I call it "Return On Investment in Relationships." It outstrips standard "ROI" by a mile in the long term—and, for that matter, the short term.
Here's a take on R.O.I.R. from Harry Markopolos, author of No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller:
"The financial industry is a business of contacts and relationships. No one ever buys a product and says, 'That product is the sexiest thing I've ever seen. I don't care who's selling it.' Generally people do business with people they trust and like, or people who are recommended by someone they trust."
This is not news.
But it always bears repeating.
So: Over the weekend, consider in detail your R.O.I.R. strategy for next week, the next month, maybe the rest of the year. This is an idea that deserves careful and continuous thought, not a catch-as-catch-can attitude. You'd work for months or years on a plan for a new bridge. Well, R.O.I.R. is your "bridge to success."
NB: Markopolos is the quintessential "quant"; i.e., this is a geek pushing relationship power, not a used car salesman.
(Above: Ice-tea season. Fresh mint.)