Wouldn’t it be great to have more impact in your professional life? To be more effective and get sh*t done with more ease. I am always amazed by how much time is wasted in the workplace, during meetings, conference calls and day-to-day business. Lots of talk, but not much action.

Today, I want to share three things that have enabled me to have more impact in my own life, particularly during my corporate days as a professional investor. Three things, which together, offer a simple (non-exhaustive) model for having more impact at work.

1) Competence

You will always be selling yourself short if you don’t work on your competence, no matter what your role is and how much you try to compensate for the lack of it. No amount of brownie points will ever make-up for lack of knowledge and skills. At least not in the medium-to-long run.

Don’t forget the basics

Yes, talking about competence is back to basics, but it is the basics that are usually ignored. People talk about wanting to “lead” and to have more responsibility and blah blah blah. But often, they pay very little attention to their own competence, particularly in the corporate world. I am not talking about plumbers and hairdressers. They would be found-out very quickly. I am talking about the more opaque world of PowerPoint, (empty) suits and conference calls, where you can hide behind behind waffle and colourful presentations.

Effort and interest matter

Competence is largely a function of experience and effort. Experience is of course linked to time, but effort is within your full control. If you are not focused on the skills of your trade, you are ignoring something fundamental. And, if you are not interested in continuously developing your skills, you have no hope of having impact.

2) Courage

Having competence is one thing, but putting it to use is another. Courage is about having the guts to share your competence with others. To take a risk and offer your ideas and suggestions. To put forward potential solutions and work collaboratively to test their viability.

Dare to share

Having competence is pointless if you are unable or unwilling to engage with others to fully leverage it. And, that can be difficult if you operate in a tough and unforgiving commercial environment where loud-mouthed-bags-of-hot-air might be stealing the show. That is when courage is most required. To step forward with what you have to offer. To cut through the fluff with well-thought-out solutions.


And, remember that competence can feed courage by giving you the confidence to share your ideas. Because you know that you are coming from a place of knowledge and skill.  Because you really know what you are talking about. Notice how the elements of the model feed and reinforce each other. They work together. have more impact3) Clarity

And, we now arrive at the sharp end of it all, without which competence and courage would have little impact — clarity. Clarity is about really looking for the nub of the problem. About constantly asking: What is the (real) question?  Who is it (really) for? How useful is this anyway? Sometimes, the purpose for doing something is not entirely clear even to those initiating the work.

We’ve all been there

Just think of the number of aimless meetings and calls you have been on, where even very competent people waffle on and on and on. Where no one has a clue about what is going on, what exactly is required and why. Yet, the minutes go by, the call comes to an end, and everyone is at square one. Why endure such pain?

Be the light, cut through BS

Searching for clarity is like bringing light into a dark room. The more clarity you have around purpose, the more likely you are going to be able to use your competence and courage effectively. And, the more clarity you seek, the more likely you will have the courage to speak up and engage. Once again, the three elements reinforce each other.

Final Words

And, remember not everyone will love you for trying to have more impact. A competent and courageous person searching for clarity is dangerous to those who are committed to a different path. A path of petty politics and lazy incompetence.  A path of insecurity and fear. But, that needn’t stop you.

Do it anyway — have more impact

If you work on developing more competence, courage and clarity, you will always have more impact no matter what your line of work is. And, what’s more, your impact will grow over time. Because the potential for developing each element of the model is infinite. Because you can always have more competence, more courage and more clarity. There’s always more!

So, go and shake things up. Have more impact in 2019!


Find out more about Harsha’s work