Impact and Participation

We’ve been taught to participate, just show up is what we have always been expected to do.  Because we are expected to participate, that’s what we measure.  We measure participation.

We participate in sports.  We participate in school.  We participate in the company’s new product launch.  We’ve become comfortable with participation.

Participation is easy.   Participation requires we show up, not screw up and make it to the end.   Participation gives us a way to get credit without having to do very much.   Participation is like fastfood, it’s a lot of stuff with little value for cheap.  Participation is a cheap alternative for work.

The other problem with participation is when we do it, we expect more  for it than is actually deserved.  We show up a lot, then expect to be rewarded handsomely, regardless of impact.  We measure participation in repetitions and time, because that’s all participation is.  Participation has nothing to with creating impact.  It’s nothing more than just showing up.  The more you show up, the more you are participating.

Impact on the other hand is about changing things.   Impact is when something is changed because of participation.  Creating impact means something is better, stronger, improved, it is no longer the same.  Impact is measured by how much BETTER, FASTER, STRONGER, MORE EFFICIENT, MORE COMPETITIVE, MORE EFFECTIVE something becomes.  Impact is making a difference.  When we stop expecting participation and start expecting impact, things change.

What impact do you make?   Are you measuring your impact or your participation?   Choose carefully, it matters.