LEADER’S FIELD GUIDE
We’ve all seen the ripple effect from rain drops on water. Concentric waves move quickly away from each drop. Once force is applied, the surface is disrupted or changed until the energy dissipates. We’ve all experienced the ripple effect in our professional and personal lives, too! A positive (or negative) event can create a lasting impression affecting our beliefs, attitudes, and actions for years to come. Sometimes, the energy from an experience or encounter does not dissipate, but continues to make an impact.
The Ripple Effect: a situation in which one event produces effects which spread and produce further effects.
Imagine ripples on a pond during a light rain. When two cresting waves meet, they increase in size resulting in constructive interference. Yet, when a cresting wave meets a wave at its lowest point (or trough) the waves cancel each other out creating a zero amplitude. This is called destructive interference. What kind of interference or influence are you? Are you like a cresting wave that multiplies the positive in a situation or cancels out anything constructive in a situation?
What causes a ripple effect in our leadership?
- Past Influences: Think back to a pivot point or a former situation that changed things forever. Maybe it is the go-to story we tell when asked, “What made you start your business?” Maybe it is the reason we refuse to speak harshly to another or the reason our team seems to distrust members of another department.
- Current Beliefs: Take, for example, our core values. Core values don’t just appear, they evolve– and they are powerful. Core values or beliefs impact how we translate new inputs and drive our immediate actions and decisions. Being aware of and aligned with our beliefs increases the likelihood of creating constructive interference in our work.
- Future Impact: Each action, regardless of how small, has a lasting and magnifying impact on the future. For example, staying up late, tonight, finishing a deliverable, changes the course of tomorrow. A word of encouragement for an employee might improve his attitude, altering the way he treats children at home– even five years later.
“The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” ~ The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell
At the risk of mixing metaphors of rippling water and spreading wildfire, we must be mindful of the influence we have as leaders! Are we part of a magical moment or part of a zero-amplitude experience? Even a drop of water on a pond has an effect. …And many drops on a pond can exponentially magnify long-term impact and influence.
— Join a Synergy Group where we will discuss what the
Bible says about Ripple Effect. —
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman (PMP, PCC) is a speaker, author, and leadership coach with Leading Synergies. She hosts global masterminds, called Synergy Groups, for REALLY BUSY Christians leading with powerful confidence and humble hearts. She works with high-performing leaders focused on organizational effectiveness by refining strategy, inspiring teams, and delighting clients. Michelle specializes in the areas of information technology, project management, franchise management, and business as mission. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 22 years.