Joan Marques - MBA, Doctoral Student
Burbank, California - October 2002

Impact: "The effect or impression of one thing on another," or, "the power of making a strong, immediate impression." These are two of the ways in which explains impact. When looking for articles written on the topic, one runs into a large number of references to September 11, 2001. Because THAT was impact: no one expected it, and it changed the way millions looked at the fragility of life, the unreliability of safety, and the unmistakable power of vengeance.

In its October 2002 edition, the magazine "Entrepreneur" launches an article explaining the importance of impact by mentioning a meteor that changed Arizona forever some fifty thousand years ago. The article ends with a hint on how one can determine where his or her organization can make an impact: by listing the organization's qualities, and the ones from its competitors. Similar qualities should be crossed out. What is left on the organization's side should be zoomed into, in order to inspect how to inflate it, so that it will make the organization stand out, and, hence, make an impact. And, of course, what goes for organizations goes for you too! You can determine in exactly the same way as you do for your organization, how to make an impact with your personality.

Impact can be good or bad. But it sure makes an unforgettable, sometimes even history-changing, impression. And it requires creativity, drive, guts, timing, and perseverance to rise to the level where you can make an impact.

  • Creativity - to let your fantasy juices flow and construct a model that others have overlooked
  • Drive - to obtain enough energy to really DO something with your creative mind. Too many creative minds remain unused due to lack of drive.
  • Guts - to dare bringing your thoughts in the open, be laughed at repeatedly, yet stubbornly continue to search for acceptance.
  • Timing - because a good idea, energy, and guts, can only pay off if you present them to the right people at the right time. There must be a need, and there must be a niche. And sometimes you will have to create them: at the right time.
  • Perseverance - for the many times they'll drop the bomb of rejection on you and you'll have to pull yourself together, stand up, and continue trying.

To some people their mere appearance has impact on an audience. And it might not even be the way they are dressed, or their natural beauty: It may simply lie in the way they carry themselves.


Others rely on their people skills for the impact they want to make. Although they may remain unrecognized when they enter a room, everyone drops quiet when they start to speak. And, either with the tone of their voice, with the words they use, or with the gestures they make, they leave a lasting impression.


Then there are those who cause an impact through their creativity. They dress differently, and act differently from the rest. That's pretty much the way most companies in the business world try to make an impact as well: looking where no one else is looking, and focusing on the needs or niches they discover there.


Everything we accept as normal today is the consequence of an impact made at one time or another. Desktop computers come to mind portable radio's follow cars, television-sets, and even pens, pencils and paper present themselves to the imagination: they all caused their own revolution and resulted in a lasting change.


So, what is the impact YOU want to make? How will you get them to take you serious? And what is your strategy to reach that point? First things first: Start thinking! Make it a habit. Nestle it somewhere in the back of your mind: "How can I make an impact?" And start perceiving things in that light from now on. Suddenly the "ping!" will be there: the light bulb will flash the foundation for your legacy will be laid.

From there on it will depend on your strategy: how you choose to get from the "here and now" to the "then and there."


Remember, the better prepared, the greater the impact. Hiroshima, Pearl Harbor, Sept. 11, but also, on a more positive note, trains, boats, and planes: they all had their impact on many lives. And although you may not win a Nobel Prize with your impact, or cause 200-mile winds with the splash you create, you can still change some lives at some time with your impact. It's up to you!