How To Make An Impact Series #5

This is the last post in the “How To Make An Impact” series.

The purpose of walking students through the Impact Graph is to help them see where they are and challenge them to go further in their ability to make a difference in their environment. One of the caveats to this kind of conversation is the desire of the student. A student must want to grow.

The Impact Graph

The Impact Graph (click on image to see full size)

Characteristics like persistence, determination, teachability, and personal discipline serve as the foundation for a student who desires to make a greater impact. As I show a student the Impact Graph and we figure out where he or she sits, I tell them the path to leadership is paved by two key elements: passion and permission.

Passion is an emotional response and intense devotion to a cause or project or person. It is found on the inside of a person. People are most effective in leadership within the areas they are passionate about.

Permission is the willingness of others to serve in a place of leadership over them. Powerful leadership doesn’t happen through coercion or bossing people around. People are most effective in leadership when others willingly follow them.

How To Make An Impact Series #4

Blake Mycoskie made a discovery. While in Argentina, he noticed that a lot of kids didn’t have shoes. So he returned to the United States and started a shoe company. For every pair of shoes that someone buys here, he gives away a pair of shoes to someone who needs them. You’ve probably heard of Blake’s company – Tom’s Shoes.

While Blake’s example is widely known and fairly large in it’s impact, there are a numerous examples of students who have discovered a problem, seen a need, or grown dissatisfied with the status quo and worked toward change. Some would say the time that a young person spends in school is meant for preparation — to get ready for the “real” world.

How To Make An Impact Series #3

Imagine you are watching the start of a race. The runners are at the starting blocks. Their feet are set and their fingers spread just behind the white line in their lane. The starter raises his hand and says these words:

On your mark. Get set. Go!

Imagine that all the runners take off…except for one. This runner remains in the blocks. In his mind, he is envisioning himself in the race — legs striding out, arms pumping, racing neck and neck with the other racers. But this is only occurring in his mind. His body is still in the blocks.

I know, it’s a silly scenario. But I see this all the time when a person has an opportunity to get involved, take care of a need, solve a problem, or fill a leadership position — and he or she just sits in the starting blocks.

How To Make An Impact Series #2

I recently posted a comment to an online discussion. The question was, When did you first realize you were a leader?

In my response, I stated that my first leadership role was eraser monitor. “The job of the eraser monitor was to take the erasers from the chalkboard (do we still use chalkboards?) outside and bang them together to get the chalk off them. The monitor always returned to the room a bit pale.”

As a child, and well into adolescence, I viewed leadership as a role or position that someone filled. You were a leader if you had the title, the t-shirt, and the nametag. If you didn’t have a position, you weren’t the leader.

The Impact Graph

The Impact Graph (click on image to see full size)

This brings us back to the Impact Graph. There are two measurements in the graph. One distinguishes between leaders and followers, the other between impact and no impact. In the last post, I describe those who fall into the follower-no impact category as “spectators.” In this post, I want to address the leader-no impact category. A group of people I like to call “figureheads.”