I’ll never forget my first real opportunity to dive into the world of impact. I was in my early 20s, had just joined a sustainable energy company, and one of my first initiatives as their Communications Specialist was to plan their Earth Month Campaign.
30+ Earth Month events later, and a viral social media campaign that won Gold in the Go Green Advertising awards (my colleagues and I still celebrate this more than a decade later!), I was officially hooked on the joy that comes from building brands rooted in purpose and impact. It seems I’m not alone…
93% of employees believe companies must lead with purpose, and a further 88% believe it’s no longer acceptable for companies to make money at the expense of society at large
70% of American consumers believe it’s either “somewhat” or “very important” for companies to make the world a better place
55% of American consumers believe it’s important for companies to take a stand on key social, environmental, and political issues
58% of organizations that currently have a strong and clear sense of purpose experienced 10 percent or more growth during the last three years
More powerful stats like these can be found by clicking here.
While employees and employers focus more intentionally on building purpose-driven companies, we are also witnessing the rise of impact jobs. Leaders of sustainability, DEIJ, community impact, corporate responsibility, ESG, employee belonging, and social impact are joining companies in droves. Corporate initiatives that fuel impact are becoming just as important — if not more — than anything else within the business strategy. People are making decisions about where they work, who they buy from, and who they partner with through the lens of impact.
But it’s not enough to be a company that claims impact. You have to be a company whose actions, initiatives, and day-to-day prove impact.
Data at the Core
For impact leaders, they are used to proving their impact. There is perhaps no group more used to using data than leaders of impact, as the data paints the tale of what’s working, where to head next, and the greater context the work sits within.
But the truth is, whether we are leading Marketing, Sales, Operations, or Finance, we are all in impact roles, and it’s the responsibility of all leaders to use data more strategically to not just report on what is happening, but to shed light on what needs to happen next.
Let’s dive into 3 ways we can use data more powerfully, in an era fueled by impact:
- Create Your Own Analysis: Think of your favorite analyst reports — the ones that predict Future of Work trends, show the growth of a particular market, shed light on top challenges ahead for a particular department, etc. Now, imagine if your firm created its own analyst moment. Consider something your organization may want to get behind. For example, a pharmaceutical org shedding light on health equity and accessibility; an insurance firm proving customers today want a return to humanness; a construction company demonstrating the gains of green building; a chamber of commerce showing the ease of living in their state as compared to others… as a few examples. Pick the thing you want to shed light on, consider what you need to report on to educate, influence, and affect what comes next, and determine whose data — beyond your own — you might need to obtain.
- Statements Proven: What is your company vision? Core values? Mission statement? These are such important phrases that you share regularly, so why not take it to the next step? Consider an internal data project that will allow you to tell your story to employees, customers, and prospects with even greater impact. For example, can you show potential and current employees how you progressively measure employee belonging? Can you demonstrate to future customers what client vitality truly means to you? By being able to put numbers behind your statements, your statements are no longer words. They are words proven by action.
- Be Daring: The world of impact is used to having to measure the hard and important to demonstrate their progress towards a more just, equitable, sustainable, and social environment. But no matter our department, we should dare to measure bolder. It’s not enough to measure standard KPIs. Let’s start thinking about what feels impossible to measure — quality of client relationships, pace of innovation, brand authenticity — and start measuring them. One of our favorite things to do at SQA Group is to show our clients how to take the seemingly immeasurable and make it measurable through our proven Metrics Finder methodology (more on that here). And the reason I love it so much is that we can’t play it safe with our metrics anymore. The impact space NEVER got to. Now it’s time for the rest of us to be bolder.
In a world of impact, we have to talk about data. And in the world of impact, we have to remember that each of us plays a part in steering towards the Future.
So… what is one thing you want to do differently tomorrow with data?
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