The Circle of Impact is designed to show how the Three Dimensions of Leadership work together. It is a picture of connection and alignment that leads to impact.
Unfortunately, most of us don't think this way.
Our thinking is often fragmented, compartmentalize, lacking in meaningful connection and alignment.
It was only through conversations with people where we were trying to sort through this fragmented, compartmentalized picture that the Circle of Impact came into being.
It could have been a long or brief conversation about a specific problem or something quite general and obscure, regardless, the issue had one of three origins.
Either it was an Idea problem, which could either be characterized as a thinking problem or a communication one.
Or, it was a Relationship problem, due to either a personality conflict, a difference in values or the lack of personal engagement.
Or it was an Organizational Structure problem, related to issues of governance, program, operations or resources. Later, it became clear that the Social Structure of an organization also can be setting for these kinds of problems.
In this week's Weekly Leader column - The Subversiveness of Gratitude, I write about the importance of connection.
What we are discovering, and the practice of gratitude is showing, is that truth is not in the discrete, isolated parts, but in their connection to one another. On a human scale, this means that our identity is not our position, title or place in a system, but rather the function that we have in connection. Collaboration and shared responsibility is the ground for understanding who I am within any social and organizational setting. The connection between the parts is where the action is, and the organization lives.
What is the connection between the Three Dimensions?
Ideas are the tools for connection.
Social and Organizational Structures are the settings.
Relationships are where connections are made, and the action is.
The Ideas that matter in helping people make connections are Purpose or Mission, Values, Vision and Impact. If there is a hierarchy of importance, it is found with Values. Our conception (Idea) of our Purpose or Mission, our Vision and definition of Impact are formed by our Values.
For example, my Mission is to help individuals discover and act upon a purpose for their life and work. The ideas that give meaning to my purpose are values centered in human purpose, potential and impact.
It is also true that social and organization structures are tangible expressions of the values that are either intentionally determined or become the default values through inattention. Those values maybe about order, productivity, respect, trust or integrity. Or they may focused on wealth creation or personal freedom. Whatever the values are, they are the ideological foundation for these structures. They are seen in the effect or impact of the structure on the people who work wihtin the organization.
The three dimensions are not equal, but complementary. Look again at the Circle of Impact picture.
Purpose is an idea that is connected to Structure. The key focus here is to align the structure with the purpose of the organization. Without that alignment, the organization works a cross-purposes with itself.
Vision is an idea that is connected to both Relationships and Structure. The focus here is a picture of activity showing what it is like for people working within the structure of the organization to achieve the desire impact.
Ultimately, what this means is that leaders are not interested in ideas just for the sake of the ideas themselves. They aren't interested in having healthy relationships just because their values say they should. And, they aren't interested in structure just because it is needed for a business to function.
Instead, leaders are looking for ways to utilize Ideas to strengthen Relationships and inform how the Structure of the organization can be aligned with the company's Mission or Purpose.
The Impact of the Three Dimensions of Leadership should be better communication, collaboration and coordination.