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Diverse And Inclusive Workplaces

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Impact Players

Impact Players

  • Impact players find the most valuable way to contribute their capability at work.
  • Practice One: Do the job that’s needed.
  • Practice Two: Step up and take the lead, then step back and support others.
  • Practice Three: Finish stronger.
  • Practice Four: Ask and adjust.
  • Practice Five: Make Work Light.
  • Discover the foundational skills of impact players.


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Impact players find the most valuable way to contribute their capability at work

To understand these differentiators, researchers asked managers at nine top companies to describe three types of employees:

  • High-impact contributors: those who do work of exceptional value and impact.
  • Typical contributors: Those who produce solid, steady work. They work hard, perform well and earn high praise from their managers.
  • Under-contributors: Those who perform below their capacity and capabilities.


613 reads

Practice One: Do the job that’s needed

Impact players aim to serve. To embrace the habits of impact players, do the following:

  • Understand your organization’s goals and culture – Learn what makes an impact.
  • Look for a double “WIN” (“What’s Important Now”) – Look for something important to the organization that’s also important to your immediate boss (or stakeholder). Then look for an opportunity to contribute where your capabilities overlap with the WIN.
  • Work with purpose – High-impact players bring passion to their jobs and the tasks they need to do, not to their particular areas of interest or specialty topics.


482 reads

While most employees work diligently, impact players see the larger picture and apply themselves where they have the greatest effect. Habits that impede even the hardest workers include:

  • Focusing only on their job descriptions – Obsessing over their place in the organizational chart causes them to miss the organization’s top priorities.
  • Playing only to their passions – Managers need employees to work toward the organization’s priorities and to direct their passion to what needs doing.


373 reads

Practice Two: Step up and take the lead, then step back and support others

Typical contributors deliver on their tasks and produce solid work, but sometimes miss their mark. Behaviors that impede these workers include:

  • Waiting for an invitation – When you want more responsibility, step in and take the lead. Teams of bystanders do not thrive.
  • Creating a team of equals – Collaborative teams are great, but they need direction. When taking the lead, communicate your intentions to your teammates (what you aim to accomplish and how it benefits the organization), and ask for their cooperation. Willingly share power and credit for your accomplishments.


324 reads

Impact players step up. Adopt these habits of high-impact contributors:

  • Take a leadership role – You don’t need to manage a project to take initiative. Project manager Ellie from Target, for example, discovered a problem in the technology set up for all the stores. She gathered everyone involved, illuminated the problem and resolved the issue that had persisted for months in thirty minutes.
  • Enlist others – Break down the challenges of a project and recruit others to help.
  • Step back – Share the accolades with others on your team and follow others when they take on projects.


293 reads

Practice Three: Finish stronger

Habits of high-impact players call on you to:

  • Finish the whole job – Leaders know impact players complete their projects despite challenges and rely on them for their highly visible, pressing priorities.
  • Maintain ownership – High-impact employees lead and retain responsibility throughout the project. They know when to ask for help, and ensure they have the tools and support they need to do the job.
  • Prepare for challenges – Impact players prepare for unknown hurdles and find effective solutions in advance.


267 reads

Impact players assume responsibility and accountability. Behaviors that impede less-effective employees include:

  • Finishing for the sake of finishing – Some projects lose relevance in today’s shifting priorities. The high-impact player knows when to let go of an unproductive project.

Sounding false alarms – When people see problems as threats, they often can be too quick to sound the alarm, which dilutes influence and credibility. Beware of overcommunicating problems and underdelivering solutions.


233 reads

Practice Four: Ask and adjust

To embrace the habits of these impact players:

  • Seek guidance – Managers respond well to coachable employees. Impact players ask for feedback, not validation.
  • Adjust – One Salesforce employee, for example, took pride in his technology designs, but often had a defensive relationship with his peers when they offered feedback. As he responded more positively to criticism, he enhanced his ability to work with others and design more effective products.
  • Return – When impact players receive guidance, they close the loop by showing their mentors the positive results of their investment.


212 reads


Typical contributors prefer stability and prove risky in today’s dynamic business climate.

These practices impede lower performers:

  • Sticking to what they know – Instead of changing with priorities, less-effective workers focus on their strengths and fail to adjust.
  • Portraying an air of confidence – Instead of asking for guidance, these employees refrain from reaching out and discovering alternative approaches. By asking for guidance, you increase, not decrease, your credibility and your manager’s confidence in you.


208 reads

Practice Five: Make Work Light

Adopt these habits of high-impact contributors:

  • Require minimal oversight – High-impact workers do the job with minimal supervision because they are low maintenance. They come prepared to meetings and stand ready to help.
  • Lighten the workload and the work environment – High performers know how to help busy managers by finding ways to ease their workload. Keeping the mood light, they help their teams perform well.


233 reads

Discover the foundational skills of impact players

Impact players know to adjust their:

  • Perspective – High-impact employees can take others’ viewpoints into account. While typical professionals assess a situation and act, they may end up missing something if they only see it from their own point of view. Impact players step back and examine the issue from other angles, to expand their understanding before taking action.
  • Lens – Seeing everyday challenges through an opportunity lens, not a threat lens, makes the impact player an asset. An impact player knows how to add value when facing difficult situations.


216 reads

Grow Talent from within

When inheriting a team, leaders grow talent from within. Adopt these habits as you coach your employees:

  • Work on the WIN.
  • Re-characterize what leadership means in an agile world.
  • Ask your employees to finish one project before moving to another.
  • Critique the work not the person.
  • Let your employees know what makes your job easier.


240 reads

Active Promotion

To actively promote impact-player behavior, call attention to specific actions and encourage collaboration among teammates. Celebrate your team’s valuable and self-directed contributions. If you do, you will build a team of high-impact players – and a culture of cooperation and initiative, with confident employees who excel in this agile world.


241 reads



Industrial Mastery, Mentor, Light Worker, Nutritionist, Gymrat


How to Take the Lead, Play Bigger, and Multiply Your Impact

Curious about different takes? Check out our Impact Players Summary book page to explore multiple unique summaries written by Deepstash users.

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