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A few weeks ago I attended a terrific ASTD-Las Vegas presentation led by San Diego based trainer Jeff Toister. Jeff facilitated an engaging conversation around how to get CEO’s and senior directors’ expectations met when going in to implement coaching and training solutions. He encouraged us to shift from thinking about our impact in terms of Return on Investment (ROI) to Return on Expectations (ROE). For while in these tough economic times leaders may profess to care about the financial bottom line, it’s erroneous to assume success (from a client’s standpoint as well as our own) can always be measured in terms of money saved and money earned. Jeff’s words sparked a nice aha for me. Many of my clients would not measure their success with me simply in terms of their financial investment and the financial payoff. And yet ROI is still bandied around in most corporate pitch sessions at the expense of discussing the client’s specific expectations (i.e. attracting and retaining higher caliber employees, national press coverage, sustaining a culture of corporate calm, etc.) This discussion really got me thinking about CAREERpreneurship and how, as CAREERpreneurs, we want to get really clear on our long and short-term expectations if we’re to make the best possible choices for our career trajectories. What are our expectations for what we will have achieved (and who we will have become) by the end of our careers? How do the present opportunities before us fit with where we’re trying to go? While no person–not even the savviest CAREERpreneur–can play God, we certainly can use our previous experiences and gut instincts to make an educated guess. When we are clear on our long-term expectations, we can then work backwards to see if the choices immediately in front of us are likely to produce the return to move us closer towards what we’re striving for in the long term.

Measuring Career Success Via ROE

Because my long term professional vision is about making each day a performance of the legacy I seek to leave, whenever I weigh whether or not to pursue or accept a new opportunity, I assess my anticipated return on these following expectations:
  1. Does this opportunity allow me to align my values, strengths, and enthusiasms AT LEAST 70% of the time?
  2. Are the social, economic, and environmental impacts of the work I’m engaging in really for the greater good?
  3. Am I forwarding my learning and growth by pushing myself slightly outside of my comfort zone?
  4. Will I have a “substantial amount of energy left at the end” of my day? (From Career Expert, Alexandra Levit - They Don’t Teach Corporate in College.)
What are your short and long-term professional expectations? What metrics will you use to measure your career success? Alexia Vernon is a career and workplace author, speaker, coach, trainer and media personality who empowers people to build careers and companies that are successful, sustainable and full of soul. To receive Alexia’s "7 Biggest Obstacles to Success and the Sinfully Simple Formula to Shift Them into Opportunities," visit www.AlexiaVernon.com. Image from Kurhan/Shutterstock
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