A commonly asked question by sports owners and fans of the athletes of their favorite teams is this (especially around contract time)…

“What have you done for me lately?”

All too often sports contracts reward “employees” for past performance. Unfortunately, in games where age and injuries tend to mount into future years, the athletes are getting paid the most when they are “returning” the least.

I find that this happens in business, too.

Business owners compensate employees based on a “what have you done for me lately” ROI viewpoint. While age and injury don’t play a factor in business as in sports, complacency does. In academics, professors and teachers with tenure often get the equivalent of “senioritis.” Executives with corner offices (even the virtual ones) and the great parking spots can slip into feeling like they’ve “made it” and take their foot off the accelerator. 

What if business owners compensated not based on what has been done, but with an eye on a different question…

“What will you do for me now and in the future?

Think that won’t work?

Well, I tend to disagree. CEOs pay in advance to consultants and other experts for future value. They hire new executives, leaders, and salespeople based on past reputation with someone else with the promise of a big ROI in the future.

Even in sports, there is the occasional contract – like the one just given to Fernando Tatis in San Diego – that’s got a 14-year window and worth milions upon millions of dollars.

By using this question, you can create a culture of investing for the best ROI today and into the future. 

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