Optimize the Impact You Make!
16 December 2019
Whether you want to or not, you generate impact. Anyone working directly or indirectly for an organization will generate both positive and negative impacts. Whether you work as an employee, or a manager at a social or traditional enterprise, both large and small, it is your responsibility to help optimize its economic, ecological and societal benefits.
Here are some tools and food for thought to help you optimize your impact:
Why should you mesure your impact?
Entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs have everything to gain from defining and measuring their impact. This approach can not only serve to properly align future actions of the organization, but can also motivate employees by showing them that their daily work contributes to a greater cause. Sharing the results of their actions also allows an organization to gain credibility with clients, to stand out with partners, and to receive funding.
Not to mention that entrepreneurs who highlight their impact will have an advantage in times of labour shortages, since young people entering the workforce want to do meaningful work and are looking to join impactful companies. According to a survey conducted by Léger in Quebec, in 2019, 87% of the 2,000 participants, between the ages of 18 and 34, stressed the importance of working for organizations that strives to improve society.
How do you reduce harmful impacts?
Even the best-intentioned companies unintentionally generate negative impacts. International NGOs that help fight hunger in impoverished countries sometimes make people dependent on their services. In some cases, companies that exploit natural resources generate waste and greenhouse gas emissions. It seems taboo to talk about it, and yet we have everything to gain from digging a little deeper. My mentor Jay Friedlander created the Abundant Cycle, a tool that allows entrepreneurs to get a broad picture of their operations and discover ways to improve their systems. The tool is accompanied by 14 concrete tactics that leaders can adopt to optimize the impact they make on people, on the planet and on their profits.
Reducing negative impacts should not be seen as a chore, says Jay Friedlander, but rather as a way to minimize losses and maximize gains.
How to increase your impact?
The guide pratique sur l’impact (a practical guide to impact, available in French only), put together by André Fortin, offers several avenues to enhance your impact. For example, the concept of continuous improvement: how to ensure that a company does not maintain the status quo, and instead remains in search of innovation and improvement. There is also the notion of influence, which consists of companies sharing their knowledge and best practices in order to help other organizations.
In my opinion, one of the simplest ways to increase your impact often starts with the corporate culture and working conditions of the employees. I recently had the chance to visit Cascades, a company in Kingsey Falls. Walking through the site, I felt the strong company pride. This undoubtedly came from the measures taken by Cascades to improve the quality of life of their employees. Flexible hours, support for community initiatives, the company even hires a horticultural team to make the village look pretty!
The ball is in your court. Now that you have some tools in hand, the Abundant Cycle and the practical guide on impact, I challenge you to measure and optimize your impact. After all, the impact you create through your organization is, in a way, the legacy you will leave behind you.