The Impact of One
– VINCE LOMBARDI
Pause. Name one person who consistently makes a positive impact in your organization. What is the impact? Why does it matter?
An organization is just a bunch of individuals working together for a common purpose. About 92% of those individuals have a clear understanding and make a conscious commitment to that purpose each day. The clarity and desire to contribute to that purpose is less consistent when it comes to about 8% of our employees, who can be considered low performing. For many in this category, the seat in the organization is just a job. This may not be a conscious outlook, but the lack of connection stifles overall progress.
The impact of one can mean the difference between organizational mediocrity and excellence. An organization must breed individuals who want to make a positive contribution to the mission and clearly know how their role matters to the overall success.
PURPOSE & COMMITMENT
Commitment comes from purpose (JoAnn Sternke, 2019). The more we help every person on the team connect to the purpose of the organization, the more we see individual actions that support collective success. The ones who are clear on the organization’s purpose and then connect their personal purpose to that mission create large and meaningful impact across the enterprise.
This idea of helping others connect to the larger purpose may seem daunting and frivolous to leaders and those responsible for the outcomes of a team. We may even assume that each team member naturally harbors this connection to purpose. That natural connection rests mostly with a team’s highest performers, with Gallup reporting 34% of employees (also the average percent of high performers) as engaged and “committed” to the workplace.
Foster Individual Impact in 3 Steps
Making an authentic connection with each team member makes it easier to keep everyone connected to the greater purpose of the work. It also makes it easier to foster individual impact. The leader connection process is a proven way to build relationships with employees. During these conversations, leaders can simply ask, “What part of this work is most meaningful to you? What drives you and gives you purpose?” Once you discover the purpose driving each team member, you can point out their individual impact in ways that will resonate and encourage more of those actions.
Message the Impact
Connect people to the organization’s mission and purpose through stories. Use connection conversations, customer feedback, or other survey feedback to harvest stories of individual impact. At every chance, share the many ways employees impact the organization. Open meetings with a message of impact connected to purpose, include these stories in a newsletter, or share the message on social media or through a blog post. Give others an example to follow and build a reputation of impact.
Who is someone you should celebrate for their impact? Who did you think of during your pause at the top of the page? Celebrate that person and the impact he/she makes. Write a thank you note, post a shout-out, start a “your impact means a latte” tradition at the end of each week or month, or nominate the individual for a special award. Build commitment to making an impact by celebrating individual efforts that stem from clear purpose.