Dynamic Marketing Communiqué

Your next career move just might be a conversation away. Here’s why! [Tuesday: Return Driven Strategy]

December 12, 2023

Miles Everson’s The Business Builder Daily speaks to the heart of what great marketers, business leaders, and other professionals need to succeed in advertising, communications, managing their investments, career strategy, and more. 

A Note from Miles Everson

Are you familiar with the “Return Driven Strategy (RDS)?”

Discussed in the book, “Driven” by Professor Joel Litman and Mark L. Frigo, this pyramid-shaped framework has 11 tenets and 3 foundations. When utilized properly, these principles help firms effectively implement their business and marketing strategies. 

Another thing I like about this framework is it’s applicable to professionals. Just apply its tenets to your career and you have Career Driven Strategy (CDS).

Today, let’s talk about networking through the lens of CDS.

Continue reading to learn why it’s important to grow your professional network for your career.

Miles Everson
CEO, MBO Partners
Chairman of the Advisory Board, The I Institute

Return Driven Strategy 

In an era defined by rapid innovation and constant changes, the art of networking has become one of the main drivers for success in every industry. 

If you don’t know yet, networking is the process of establishing and nurturing professional relationships. 

More often than not, this enables individuals to attain career growth and widen their connections in their respective fields.

Networking is crucial for one’s career development as this activity can open numerous opportunities for growth.

Photo from The University of Iowa

This activity empowers individuals to learn more about their field from their peers. Additionally, networking enables professionals to find jobs and other career advancement opportunities.

So, how do professionals build their networks?

Generally, individuals interact with others and build their network when they attend social gatherings like recruitment events, seminars, conferences, workshops, trade shows, and product launch events.

Individuals can also build their connections through social media websites like LinkedIn, as these platforms enable people from different industries to interact with each other about industry insights and job opportunities.

These days, networking is a crucial tool for both professional development and career advancement. In fact, those who are successful in their respective fields utilized this activity to get to where they are now.

With that said, what are the steps you need to take to network effectively?

  1. Know your intentions first before networking.

Before you go out there and interact with other professionals, think about your intentions for connecting with them.

Ask yourself: Are you looking for a new job, or are you looking for a mentor that would help you get ahead in your field?

By knowing your intentions first, you’ll be able to find the right people to network with. 

  1. Ask relevant questions and listen actively when you’re networking.

When you interact with people you’d like to form a professional relationship with, always make sure to ask questions that are relevant to your field of interest and the background of the individuals you’re talking to.

To keep the conversation going, try to ask open-ended questions like the ones below: 

  • “What do you like/dislike most about your work?”
  • “What would be the usual next career move for someone in your position?”
  • “Who are other people you recommend that I talk with? May I tell them that you referred me to them?” 

Aside from asking relevant questions, make sure to actively listen to the individuals you’re networking with so they feel that you value what they have to say.

  1. Networking works both ways.

If you truly want to build successful professional relationships, you need to be the type of person that others would want to assist. You can do this by asking how you can be of help to the individual you want to network with.

  1. Build a persona when you’re networking online.

Since we all live in the digital age, our online presence matters. 

Making a good first impression on your network is important, and you can do that by building and cultivating a persona online. This means that you have to keep your professional profiles updated with keywords and posts related to your industry. 

You can also build your online persona by reposting content, joining online forums, and participating in question and answer (Q&A) sessions related to your industry. 

Having a professional persona when networking online helps you become visible in your field and enables you to grow your network more effectively. 

  1. Stay in touch with your network. 

Networking with others doesn’t stop when you’ve landed a new job or gained useful insight about your field as you need to make the people you’ve connected with feel that your professional relationship matters to you.

By staying in touch with your network, you can keep exchanging industry insights or even share career opportunities with each other over time.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to network effectively and form connections that are mutually beneficial to you and those you connect with! 

In the book, “Driven,Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo emphasized the importance of partnerships in the business context as this enables a firm to innovate and deliver offerings.

According to them, partnering enables businesses to be more creative, have a stronger brand, and deliver better products and services. They also highlighted the importance of choosing the right companies to partner with.

While Professor Litman and Dr. Frigo were talking about businesses, what they said about the importance of partnering with others applies to professionals and their careers as well.

As John Donne, a poet, eloquently said:

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.”

You cannot build your careers through sheer individual effort alone as you need the help of other people to thrive in your field.

By connecting with others and forming a professional relationship, you can gain insights and find opportunities that you may not have found on your own.

So, the next time you’re in a room full of professionals in your industry, do not hesitate to start a conversation with those you find interesting!

You never know, the person you interacted with just might help you land your next job or give you a career-changing opportunity!

If you’re looking to gain a better understanding of Return Driven Strategy, we highly recommend checking out “Driven” by Professor Litman and Dr. Frigo. 

Click here to get your copy and learn how this framework can help you in your business strategies and ultimately, in ethically maximizing wealth for your firm.

(This article is from The Business Builder Daily, a newsletter by The I Institute in collaboration with MBO Partners.) 

About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Tuesdays: Return Driven Strategy”

In the book, “Driven,” authors Professor Joel Litman and Dr. Mark L. Frigo said that the goal of every long-term successful business strategy should incorporate the combined necessity of “making the world a better place” and “getting wealthy.” 

That is why they created Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy―frameworks that were built to help leaders and professionals plan and evaluate businesses so they can also help others achieve their organizational goals and career goals. 

The frameworks describe the plans and actions that drive returns for anyone in an organization such as independent contractors, marketers, brand managers, communicators, and other people in any field. These actions lead to the creation of wealth and value for customers, employees, shareholders, and the society. 

Every Tuesday, we’ll highlight case studies, business strategies, tips, and insights related to Return Driven Strategy and Career Driven Strategy. 

In planning, building, or managing brands and businesses, these strategies, case studies, and guidelines will help you choose what specific actions to take and when to take them. 

Hope you found this week’s insights interesting and helpful.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday’s “Return Driven Strategy!”


Kyle Yu 
Head of Marketing 
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities 
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