture and customer decisions, part of the return on those investments will be a clear picture for product decisions.
I was going to write this blog post about marketing automation ROI. I made a conscious decision to invest in a run instead. The cost – an hour of time. The return – a clear head and a whole new approach to this blog post.