If you truly want to make an impact, think about what you want to achieve and find a simple way to describe it. Why is that important? In order to truly make an impact you need others to understand, to be involved, and to adopt. It sounds easy, but reality usually paints a different picture. Consider you are passing an investor/exec in the hallway or friend you haven’t seen in a while – how would you briefly describe what you want to do?
Here are five steps to take in order to clarify your thoughts and simplify your message:
1. What is your “thing”?
Before you try to tell someone about what you want to do, think about what you want to be known for once you accomplish your objectives. Think about this scenario: You walk by two people and one looks at the other and says “Do you know him?” The other person says, “Yes, he is the one who ….” This is your brand. So, consider how your big objectives are going to impact your personal brand. You might be surprised how much this quick step could actually influence your original intention.
2. Know the objectives of others
Ensure you have perspective. Who else will be impacted (positively or negatively) by your plans? Attempt to understand if others are interested in attaining a similar outcome. If there is an ability to channel multiple efforts so there is more than one “win”, your odds of success will increase. One major caveat here – you should be asking more questions here instead of providing answers. Socializing your idea prior to knowing how it could impact others could put your idea at risk before it is ever off the ground.
3. Estimate effort and impact of making a change
Now that you have a concept about what success might look like and who might be impacted, it is time to start socializing ideas. Do not focus on getting attention from others, instead drive to understand what a goal (measureable impact) would look like and resources (people, time, and money) needed to get there. Assume the next step from here is to get the right people to together to clearly articulate your objective, goals, and what you think it will take to get it done.
4. Tie it to numbers
One thing to remember, the bigger the objective, the higher in the organization you need to go. And the higher in the organization you need to go, the more you need to have numbers. Whether it is volume (#), revenue ($), or percentages (%), you must show a tangible result to the top or bottom line.
From experience, you have two options to get attention.
- When times are good, you should focus on driving the top line. Focus on driving more sales so you would want to see numbers such as revenue, market share, number of clients, etc.
- When times are tough, focus on impacting the bottom line. Here the focus should be on reducing costs which would highlight margins, profitability, scalability, etc.
5. Make a BIG statements
Now that you have everything in order, make your big statement. Whenever you have an audience, you need to make the most of it. To do this, make sure your statement has a core component and a variable component to tailor to the audience. Sounds confusing, but it’s not that bad.
Core Component – “Become dominant global brand…”
Variable Component (talking to Sales) – “… to drive significant market awareness resulting in more sales opportunities and increased revenue”
By taking these steps you should see a dramatic increase in both awareness of your initiatives as well as support. Be prepared for it!