Back to resources

How to Make an Impact

Goal Setting
Impact
Productivity

24 September, 2021

Rushabh Shah
Rushabh Shah

Director of Engineering at Boostup.ai

Rushabh Shah, Principal Software Engineer at Harness, discusses how to make an impact regardless of the role one is in.

Problem

How do people grow in their careers? Simply: by making an impact. But, making an impact is not as easy as it seems. Some people appear to be more successful in making an impact than others, whether they are ICs or leaders. Is it an innate talent or something that we can learn and perfect? While the answer is likely somewhere in between, as with anything else, learning and practicing can only help. I have created simple guidelines that should help anyone, regardless of their role, to make an impact.

Actions taken

First and foremost, identify a goal. The goal should be SMART, (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound).

Next, identify all stakeholders and map out how your goal would impact them. Depending on your goals, your stakeholders can be your peers, customers, team members, anyone to whom you want to deliver something. Have them become engaged: sell them the idea before you invest time working toward that goal. Also, use them as a sounding board -- solicit feedback to see if what you are doing makes sense. Stakeholders are critical in validating if an idea is worth pursuing, but the partnership you will forge with them will make them your allies in a joint venture. Your stakeholders should become your most vocal supporters who would want you to succeed more than anything else. Why? Because you will make their life better.

Working with the team is no different. You want to communicate your ideas and update your team on any developments regularly. Rather than having them ask you for updates, proactively provide them. I think that my communication approach is succinctly captured in a dichotomy of push vs. pull. That approach will position you as a leader with a vision that has an impactful goal and can develop an actionable plan. Another thing that will bring you closer to making an impact is to lead your team by example. You should demonstrate key principles and work ethics in your own actions. Serving as a role model will raise a bar a bit higher, making you a better leader.

In the end, it’s essential to keep people excited and motivated about your project. Often, people are excited at the start of the project, but then the motivation starts to fade, and people tend to lose interest. To keep their enthusiasm high, you should be able to visualize the end goal every day and remind the team of the benefits of achieving that goal. If your goal is placed further away into the future, you should break it down and have small wins. By celebrating small wins, you will showcase the regular progress.

Lessons learned

  • I personally follow and encourage others to follow the guidelines above. But they are made for an ideal case, and things rarely go according to plan. While these guidelines can bring you confidence, prepare to embrace turbulences, pitfalls, and failures that will be your companion on this road. Whatever difficulties you stumble upon, don’t be discouraged; instead, take it as a learning opportunity.
  • Stay positive. People like to be surrounded by people who have positive mindsets. The impactful person will not allow negativity to consume them, let alone affect people around them. The key is to be able to solve the problem that is troubling people—no pointing fingers but rolling up the sleeves.
  • Communication is key. With stakeholders, peers, and team members, always pursue proactive communication. You will not make an impact if people around you will not understand what and why you are doing.

Discover Plato

Scale your coaching effort for your engineering and product teams
Develop yourself to become a stronger engineering / product leader


Related stories

Managing Remotely: Balancing Team Cohesion and Focus Time

26 May

Jonathan Belcher, Engineering Manager at Curative, explains how to balance team cohesion and individual focus time, tapping into his experiences of working remotely for seven years.

Remote
Micromanagement
Meetings
Internal Communication
Productivity
Psychological Safety
Performance
Jonathan Belcher

Jonathan Belcher

Engineering Manager - Patient Experience at Curative

Here to Make a Recognizable Difference: How to Develop Teams

5 May

Eric Merritt, VP of Engineering at Whitepages.com, divulges on the many complexities of developing teams in management by solving problems according to their needs, and empowering teams.

Leadership
Impact
Sharing The Vision
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Eric Merritt

Eric Merritt

VP of Engineering at Whitepages.com

Balancing Technical Debt Innovation: How Roadmaps for Development Help Your Company Succeed

4 May

Brad Jayakody outlines the roadmap to maintaining a healthy balance between technical debt and team growth. However, just as balancing acts go it is important to have a strong foundation.

Alignment
Leadership
Impact
Roadmap
Tech Debt
Career Path
Brad Jayakody

Brad Jayakody

Director of Engineering at Motorway

Leading Your Team in Stressful Situations

27 April

David Kormushoff, Director at Koho, recalls how he galvanized his team to tackle a time-sensitive problem, sharing his tips on how to shift chaos into calm.

Goal Setting
Leadership
Conflict Solving
Deadlines
Collaboration
Motivation
Strategy
Health / Stress / Burn-Out
David Kormushoff

David Kormushoff

Director at Koho

The Necessary Structures of Time Management

14 April

Suryakant Mutnal, Engineering Manager at PayPal, discusses the importance of time management and the necessary structures in order to create internal consistency.

Goal Setting
Managing Expectations
Remote
Deadlines
Productivity
Roadmap
Prioritization
Performance
Suryakant Mutnal

Suryakant Mutnal

Engineering manager at PayPal

You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.

Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.