What is impact to you? Think of the game of pool. The cue ball is impacted by the stick. It is a directional force applied to a specific location on the ball that determines its speed, it’s spin and the precise angle that it should hit the numbered ball. Experts can determine its vectors to the point where each impact the cue ball makes as a result of this directional force moves other balls to specific places at specific speeds and impacts multiple balls. Watch any video that has Florian Kohler doing trick shots. If you watch carefully, you will see that though the stick has the initial determination, the impacts of the other balls and the bumpers and sometimes his props direct the balls to their final destinations. It can also be compared to that age-old cliche, dropping the rock into the calm pool. But we know from experience that it is never a single rock, and the pool is never calm.
This is starting to sound like one of the lectures from the show, “Numb3rs” where the mathematician explains his algorithms as applied to game theory and interpersonal interaction models….geek speak for another 2 min…
Let’s make this more applicable. Joseph Bell was a teacher/physician. He honed his powers of observation to a fine edge and became a brilliant diagnostician. The medical field was not technically advanced enough to allow for DNA testing, they didn’t have mass spectrometers, or electron microscopes. He could tell by just looking for minute “tells” whether someone was a drinker, where he worked, what he did, how old he was, where he was brought up, and where he’d traveled. Of course, it’s obvious where I’m going with this. He had a profound impact on Arthur Conan Doyle. He basically changed the direction Doyle’s life would go. But he didn’t stop there, he influenced the TV show “House” and he influenced how forensic measures can be used to catch criminals, thus all the “NCIS” and “CSI” shows that abound on television as well as in the real world of criminal justice. Did Dr. Bell have any idea he would be influencing whole segments of the population with his life and his work? As a lecturer, he reached many people, and as a writer, he reached even more. Being written about changed generations, whole industries, and countless lives.
A leader makes an impact on the people he leads down multiple generations. A leader also influences the people he surrounds himself with. If leader B has a leader A, and most do, this leader A not only has the initial impact on on leader B, but also on his bumpers and the others leader B comes in contact with. Leader A defines the table and how many balls are on it. But after that initial impact, leader B defines the table and the balls that are left. What I mean is that after the impact, the new leader can choose how to share this monumental change in direction and force and spin. He may stretch the boundaries of his table, add more balls, subtract the number of holes, change the location of the cue ball…change the nature of the game.
It is important to note at this point that ANY interaction has an impact. Something as profound as a powerful lecture, an amazing discovery, an insight shared with a friend, a smile to a stranger can change the course in someone’s life. I have a friend that has gone to Disney world on multiple occasions. One time, he got it in his head that though everyone wants autographs from Mickey and Elsa, no one asks the broom pusher or the guide. He decided that on this trip, he’d get autographs from the people who made the magic happen…the “cast members” as they are called that do the mundane tasks that keep the park remarkably clean and free from the ordinary, humdrum, stressful elements that people are trying to get away from. He had a profound impact on the people he asked for autographs, then he told his story to all the groups he belonged to and influenced them as well.
As we all know, impacts can be both positive and negative. As leaders, we want to look for ways to make positive impacts on the people around us, and look for people that can impact us positively as well. We want to be the impact, and look for the impact that will effect us and move us toward our goals.
Read: Keys to the Kingdom, Joseph Bell, biography of Gregor Mendel, biography of Jean Phillipe Rameau.
Go: Play some pool