That can simply mean inspiring or motivating those around you; it could be through driving innovation and creating something new; alternatively impact can mean delivering positive results for the world around you.
Today, making an impact in your career has arguably never been more important. In a post-pandemic world battling war, inflation, and the climate crisis, today’s business school students are increasingly prioritizing jobs where they can make a difference.
According to a recent survey by Carrington Crisp, more than 70% of prospective business masters students want to enroll at business school to learn how to tackle global challenges and develop responsible management skills.
So what are the essential ingredients that will allow you to make an impact in your career?
1. You need a curious mindset
Making an impact in your career requires you to change how you think. You can’t bring something new into the world or the workplace without first questioning what’s already there, right?
Curiosity is, therefore, essential if you’re looking to make an impact at work. It should be the foundation of your mindset if you aim to make a difference, thinks Andrew McCarthy, academic director for the MSc in Customer Experience and Innovation at IE Business School.
“Question absolutely everything: our assumptions, our biases, what we think we know about something, someone, or some group of people,” he advises.
Opening your mind in this way can help you develop new ideas and approaches that can make an impact. A recent survey of 2000 managers worldwide found 59% felt curiosity helps companies find innovative new solutions.
Whether you’re looking to reduce your company’s carbon footprint or launch your own social entrepreneurship venture, a curious mindset can be the foundation for new ideas and the launchpad towards uncovering new solutions.
2. You need to be resilient
Being prepared to keep going despite resistance and difficulty is essential if you’re looking to make an impact during your career.
You could be trying to create the next great technological innovation, or you could simply be trying to get your fellow employees to transfer to a more efficient administration system. All new changes require resilience as bringing impactful ideas into fruition is never easy.
To do this successfully in your career, you must become used to the difficult times that always accompany new ventures. Be confident that they will pass, and be ready to keep pushing when you meet resistance.
The most resilient people in business can also have the greatest impact. Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were famously rejected by numerous venture capital firms before they eventually received the funding that would help turn Google into a technology superpower.
“It will stay uncomfortable, but it’s about developing the confidence and the presence of mind to know that something will come out of it if we stay in that space a bit longer,” Andrew explains.
3. You need a defined purpose
Above all, to make an impact in your career you must first define what exact difference you’d like to make. Are you committed to tackling the climate crisis? Or do you aim to be an innovator who can bring new solutions into the world?
Whether you’re just starting out in your career, or you’re aiming to have an impact within the company where you currently work, defining your purpose and developing a strong sense of what you’re trying to achieve is essential for success.
Ask yourself what impact you’d like to make in your career. The likelihood is that you’ll have to motivate other people and rely on their help to achieve this, so you’ll need the ability to convey your purpose to those around you.
Purposeful leaders are those who can have the greatest impact. David Harrley became a social entrepreneur after graduating from his MBA at IE when he launched an impact-investment fund in Sub-Saharan Africa.
He feels that purpose is essential in building the relationships that drive impactful work. “Ultimately, whatever you do, it’s those relationships that make sense of why you’re doing it,” he says.
These are just some of the key ingredients that will ensure you can make an impact in your career. For Andrew, ultimately impact is about having an open mind and being prepared to explore new things.
“Find a new way to do something, and something new will come out of it,” he says.