See you at the top of the ladder of impact

Do you ever tell your partner to do someting -  put the laundry in the laundry basket, buy vegetables on the way home, walk the dog -  just to find a dirty sock on the couch, end up with a dinner without vegetables and a dog who desperately needs to pee?

Do you ever send a mail to a colleague asking him/her to do something, just to notice days later that nothing has been done?

If this happens, do you blame the other person rather than yourself?

I currently have the privilege to attend an on-line course from Institute for Personal Leadership (IPL) about Driving Strategic Impact. In the first lesson we learned that there are four levels of impact.
Level number one: Generate robust insight and recommendations.
Such recommendations can be:
"Put the laundry in the laundry basket."

"Contact our colleagues on the other site and set-up a collaboration to get this important task done."

If you stop at this level, the outcome is likely to disappoint you. Maybe there is no reaction at all. Instead of considering your child disrespectful and your colleague selfish, increase your level of impact.
Level number two: Ensure your insights and recommendations are understood.
Talk to your child and explain that the magic of laundry transforming into clean and folded clothes, only work for clothes that are in the laundry basket. (Not for lonely socks on the floor or crumpled up t-shirts in the foot end of the bed.)

Stop mailing your colleague and start talking to her/him. Explain that the colleagues on the other site have knowledge that is needed for handling the assignment really well.

A lot of people stop at level two and rush on to their next task. If you really want to be the type of person who makes things happen (rather than just being busy), you should go for the next level of impact.
Level number three: Ensure action is taken based on your recommendations.
Make sure it is possible to act on your recommendations. Possible and easy.

If I would ask each family member to bring their laundry all the way down to the laundry machine in the basement, I doubt they would. So I ensure we have laundry baskets close to each bedroom. It becomes easy to do the task and then it gets done.

If you facilitate the first meeting between the colleagues who will benefit from working together, you will have increased the chances of the collaboration working out well.

The fourth level of impact is the most overlooked one.
Level four: Check if your recommendations delivered the desired impact.
This step is the one that really puts your ideas and recommendations to the test. My examples are simple and the outcome is likely to be close to what was intended. But for more complex societal problems; like providing health care and a good educational system, it is not a given that the ideas give the wanted impact. In fact, it is rather uncommon. We often hear politicians talk about all the great things they will do. And then they move on to their next task, without ensuring the right action is taken. We end up with a lot of nice words but few desired results.


I dare you to move beyond step two, all the way to step four! Then you  will become one of those who really make a difference.

See you on the top of the ladder!

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