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Missed opportunities

A non zero-sum game

Yesterday I was thinking of how often a company “measures” the outcome of an initiative (sponsoring a meetup, supporting an employee’s idea, trying something new, etc.) only as an immediate return of investment. Think of a spreadsheet, in which you have two columns, given and received. The company pays -X and later receives +Y. Accounting 101.

“This is my investment, show me the return” you’re asked. But sometimes you can’t show an immediate return, sometimes things require months to mature, bear fruit, show results. Especially when there are human factors involved.

So you simply don’t ask anything, or you don’t share your idea. Good, right? Zero given, zero received.

But then a phrase bubbled up in my head: missed opportunities.

A missed opportunity is something that never happened, it’s lost value. So it should be weighted with a minus sign, in the column of what the company has received, next to the zero paid.

Because it’s often invisible, this lost value is not taken in account when (someone in) a company decides if it’s worth it or not to invest in something or someone, but this rigs the game, no?

So my thought is: how much these missed opportunities are weighted, in this “immediate results/outcome” oriented approach?

Just a thought.

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