I used to feel powerless to effect the design change I wanted to see at my tech companies employers.
I didn’t control the product strategy and roadmap.
I didn’t push code to production.
I felt stuck.
I was tempted by the “seat at the table” conversations, but found that they didn’t resonate with me. They felt like talking while avoiding taking action.
I wanted to gain recognition for the outcomes I could deliver, not an argument about what I thought I deserved.
In the corporate world, complaining isn’t a recipe for inclusion, it’s the opposite. You don’t get a seat at the table by being a pest; you get asked to join it when the people in control depend on your guidance.
Whether I liked it or not, I had to play the game. I had to think differently about how I might impact the system
While I didn’t have hard power at these companies, I had a formidable skill set for the creation, presentation, and execution of new ideas.
I had soft power: I could persuade and influence.
This influence might not look like the textbook definition of power, but it’s no less of a force than any other kind of power when wielded well.
Over 11 years of experimentation and fighting my way up the corporate ladder, I created a framework to remind myself how to make the waves I wanted to see ripple across the products I worked on.
I reminded me I was not powerless and didn’t require me to ask permission to effect change. I call it the IMPACT framework
If you’re feeling stuck, IMPACT will get you moving.
For the rest of this article, I’ll introduce each step of the framework so that we can each begin to consider where we’d like to focus. Then, I include a poll to gauge where the community is feeling like they could use the most support.
This community is full of immense talent.
Let’s unleash it.