The Single Question That Takes Your Impact Way Bigger Than Just Results

As a little sneak-preview for you, an excerpt from one of my favorite chapters of Tap Into Greatness… 

What rank did we end up with? What KPI are we pushing for? Where are our numbers? How far did we increase our reach? What was the final score?

Sound familiar? As most leaders, you spend a lot of time talking about and focusing on results. Your success is judged, competition monitored, and team’s success measured by them.

If your team doesn’t know the result they’re shooting for, they lose momentum, focus and direction. Without a clear finish line, no one will keep running faster. Got it. Really effective managers get concrete results clear first. But you’re more than a manager…

You need to play a bigger game than that as an Influencer. While you might do a great job at outlining the specific deliverables or framing out the metrics expected of you by your stakeholders, how often do you go bigger- beyond those measurables? What if you asked the question a bit differently… 

“WHAT DO I WANT TO HAVE?”

Importantly different than “What result are we going for?” this is more than semantics. Changing the question gets to something deeper, broader and more activating- where influencers make their distinctive mark. They don’t just get results, they have impact, they have reach, they have pull from the inside out. 

HAVE is the very first thing that every great influencer asks herself before she goes into any idea, plan, conversation, presentation, meeting, and especially the office for the day… 

"What do I/we want to have out of this?” 

Yes- they call out specific results, but also isolate all the other indicators which equal true impact

Result only: We’re going for 1 million units in sales for this new product. 

With the Have added in: We’re going for 1 million units sold… And want to have a fired up team, have buzz in the market, have people converting to our brand, have the street cred of solving what others couldn’t… 

That’s much more impact than just the finite result of units sold. As you broaden the horizon this way, it sets a bigger game and more meaningful orientation to it for everyone involved. Now they have something to rally to, not just finish. 

Don’t just hit results, have impact.

Real Influencer Moment: 

A coaching client from the restaurant industry took this on. A notoriously intense chef for the highest-grossing restaurant of a fun, successful brand, he leads teams under serious time and performance pressure. They do it, but it can be tense. With this HAVE question, he decided that he wanted to have a different environment- a fun environment with a kitchen staff of people who were having fun all of the time, cranking in their quality of results; productive, effective and happy despite the slams of pressure. This changed the game for his staff, his culture, and his bottom line.

 

Deep & Wide

Have gets at impact that goes wide…. answering the question of, “If we have that… then, what else will we cause?” This is the ripple effect of what you do, and getting strategically intentional about what else you're causing with your efforts.

As in: 

If we have a fired up team, then what else could we cause beyond that (ripple effect)? 

Ambassadors for the brand, talking it up in their circles outside of work. 

Which could then trigger having… 

The word of our brand getting out there to new prospective clients, who will check us out… 

Which could then trigger having… 

Expansion to a completely new demographic of clientele coming in the door… 

You can see where this is going, right? 

Keep asking the question, “Then what?” and you’ll map the ripples of impact you can strategically have. 

 

Have also gets at impact that goes deep answering the question, “If we have that, what else would we of course have to make that happen?” This is drilling into the layers of impact deeper than the initial obvious answer. Go intentionally for depth of impact, which takes root to grow stronger. 

For example:

If we have a fired up team, what would that mean we also have? 

People who believe in what we’re doing. 

Which means we’d also have… 

People who are committed to the brand. 

Which means we’d also have… 

People who will have longevity. 

Which means we’d also have… 

People who will invest their talent and trust in us. 

Which means we’d also have… 

A solid core of all-in people who will truly help us build to a whole new level of impact….

You get it. 

Every time I take a client from a result they’ve identified into a Have-Deep and Have-Wide exercise like this, they come back to their targeted result with renewed energy, because the stakes of it get bigger- one little result turns into the platform for broad, deep, meaningful impact. Bam! 

Think about that project you’ve got happening right now, and the results you’re shooting for in it. Take a minute to brainstorm deeper into the impact you want to really have out of this project beyond just the articulated result? If you had that, then what? What else would you have? Then what? What else? (you get the idea of these layers deep and ripples out, yes?)

This expansion from result you're getting to ImpactYouHave applies to individual interactions all day long, too. What good is the big plan if your steps along the way aren’t focused for impact too? Make it intentionally count there, too. 

For example: 

Halfway through a regular weekly conference call, as people tune out and you’re wondering what the point is…STOP.

Sure, what you’re covering was emailed in the agenda, but to what end? Get the haves clear, articulated and understood, before you move on. Ask them:

What do we want to have by the end of this call?

What results? What plan? What deliverable completed? 

What level or energy and engagement from this team? What problem solved? What alignment? If we had those then what? 

…then notice how the whole call shifts with fuller engagement from everyone. 

Better yet—start the next call with the Haves as part of your WIIFM: 

“By the end of this call we will all have:

  • Every question you’ve been confronted by with the client clear and answered
  • Total alignment about next steps and who’s doing what
  • Relief and fired-up-ness for what’s coming in this project

…Let’s dive in!”

For awesome influencers, this gets very personal. It’s why they inspire and affect you so much—because they ask the Have question of themselves right before diving into an exchange with you, every time. They clarify the impact they want this interaction to have on you and your process… then they make the time with you count purposefully. 

You can too: 

  • Go bigger. In your next planning conversation, take the question broader and deeper. What do we want to really have out of this? Elicit as much as you can there, identify the strongest impact, and then clarify the concrete result you’re trying to hit. It may help to give prompts like “have on our team, in the industry, in the world, in our own process.”
  • Pause first. Before picking up the phone or responding to your next email, pause and clarify: Out of this communication, what do I want to have? Agreement? Collaboration? The other person put in their place? Maybe.
  • Focus in. Outside of work, think about what you want to Have before you automatically dive into experiences, and notice how it focuses it for you…I want to have true connection and focus on one another with my family tonight. 

With focus set on what impact you’ll Have, your next choices of what to Do and what facet of yourself you’ll step into to create it become clear and simple…

To see what happens with our Real Influencer the chef and how he set himself up to identify what he needed to Do and how to Be the version of himself to cause that major shift in his staff (and of course how you can too, every time), check out Chapter #5 of Tap Into Greatness… :)

 

©SarahSinger&Co. 2015

Ripples and Focus

Single sculling on a glassy lake- meditative, challenging, peaceful.

I got hooked into it with my dad when I was a teenager, as we spent hours on Atwood Lake learning it, alternating between 2-man sculling together and single sculling on our own.  As I went off to college, he continued to row, solo on the lake every morning the northern Ohio weather would allow.

There’s no better place to contemplate choice, impact and the ripple effect than in the middle of a glassy lake.  When single sculling, your orientation is to where you’ve been and how you got there, rather than where you’re going. You’re on a sliding seat with two long oars fit into outriggers, the bow of the boat pointing through the water while you power it with long, full-body, full-blade strokes of the oars feathered into and over the water in perfect synchronicity. At least that’s the goal.  Therein lies the challenge.  To get both oars perfectly balanced, dipped into and pulled through the water at exactly the same depth, force and speed takes focus and control with constant motion.  To get each stroke evenly powered first by legs, then torso, then arms, then feathering the oars perfectly out of the water and skimmed back over it without nicking the surface takes a different kind of focus and coordination.  Like sailing (my other favorite), you can both lose yourself in it and spend your life hooked by the challenge of the nuance in it.  A thinking person’s sport, to be sure.

One of the coolest parts of sculling is that you see feedback and progress with every stroke.  Because you’re facing to the aft of the boat, your focus is on where you’ve been, watching the wake your boat is leaving behind, the pools of ripple left by each oar.  If your timing was off by half a second between oars, you see it in the ripples.  If you had a perfect stroke, you see it in perfect round pools on either side of your straight wake.  As you gain distance, the trail of pools down the lake chart your progress and path- straight, zig-zagging or meandering.  Each circle of ripples expands instantly, first in distinct circles of light and shadow, multiplying instantly and quickly, ultimately overlapping into the very texture of the lake.

Most people have a default time orientation- past, present or future.  I’m definitely a future-oriented person, sometimes challenged to stay in the moment, as I’m always thinking 5 minutes, 5 days, 5 years ahead of where I am now.  This makes me a good coach and consultant, as I’m great at quickly surveying past patterns (but restless in dwelling there too long), zooming in on the impact they’re having now, and then strategizing both the right path forward and endless possible scenarios forward with insight.  I love to reflect, yet sometimes need to remind myself to do so, often feeling afterward like it was an indulgence. I am big on feedback and learning, so I’ve learned how to strategically and quickly reflect enough to gather feedback when necessary- but always to learn forward.  I am continually striving to (and coaching others to) be more fully present in each moment.  The more I can master this, the more impact and fulfillment I make/get out of every moment.  Meditation is the extreme version of this. I’m intrigued by it, have gotten tremendous value out of the dabbling I’ve done in it,  and have a perpetual goal of making it a habit.  Sculling forces me to keep my focus backward, forcing reflection and in the present, adjusting each stroke and coordinated movement based on what I just did.  Focusing forward or to the future isn’t even possible without physically turning around.  Opposite of life for me- always focused forward, having to consciously stop and intentionally turn around to reflect backward.

One of my favorite parts of sculling is just coasting… After a few long, powerful strokes the boat glides smoothly and silently through the water.  I hold my oars up to rest as I glide, and watch the water drip from them into the water moving past.  The drops make tiny circles, which grow instantly to ripples, which multiply faster than I can track smoothly, beautifully and overlapping into the ripples of the drop before it. Every move we make, every conversation we have, every decision in life we conquer- intentionally or not makes these ripples, which expand into the texture of our lives.  How much are we tracking them, studying them, choosing our next moves based on them?

©SarahSinger&Co. 2011