Audit Advantage: Impact



You need to make an ‘impact’ with your CV, at a job interview or when you are doing a presentation, this, we all know.  But have you thought about all the other instances where impact matters? When you meet a client (internal or external), a stakeholder in your organisation, even a potential suitor… First impressions really do count, but impact is more enduring and goes far beyond that initial sense of who you are. In fact, whether conscious or unconscious you are always making an impact on people, inside and outside of the workplace, day in, day out. The key question is: are you making the impact that you want?

Who are you?

You can’t evaluate whether you are making optimum impact until you can actually articulate the effect that you want to have on people. While this sounds highly manipulative, it is about understanding, and then projecting, who you really are. This is all about authenticity or finding and being the ‘real’ you.

In his book, Emotional Equations, Chip Conley offers a snappy calculation for this: Authenticity=Self-Awareness + Courage. He explains, “Self-awareness without courage means you know who you are but the rest of the world doesn’t. Courage without self-awareness can lead to macho posturing.” He goes on to ask four questions which you can use to assess your authenticity:

  1. Who knows you best? Would they describe you differently from how the rest of the world might describe you? What are you like when you are with them? How do you feel in their presence?
  2. What is the biggest masquerade in your life today? When do you feel the biggest disconnect between who you are and what you’re doing?
  3. How are you most frequently misperceived and why? Which is the real you and what stops others seeing you as you would like to be seen?
  4. If an independent onlooker observed you 24/7 for a month, what would they describe as your three greatest strengths and your three greatest weaknesses?

Take your time to answer these questions and think of it as a self coaching exercise to evaluate, and then address, the authenticity gap between who you think you are and how you others see you. The ‘real’ you, the authentic you, will be somewhere in the middle; you can now start to articulate who that is, what is most important to you, as well as your beliefs and values.

Dialling it up to eleven (out of ten!)

So ‘impression management’ might not be as sinister as it sounds! From a bedrock of personal authenticity you can strive to hit that delicate balance between being conscious of how you come across, while being genuine, honest and true to yourself. The good news is that it presents a perfect circle: being authentic engenders trust and empathy which is critical for having lasting, positive impact!

Impact suggests the wow factor but first, you need to get the basics right. These are the obvious ones: smart attire and grooming, a strong work ethic (reliability, hard-work, consistent high quality output, on time within budget), a constant positive ‘can do’, solution focussed mindset and the ability to be a supportive and highly participative team-player. 

Beyond the basics it’s all about your personal brand, making your presence come to life and leaving a positive impression, with strong impact. Check out our article, Personal Brand: the auditor behind the numbers and read on for six more suggestions on ‘dialling it up to eleven’.

  1. Be seen, be present, be there. Be bold in your interactions; make eye contact, court positive body language, seek to make your presence known and remembered. Introduce yourself and offer help, open conversations and build your network. Be true to yourself by standing up for your views, backed up by facts and sound logic.
  2. Find your energy and passion. We can’t all be passionate about everything all of the time and some of us, by nature, are passive, mellow or reserved. But for impact, you need to be seen to have energy for something. Start a quest to find your passion, an aspect of your role, a line of reasoning or an outside interest and develop it into your own signature, to stand out from the crowd. Use this to convey to others, in a highly authentic way, your potential for enthusiasm and confidence in your abilities.
  3. Show initiative, take the lead. Look for problems to solve and make your own opportunities. Be the person who makes things happen by proffering solutions, from desensitising a prickly staff relationship to deep-dive technical research on a one-off audit issue.  
  4. Go that extra mile. Your job description covers the basics, that’s the essentials, but not necessarily the desirables. How can you add value to your job, your department, the organisation and go above and beyond your role? Think commercially and find an area where you can throw in everything you’ve got – skills, experience, knowledge, relationships.
  5. Become the go-to expert on a topic that talks. Take some time to build a specialism. All the materials that you need for self study are at your fingertips, thanks to google. Webinars, books, videos, TED talks, online courses. Carve out your niche which may mean knowing just a little more than everyone else
  6. Collaborate to double the impact of any of the above! Take your team with you or seek out others to build and strengthen your network. Go forth and multiply that impact!

Which topic would you like to read about next month? Look over the list of topics in the original Audit Advantage article here and let us know your choice for the next topic we should cover.

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