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So, What Do We Think About Progress

Eric Reis, author of The Startup Way, acknowledged the nature of progress during a promotional talk he did upon the release of his new book. During this talk, he explained that return on investment is a common hurdle that organisations may be faced with; whether or not they are a company which makes profit, or a charity which exists solely on donations. It is easy enough to see how your investment is being used when you volunteer time, but money is a completely different idea; especially if your organisation is not like a sponsored guide dog, or endangered animal, where you receive updates on the health and wellbeing of the animal, and the efforts being made to improve their situation.

Reis acknowledged that “the universal language of business, unfortunately, is not money earned its money spent. We all do that very well, every organisation spends resources, non-profit, or government work. We’re excellent, that entrepreneurs are very good at spending their people’s money. Are we not? So the problem comes in, with you spent other people’s money they sometimes want to know what did they get for their money: what was my return on investment? And, of course, during the flat part of the hockey stick [i.e. the period where an organisation is yet to make any profits at all] no matter what we’re doing, return on investment is negative by definition. So, I try to argue in the book [The Startup Way] that the right way to think about progress in any start up situation, whether it’s for profit or non-profit is actually impact, not cash-flow. And, it’s not today’s impact, its future impact.”

How many times have you gone on a dog walk and been exasperated by how much further you have to go so your dog will be worn out and satisfied? We immediately see the impact that not turning your back on the planned route, or taking a shortcut, reducing your pet’s outside time has on them. After all, a happy, healthy dog, will likely enjoy their walk and the stimulation that walking unfamiliar routes can have for them. But, the impact that it has on you will likely not be as immediate. Weight loss, increased stamina, and better mental health are all associated with walking a dog, and taking them on adventures. But, the introduction of these elements are a gradual process, and are not instantaneous. This is similar to what Reis was discussing. Sometimes patience is required to reap the rewards of such an investment of your time and energy.

Backing a small business’ kickstarter campaign is similar, you may gain rewards etc. for backing the campaign, exclusive merchandise etc. but, you cannot be sure that you will ever get that return on investment, as if the campaign is unsuccessful, and all of the money is raised, no money is taken from your account. There is no risk, but there are rewards to reap. If you can afford to support people in these positions, the return on investment is both tangible, and emotional. If you can afford to invest that money to a small business’ campaign for progress, it could be a great way to support a potential future household name get off the ground.

Based in London, U.K., and founded in 2016 by Arvind Mishra The Agile Works (, is an up-and-coming recruitment and Agile consulting company. Arvind is a Certified SAFe SPC and regularly delivers both private and public SAFe certification workshops.

He is a design thinking expert, Sr. enterprise, portfolio Agile Coach with over a decade of experience working as an Agile coach in diverse industries such as banking, pharma, retail, auto, oil, gas, consulting and government.

The Agile Works; a small team of three strive to help shape the leadership's mind-set and values in readiness for their business transformation journey challenges. With Arvind at the helm, we strive to provide you with the agility tools to make your company that can thrive, and not just survive.

To book a consultation, or for any enquiries, you can contact Arvind via the following email address:

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