“If you give me a lever and a place to stand, I can move the world.” – Archimedes
If you are anything like me, you are driven to make an impact. However, making an impact requires a lot of effort, and it can be challenging to keep working at it. Sometimes it feels like we are constantly working but not making any progress.
The question is: How can we change the tide in our favor? How do we get more impact with less effort? It all comes down to leverage. When I think of leverage, I think of the quote above from the Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, astronomer, and inventor, Archimedes, “If you give me a lever and a place to stand, I can move the world.” Leverage is an advantage for accomplishing a goal, and the best way to do that is to apply well-thought-out and established principles. This is not about being rigid; it is about maximizing your mental energy so you can optimize your effort.
How exactly does applying principles create leverage? Well, let’s look at an example. Amazon has 14 leadership principles (check them out here) that serve as the foundation for aligning leaders and setting expectations for organizational performance. Of course, everyone brings unique attributes that directly influence their leadership style, but leadership principles are the common denominator for how leaders are expected to show up in the organization and represent their culture. Here are a few of their principles:
- Have a Customer Obsession: The company pledges to put customers first at all times, earning their trust in the process.
- Take Ownership: Leaders need to think of themselves as owners of what they do. Every action they take, both big and small, reflects on the company in some way.
- Invent and Simplify: Amazon prides itself on innovation, so the company expects its leaders to get creative when finding solutions.
When a leader or employee knows what should drive their behaviors, it takes the guesswork out of the equation and makes decision-making easier. This approach works well for Amazon, but it can also be applied in a small organization, a team, or even for your own personal efforts to make an impact. I have used this approach myself and with my clients for years, and I assure you it works.
So, what principles can you think of that would provide the leverage you need to make a meaningful impact? I would love to hear some of your ideas.