Impact

In Step

A story highlighting the power of soldiers marching in-step caught my attention.  As it turns out some soldiers are requested to ‘break step’ when marching over bridges.  The genesis for this protocol can be traced back to an incident in 1826 where a British platoon marching in-step created sufficient vibrational resonance to structurally damage the Broughton Suspension Bridge.  The incident has been repeated by the military foot soldiers of other nations.

It is a colorful example of the impact a small but well coordinated group can achieve.  When we are connected to a common purpose and headed in the same direction, we do not need everyone to make ourselves more powerful.  We need those who share a vision of a better future and are willing to coordinate their actions.  Who is marching with you?

Awareness

The impact of our actions is not always visible.  The opportunity to recline your airline seat may appears to be a generous benefit that may in turn have unintended consequences.  Even if we choose to use the full range of the seats extension, how we recline sends a powerful message.  The slam back without warning suggests the person in seat in front has little thought about what may lay behind.  The person who assess their options with at least a visual scan has already demonstrated a courtesy and empathy to a shared journey in a spatially challenged environement.  

How do we assess our impact?  Is there someone to provide feedback on our blind spots?  Do we realize it is not only why we act but how we execute our actions that matters?

The 12th Step

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Addiction programs of note have 12 steps to recovery.   Individuals who complete 11 of 12 steps have a higher likelihood to lapse back into their addictive behavior than those who complete all the steps.  Said differently, individuals who make it 90% of the way stumble far more than those who go one level further.  What makes the 12th step so powerful?  The 12th step is a commitment to mentor another person who has suffered from the addiction.  The act of giving ourselves in the service of others has a profound and lasting impact.

If a friend tells you they donated $1,000 to a charity it may be impressive but it might not be a transformational act.  If your friend told you they gave their Saturday to refurbish a charity’s program center, we are inspired.  The commitment of our time and expertise has more of a far-reaching impact than the investment of capital.  The act of donating our time is valued more than our treasure.  If we offer our time in the service of others it inspires and builds a committed tribe.

* Another post from a day with Simon Sinek in New York City.