By Linda Lubin Thompson
Do you believe that if you work hard and do a good job that rewards—recognition, bonuses, promotion—will follow?
Sadly, many people find that unless they tout their accomplishments, these may be ignored, or at most recognized briefly and then forgotten. With the pace of today’s society, it’s easy to see how this can happen.
How can you ensure that not only your work but also the impact of that work is recognized and valued?
One simple tool is the Impact Report. You can use it to describe your accomplishments in terms of what greater goal they achieve. It answers the “So What?” question, as in, “Ok you did that. So what? How does it contribute to your department’s goals, to your manager’s goals, to the business? What does it allow for or make possible going forward?”
Contributions to an organization’s goals are important in all sectors – for-profit, non-profit, academic, etc.
You fill in each of these three columns in the Impact Report:
What will this allow for?
What will it enable / make possible?
Most of the time when we report on our accomplishments, we only use column one. We simply list what we have done—our results. And sometimes we will say what we will do next. But the real impact, the “yes, you did that but what does it mean?” is often lost. The closer we can get to quantifying our answer to, “What will it allow for/enable/make possible?” the more clearly others and ourselves see the impact on the mission.
For example, if you solved a difficult customer problem, “what that allows for” could include increased future sales, a referenceable account, information back to your company that could prevent such problems occurring in the future. This goes in column two.
And if you ask again, ”Well, what will that allow for?”: future sales increases revenue and growth, a referenceable account means increased reputation and encourages prospects to become customers, and prevention of the problem occurring again increases productivity and saves money.
If you work for a food bank and invent a new way of storing produce so that it does not spoil, you have increased the amount of food available to your clients. Well, “what will that allow for?”: healthier people, less hunger, less waste.
This process takes some thought. Every result should be able to connect to the overall goals. If it does not, then maybe it is not necessary. (An exception to this may be regulatory requirements, but even those lead to saving money on audits and protecting company reputation).
Column three, Next Steps, flows naturally from the results and their impact.
There are two effects of clarifying the benefits of your work. First, the person receiving the report understands more clearly the impact on the organization. Second, and a very powerful outcome, is that you feel that what you do has meaning and value. You know your results are integral to the success of your organization and, perhaps, society.
So, record and communicate not just your results, but what they make possible for your team, your company, and the world.