The Theory of R.O.T.
If you’re wondering if this is some crazed theory about the Zombie Apocalypse or Alien Civilizations then stop reading now and go back to watching AMC or the History channel. But, if you work in the world of business then you might find this interesting? I’m no Einstein, but the primary currency of business that we have all heard frequently from bosses and managers over the years is “What is the R.O.I. going to be?” Everything in a Capitalistic Society that is driven by profit is based upon Return on Investment. Simply stated how much profit can you achieve above and beyond your original amount invested. Budgets are based on this principal, businesses flow on it and daily commerce is conducted with it. Approximately ten years ago I came up with my own theory on this that I shared with a few close friends. The most valuable commodity in the world is NOT the return on investment. The only thing that we cannot buy more of manufacture or create is TIME. It can be a friend or an enemy depending upon our situation. No matter how much we try and save it, slow it down or bend it to our will time is persistent and continues to move forward. We can’t catch up on lost sleep, have a do over day, or make for the time lost from being in a meeting or on a trip. In media, my career of choice, we are constantly faced with time constraints involving deadlines and commercials that are sold in 10,15 and 30 second increments. Now when I look at a major project or undertaking I measure it by Return on Time – R.O.T. How much time will it take to plan for it, time to execute, proof of performance and time to review it and analyze what was done well and what can be fine-tuned to make it better. The ultimate investment is TIME above all products, land and money. We can’t keep time in a bank and save it so it accumulates interest and we can’t hide it under the mattress or in a can in the backyard. It falls to all of us to manage our time wisely and not to waste it. Such sayings as “Work Smart, Not Hard” could be referring to how we manager our time and develop smarter and more efficient ways to do the task at hand. In my humble opinion, one of the greatest consumers of time is doing things as they have always been done without consideration of new methods that may make the process better and accomplish it faster. How frequently have we all heard at work “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” I don’t believe that this is because our fellow workers are lazy, but it is much easier to continue doing a familiar process than to creatively come up with a better one! The other element is that change is not easy for anyone and when you are altering a rote method of accomplishing something you are forcing people to change and vary their regular routine. Being a part of the change and assisting in leading the change is imperative. I believe that we can either be drivers of the change or allow the change to happen to us – which it will. This takes us back to R.O.T. where mindful, well planned and positive change can lessen the time it takes to achieve a task and have a better end result. So, the next time we prepare for a major project, business startup, or investment we shouldn’t look at our bank accounts or budgets only. Look at the clock on the wall, the watch on your wrist or clock on your cell phone and consider the investment of minutes, hours, days and months and possibly years involved. That can never be recaptured and is more valuable than any currency! The Rolling Stones are one of the greatest rock bands in history but even they were wrong when they sang “Time, it’s on my side yes, it is.” TIME has no side but it is a valuable constant which we must measure everything against in our work lives and personal lives! Sometimes, and I am personally not always the best at this, we must say NO to a new endeavor or opportunity because of the theory of R.O.T. This has also caused me to drop writing for some publications so I can use my time resources more wisely as I attempt to develop my brand and goals. Hopefully the reason that all of us work so hard in our careers and side endeavors is ultimately to make a better life for our families and loved ones. And they deserve the quality and focused TIME with us more than anyone or anything else. When you are considering taking on a new project measure it with Return on Time and see if it is worth the investment?