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Using Principles to Create Leverage and Make an Impact

“If you give me a lever and a place to stand, I can move the world.” – Archimedes

If you are anything like me, you are driven to make an impact. However, making an impact requires a lot of effort, and it can be challenging to keep working at it. Sometimes it feels like we are constantly working but not making any progress.

The question is: How can we change the tide in our favor? How do we get more impact with less effort? It all comes down to leverage. When I think of leverage, I think of the quote above from the Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, astronomer, and inventor, Archimedes, “If you give me a lever and a place to stand, I can move the world.” Leverage is an advantage for accomplishing a goal, and the best way to do that is to apply well-thought-out and established principles. This is not about being rigid; it is about maximizing your mental energy so you can optimize your effort.

How exactly does applying principles create leverage? Well, let’s look at an example. Amazon has 14 leadership principles (check them out here) that serve as the foundation for aligning leaders and setting expectations for organizational performance. Of course, everyone brings unique attributes that directly influence their leadership style, but leadership principles are the common denominator for how leaders are expected to show up in the organization and represent their culture. Here are a few of their principles:

  • Have a Customer Obsession: The company pledges to put customers first at all times, earning their trust in the process.
  • Take Ownership: Leaders need to think of themselves as owners of what they do. Every action they take, both big and small, reflects on the company in some way.
  • Invent and Simplify: Amazon prides itself on innovation, so the company expects its leaders to get creative when finding solutions.

When a leader or employee knows what should drive their behaviors, it takes the guesswork out of the equation and makes decision-making easier. This approach works well for Amazon, but it can also be applied in a small organization, a team, or even for your own personal efforts to make an impact. I have used this approach myself and with my clients for years, and I assure you it works.

So, what principles can you think of that would provide the leverage you need to make a meaningful impact? I would love to hear some of your ideas.

What is Sparking Me Up

Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs – John Doerr

Few authors can boast as much experience helping organizations as John Doerr. He worked in Silicon Valley with Intel and other firms before starting his career investing in and advising start-ups. He was an original investor in Google and Amazon and now chairs Kleiner Perkins, one of the largest, most-respected venture capital firms. Doerr discovered, invested in, and mentored outstanding leaders, including Bono of the Irish rock band U2 and tech pioneers Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google.

In Measure What Matters, Doerr shares a proven approach to operating excellence: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). In this goal-setting system, objectives define what we seek to achieve; key results are how those top-priority goals will be attained with specific, measurable actions within a set time frame. Everyone’s goals, from entry-level to CEO, are transparent to the entire organization. The benefits are profound, but what I found really powerful are the Five Crucial Questions. In your conversations with team members about their OKRs, Doerr advises you to ask five questions: What are you working on? What progress are you making on your OKRs? What, if any, obstacles do you face? How can I help? How do you need to grow to achieve your career objectives? Check it out here.

Motivating People Starts with Building Emotional Connections

If you want to inspire and motivate others to achieve high levels of performance, tap into the power of emotion. Thousands of years ago, Aristotle identified pathos as a critical element in communication and persuasion. As the maxim suggests, logic makes us think, but emotions make us act. In this article, Scott Edinger offers three ways to harness the power of emotion to motivate your team: 1) Cultivate the energy that flows from enthusiasm. 2) Recognize what’s behind anger and put it to better use. 3) Drive deeper engagement with a focus on development. Check it out here.

Understanding The Paradox of Success

Fearing failure leads to not trying new things, not innovating, and not taking risks. And not trying is often the biggest failure of all. Because failures lead to lessons, and lessons lead to wins. This is why the road to success is paved with failure. This is why the road to perfection is paved with imperfection. So never let your fear of failure keep you from trying. Never let your fear of missing keep you from aiming. And in your firm’s culture, never let rational risk aversion turn into an irrational fear of failure. The only thing to fear is fear itself. Check it out here.

If you want to make a more meaningful impact, feel more fulfilled, personally and professionally. Let’s have a conversation.

In our work together and following my coaching process, leaders like you can connect with your true purpose and make a positive impact on yourself and the world around you. I see you, I connect with you, and through honest conversations, I can help you increase your impact and find more fulfillment.

NOTE – This text was contributed by my friend and former podcast guest Tony Matignetti. Enjoy his interview here.

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