High Yield

In business, it's called "return on investment" or ROI. But with less jargon, what we mean is high-yield activities -- you put in some effort and get a lot for it.

Business activities that are high-yield are critical to success. Low-yield activities in succession will only exhaust and demoralize an organization. A breakthrough, a breathtaking success, a long-term portfolio play -- all these things have "high yield" written all over them.

Utilizing a blend of staff and consultants is key to having high-yield success. Even in the best organizations, staff can't bring all the skills and perspectives needed for success (and, cross-functional is not the same as diversified thinking, especially within the same organization).

Yield is also relative. A small company that generates a new $1 million product may be ecstatic, while this same revenue achievement would be middling for a larger organization. And spending too much money and time to get to the $1 million lowers or erases yield.

Long-term value also has to be factored in. If the revenue source resembles an annuity, the multiyear value can be significant. Imagine the yield around the journals acquired in distressed condition during the 1920s and 1930s, which now are multi-million-dollar entities. It took 30-40 years for trends to coalesce, but when they did, the societies with those properties were utterly transformed.

Acquisitions can be high-yield. Product development can be high-yield. What is usually not high-yield is keeping money in investment instruments, especially currently. So look around. There may be a new way to set the table for future success, a new initiative that takes little effort to launch if done right but which could generate tremendous returns. What high-yield plans does your business have today?