A few weeks ago, I talked about Leading in Crisis and Beyond Resilience, two sides of the coin in the quest to rebound well in the post-pandemic environment. The last missing piece in this equation is impact.
LI + BR = IMPACT
Impact, in the broader sense, is the achievement of lasting effects that you want to see in your client/customer or stakeholder. If you are non-profit, we tend to look at the overall societal gains as a barometer for how far your results have achieved or contributed to these. In a post-COVID19 scenario, the stakes are high to put impact back as the centerpiece of your mission.
1. Impact is not cooked up in isolation
Impact is not something that you create on your own as an island. It is about building important relationships and connections in order to secure a broad base support for your work and increase the likelihood of its success. The triple bottom lines of planet, profit, and purpose emphasize a shared responsibility in creating, defining, and measuring impact at all levels of engagement with all partners concerned. Doing this alone is like walking through the tunnel in darkness and expecting a marching band to welcome you out.
2. Evidence doesn't come from big data
The biggest fallacy I have ever come across my desk in the area of impact is the fact that big data is the solution to the lack or incompleteness of the impact stories of governments, businesses, and the social sectors. Moreover, the overreliance to data is imbalanced. This time, there are more considerations and requirements in keeping with ethics, accountability with populations, and communicating strategically. All these, data can never tackle on its own. It needs the human element to interpret and make sense what data conveys.
3. Plan to fail
Despite the planning for success in measuring impact, failures are inevitable in the context of learning and re-learning to get things right. Obsession with success puts pressures on staff and management to be the first, the best, the most competent. These false measures only create frustration and bad precedents. Sometimes, it is not in your success that can tip the balance between being average and excellent. Failure provides tremendous opportunities that are not visible in the naked eye, either failures lead to real progress or give the impetus to redirect the actions to more fruitful areas.
4. Delivery is an art and a science
We judge a book by its cover all the time. Presenting your impact requires deliberate attempt to be concise, informative, and directive. Your audience deserves to know and best of all, to be engaged in exploring the future work that lies ahead. Sell them the vision but more than that, sell them how you are best positioned to lead them in that future through the results you are doing right now. Everybody loves a winner.
Leading in crisis and going beyond resilience will accelerate your impact in the post-COVID 19 climate. There is no substitute to doing good work. But why do you work hard when you can work smart.
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