Return on investment


We all have a choice to make and it relates to enjoying a return on investment.

Consider these two options. First: invest in an asset, deploy it so that you get a return from it, continue to update and upgrade it over a period of 30 years so that it remains relevant and productive, allow it to absorb highs and lows, to create new systems and processes, to build extended networks of expertise, and repeat.

Second: invest in an asset, deploy it so that you get a return from it, continue to update and upgrade it over a period of 30 years so that it remain relevant and productive, then discard it, replace it with a new one, restart the process all over again, attempt to load into the new asset all the expertise and institutional knowledge of the now-discarded asset.

Which is the more sensible? Which costs more?

Now add the words “human resource” ahead of the word “asset”. Now consider again which is the better option to take.

Of course, both options have their place when complementing each other, with wisdom and experience supporting and nurturing youthful exuberance and the next generation, and with new ideas productively challenging long-held beliefs.

But there is a trend to discard 30-year investments for no other reason than…well, actually, I’m not sure.

(It seems to be happening here in Australia (see this report by the Federal Government) and overseas (this article by James Kirkup in the UK’s Daily Telegraph).)

I was going to write because they are harder to manage, have fewer years ahead of them, are more expensive to maintain. But surely all these excuses represent lazy thinking driven by convention, short-term costs, and…what, exactly?

Please don’t call it ageism. Please don’t call it economic rationalization. Please call it by what it is: a short-sighted error of judgement and management.

Over to you.

About alansmithoz

Head of Strategic Business Communications at Australian social analytics technology company Digivizer, with a background in corporate public relations and marketing. I do what I do because I believe communications can make a difference.
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