- Steve Nguyen, PhD
Book Review: Show the Value of What You Do by Patricia P. Phillips and Jack J. Phillips
Updated: Sep 25, 2022
IMPORTANT: For this book summary, I'll be using and referencing other books by the author(s) to better provide context, examples, and support for my review.
BOOK OVERVIEW (Patricia P. Phillips & Jack J. Phillips websites)
Prove your effectiveness to anyone—and achieve professional success—by adopting the same ROI methods and metrics that leading companies use.
In an era of evidence-based inquiry, people need to be able to measure their success. In their new book, Patti Phillips and Jack Phillips aim to help readers see the value of their work and then share it with others.
The Show the Value process involves connecting projects with a business measure, collecting and analyzing data to track progress, and presenting the results to the right audiences. Readers will learn how to keep their work relevant, their careers on track, and their organizations healthy. The book includes extensive examples, diagnostic tools, and implementable practices that show how to measure and improve the success of any type of project. It will also help readers avoid disappointing results by designing for the desired results.
Written for specialists, professionals, managers, and independent contractors who want to achieve success in their work, this book is a step-by-step guide on how to show the value of their initiatives, offering a simplified version of the ROI Methodology.
A Condensed, Diluted, and Oversimplified version of the ROI Methodology
Unlike many (if not all) of their other ROI books that cover the Phillips ROI Methodology in depth, this Show the Value of What You Do book is different because it uses a simplified (though not in a good way) version of the Phillips ROI Methodology.
Show the Value Process Model
Step 1: Why? Start with impact
Step 2: How? Select the right solution
Step 3: What? Expect success with objectives
Step 4: How much? Collect data along the way
Step 5: What's it worth? Analyze the data
Step 6: So what? Leverage the results
Show the Value thinking includes:
1. Taking action before someone asks for results.
2. Respecting the value chain for the five levels of success.
3. Remembering that the most important measure of success is impact.
4. Starting with the end in mind.
5. Designing for the results that you need.
6. Using ROI analysis selectively.
7. Looking for the positive in a negative ROI.
For those who are familiar with the Phillips ROI Methodology and have read Patti and Jack's other ROI books or attended one of their workshops or seminars, this book's Show the Value Process Model might take some getting used to.
For those unfamiliar with the Phillips' work and the Phillips ROI Methodology, this book may not be useful since, in my opinion, you would need some type of background or context of the 12-step Phillips ROI Methodology to more fully understand how the 6-step Show the Value Process Model is a watered-down, superficial extraction of the Phillips ROI Methodology.
For a good overview of the Phillips ROI Methodology, I recommend The Bottomline on ROI (3rd ed.) by Patricia P. Phillips.
As you can see from the diagram below, the 6-step Show the Value Process Model is a condensed, diluted and oversimplified model that is derived from a longer, more detailed 12-step Phillips ROI Methodology.
According to Patti and Jack Phillips, "These steps [of the Show the Value Process Model] are simple, easy to use, and will not consume excessive amounts of time. Following the six steps will provide you with credible answers to questions frequently asked about your work: Why? How? What? How much? What's it worth? And So what?" (p. 23)
I'm going to respectfully but strongly disagree with this. Because, although it "looks" simple and easy to use, it's really not when you're actually doing it. In fact, depending on what exactly (i.e., the programs) you're measuring, the steps requiring you to collect data (Step 4) and analyze data (Step 5) can be laborious, painstakingly slow and detailed work. This is particularly true if your organization, department, and/or team lacks the capability to efficiently and effectively collect and analyze data.
Another issue with the Show the Value of What You Do book is its lack of detailed explanations for how certain numbers were obtained. For example, the Kansas City SWAT Team ROI Case Study is detailed in a separate download (mentioned in the Notes section). In the complete case study (which is 15 pages long [https://roiinstitute.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/2021.03.25-KC-SWAT-Team-Case-Study.pdf]), Chip Huth and Jack Phillips provided a detailed breakdown of the program costs and how they arrived at the $36,055 which is an essential component needed to solve for the Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR), and especially for the ROI, where ROI = [(Benefits - Costs) ÷ Costs] x 100.
In Show the Value of What You Do, the authors took bits and pieces from the Kansas City SWAT Team ROI Case Study (e.g., $70,000 per complaint; 30 complaints per year; and ROI = 5724%). HOWEVER, without the proper context and understanding of what's missing and how the numbers were attained, readers are left confused.
Astute readers might ask, "Where did the 5724% come from? How did you arrive at that number?" Without knowing the "Costs" (the number that's needed and was MISSING), you would have no way of knowing how the authors came up with 5724%.
And even had they included the $36,055 (Costs), one might also want to know EXACTLY where that number came from. And once again, the Show the Value of What You Do book left this crucial information out.
To calculate the annual costs, $70,000 X 30 complaints is the cost avoided for the first year or $2,100,000 in cost avoidance. This is the monetary benefit for the Outward Mindset program.
Here's a detailed breakdown (NOT shown in the Show the Value of What You Do book) of the program costs for the Kansas City SWAT Team ROI Case Study:
The Kansas City SWAT Team ROI Case Study is free to download here:
The URL in the Notes section of the book - https://roiinstituteacademy.com/products/free-tools/categories/1247772/posts/2149800738 - is incorrect.
Leaders and organizations always talk about measuring the impact of training or learning, but to actually do it (i.e., follow the Phillips ROI Model and measure "soft data") can be quite challenging. Organizations of all sizes and leaders at all levels talk often about "ROI" and "showing the value." And yet, to do it properly (i.e., closely following the instructions laid out by Jack Phillips and Patti Phillips) is hard to do and requires an intense amount of resources and time.
A few of the things about "soft data," that Jack Phillips and Patti Phillips teach, that are important and necessary when calculating ROI for "soft skills" (e.g., coaching) include: (1) isolating the effects of the program (e.g., coaching), (2) converting data to monetary values (which requires that a value be placed on each unit of data connected with the programs), and (3) aligning it to business results.
"Isolating the effects of a program on business impact data is one of the most challenging yet necessary steps in the ROI Methodology" (Phillips & Phillips, 2019, p. 84).
For example, if you're trying to isolate the effects of learning on specific business measures know this: "Isolating the effects of learning can be a confusing process and is certainly one of the most difﬁcult issues to address" (Phillips, Phillips, Stone, & Burkett, 2007, p. 118). There's no easy way to say it: "Isolating the effects of learning is a very challenging process" (Phillips, Phillips, Stone, & Burkett, 2007, p. 153).
Another difficult step is converting data to monetary value. As Patti Phillips (2017) has acknowledged, "The process to convert measures to money can be challenging, particularly with soft data" (p. 60). This is because "soft data are often more difficult to collect, analyze, and convert to monetary values because they’re often subjective" (Phillips, Phillips, & Ray, 2020, p. 53).
In fact, because the step to convert data to monetary values is so important, in their previous books, the Phillips dedicated an entire chapter to describe this step in detail (see Ch. 9 in Show Me the Money; Ch. 11 in Value for Money).
It's crucial for readers to understand that, in practical application, measuring ROI (using the methods taught by Jack Phillips and Patti Phillips) is much more challenging, tedious, expensive, and time-consuming than many people (including organizational leaders) realize.
Jack Phillips and Patti Phillips are very clear about this. In fact, they tell us that measuring all four levels (Level 1-4) to determine the ROI (Level 5) is recommended and reserved for only about 5% (to no more than 10%) of the programs in an organization because of what's required.
The dangers of overly simplifying (while leaving out crucial steps & details) the Phillips ROI Methodology into the Show the Value Process Model is that people mistakenly think it's easy or quick. However, the actual work that is required to execute the Phillips ROI Methodology, and even the Show the Value Process Model, can be quite difficult, time-consuming, and requires detailed attention.
Here's an example of the risk of oversimplifying a complex process. In Show the Value of What You Do, in Chapter 6, the authors discuss converting data to money. However, nowhere does it show us HOW to do this.
In contrast, in their other ROI book, Proving the Value of Soft Skills: Measuring Impact and Calculating ROI, Patricia P. Phillips, Jack J. Phillips, and Rebecca Ray show us (in Chapter 7 and in five key steps):
Step 1. Define the unit of measure;
Step 2. Determine the value (V) of each unit;
Step 3. Calculate the change (∆) in performance data;
Step 4. Determine an annual amount for the change (∆P);
Step 5. Calculate the annual value of the improvement. Annual value = ∆P×V
Here's a good example from the book, Show Me the Money: How to Determine ROI in People, Projects, and Programs (2007):
The Show the Value Process Model Masks the Challenging ROI Work of the Phillips ROI Methodology
Some of the cases featured in this Show the Value of What You Do: Measuring and Achieving Success in Any Endeavor book have been written previously (and in great detail) in Patti and Jack Phillips' other books.
For example, the story about Xing Wang (general manager of the Lincheng branch of National Telecom, Inc.) and he and his team's ability to uncover the business needs, identify the causes of the initial failure to recognize business needs, and find the right solution was told in Ch. 4 in the 2021 book, ROI in Marketing: The Design Thinking Approach to Measure, Prove, and Improve the Value of Marketing.
The story about Kaycee Buckley and her measuring ROI in coaching for sales managers was told in a detailed case study in the 2020 book, Proving the Value of Soft Skills: Measuring Impact and Calculating ROI. What's critically important to understand and remember is just how much time and work (i.e., detailed collection, tracking, and analysis) went into Buckley's ROI measurements (e.g., her data collection plan; her ROI analysis plan; collecting data for Level 1-4; and analyzing data [isolating the effects & converting data to monetary value] & calculating ROI for Level 5).
Don't be dazzled by the appealing simplicity of the Show the Value Process Model (in Show the Value of What You Do). The beguiling oversimplification is very misleading and can make you think ROI work is quick and/or easy. It's neither. I would strongly urge the reader to take time and read Kaycee Buckley's excellent ROI case study (in the book Proving the Value of Soft Skills). Only then can you appreciate the time, energy, and effort that goes into doing the actual ROI work.
Let me just say that I'm a huge fan of the work that Patti and Jack Phillips have done with their previous ROI books on the Phillips ROI Methodology.
Unfortunately, Show the Value of What You Do is a disappointing attempt to bring the idea of ROI to the masses via the Show the Value Process Model.
Books on ROI can be "short" and great. Take, for instance, The Bottomline on ROI (3rd ed.). It's roughly 146 pages without the References section, and Patti Phillips does a nice job walking the readers through the fundamentals as well as the details required to execute the Phillips ROI Methodology. Perhaps most importantly, The Bottomline on ROI (3rd ed.) book stays true to the Phillips ROI Methodology.
A longer, but fantastic ROI book, one that also includes ROI case studies, is Proving the Value of Soft Skills: Measuring Impact and Calculating ROI. The first half of the book is devoted to discussing the Phillips ROI Methodology, and the second half is reserved for case studies. It is extremely valuable having sample cases to look through to really learn the ins and outs of the Phillips ROI Methodology.
I understand the aim/purpose of Show the Value of What You Do is to be a step-by-step guide on how to show the value of your initiatives, offering people a simplified version of the ROI Methodology. Regrettably, the authors ended up diluting the Phillips ROI Methodology too much and therefore made the Show the Value Process Model an overly simplified and illusory framework.
The Show the Value Process Model seems, on the surface, very simple. Yet, the skills and actions required in each step (which the book does NOT go into enough details) demand a level of ROI expertise, proficiency, and dedication that may astound many people. The Show the Value Process Model has neither the ROI substance nor detailed contents NECESSARY for readers to truly understand HOW to make the Phillips ROI Methodology work.
In Show the Value of What You Do, the authors used Rev. Doug Stewart's ROI Case Study (in which he showed the value of having a chaplain in the intensive care unit) to illustrate the Show the Value Process Model process. Rev. Doug Stewart's ROI Case Study (Phillips & Stewart, 2020) was much more involved and time-intensive than the cursory overview, shared in the Show the Value of What You Do book, would suggest. For example, Rev. Stewart conducted interviews with physicians, nurses, and pharmacists. He reviewed data, looking at the average ICU patient length of stay (LOS), comparing the success of an ICU with an embedded chaplain vs. one without a chaplain embedded, for the period from September through December 2016, and from May through July 2017. He then had to convert the length of stay (LOS) to money to figure out the ROI.
As noted in their other ROI book, Proving the Value of Soft Skills: Measuring Impact and Calculating ROI (Phillips, Phillips, & Ray, 2020, p. 117): "The challenge with any study like this (like Rev. Doug Stewart's) is to make the results credible by sorting out the effects of the program, converting data to money, and comparing that to the cost of the program."
Translation: This is not simple or easy.
Finally, it's worth noting that many of the case studies featured in the book (e.g., Kansas City SWAT Team, Xing Wang, Kaycee Buckley, and Doug Stewart) actually followed the 12-step Phillips ROI Methodology process, and not the 6-step Show the Value Process Model.
I really wanted to like the Show the Value of What You Do book. However, there were just too many holes and places where information on ROI either felt out-of-place or that additional context and background information were needed to make reading it less confusing and less disjointed. For these reasons, I'm sad and disappointed to say that I cannot recommend the Show the Value of What You Do book.
If you want an ROI book about the Phillips ROI Methodology, I recommend either The Bottomline on ROI (3rd ed.) by Patti Phillips or ROI Basics (2nd ed.) by Patti Phillips and Jack Phillips.
If you're interested in an ROI book about the Phillips ROI Methodology with case studies, I recommend Patti Phillips, Jack Phillips, and Rebecca Ray's Proving the Value of Soft Skills: Measuring Impact and Calculating ROI.
Written By: Steve Nguyen, Ph.D.
Organizational & Leadership Development Leader
Phillips, J. J., Fu, F. Q., Phillips, P. P., & Yi, H. (2021). ROI in Marketing: The Design Thinking Approach to Measure, Prove, and Improve the Value of Marketing. McGraw-Hill.
Phillips, J. J., & Phillips, P. P. (2007). Show Me the Money: How to Determine ROI in People, Projects, and Programs. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
Phillips, P. P. (2017). The Bottomline on ROI (3rd ed.). HRDQ.
Phillips, P. P., & Phillips, J. J. (2019). ROI Basics (2nd ed.) ATD Press.
Phillips, P. P., & Phillips, J. J. (2022). Show the Value of What You Do: Measuring and Achieving Success in Any Endeavor. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
Phillips, P. P., Phillips, J. J., & Ray, R. (2020). Proving the Value of Soft Skills: Measuring Impact and Calculating ROI. ATD Press.
Phillips, P. P., Phillips, J. J., Stone, R. D., & Burkett, H. (2007). The ROI Field Book: Strategies for Implementing ROI in HR and Training. Elsevier.
Phillips, P. P., & Stewart, D. (2020). The Relevance of ROI in Chaplaincy. Retrieved from https://www.spiritualcareassociation.org/docs/2020_conference/presentations/d6-relevance-roi-chaplaincy-4-21-20-participant-slides.pdf
Disclosure: I received a copy of Show the Value of What You Do: Measuring and Achieving Success in Any Endeavor as a complimentary gift in exchange for a thorough and honest review.