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Celebrating Impact Players

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First, kill the notion that impact players only reside at the top.  I have been involved in too many turnarounds where we “cut off the head, and the body responded”.  Impact players are everywhere.  They’re the people that step up, and not just in a time of crisis.

Second, dismiss the thought that impact players are born, not made.  Some are more fortunate and learned how to be an impact player earlier in life or earlier in their career.  They’re commonly called selfstarters or achievers, but this is wrong.  The most common attributes of an impact player are curiosity and inquisitiveness.  Who would you rather count on?  Someone who asks, “What and by when?” or someone who asks, “Why and how best (can we achieve what we want)?

Where does curiosity come from and how can it be stimulated?  Most of it comes from exploration.  Think of a two or three year old.  Are they learning or are they exploring?  Do we have structure and systems (including school systems) that promote exploration and experimentation or do they, by design, promote normative behavior?

To be identified as an impact player is one of the greatest forms of flattery and recognition.  Why then don’t we tell people what it takes to become one and help them make it happen?  I’m sure you can come up with your own definition, but here are some attributes that I think crossover a number of roles within the typical organization:

• Uses critical thinking skills (Why do it this way or that way?)
• Finds ways to replicate and build on success (Why not leverage what we just learned?)
• Is inquisitive/constantly seeking (What’s next?  Why not this too?)
• Applies integrative thinking (How does this relate to the whole?  Is there a “third” way?)
• Embraces the concept of speed (Why not now?)

Do you have a culture of curiosity?  Do you promote inquisitiveness as a personal development goal for yourself and others within the organization?  If not, you’re probably short of impact players.