In a world of attention-seeking, viral-wishing messaging, mission-driven businesses, organizations and nonprofits are struggling to find their way.
Every investor or supporter demands impact, so everyone must want this metric and it must be the right number to focus on.
Impact, impact, impact.
Some call this shareholder-interest - in contrast to stakeholder-interest. And collapsing the time and gap between initial investment and measurable anything - all in an effort to justify continued interest, additional investment, or reassess viability - is shareholder short sidedness
Granted - impact is sexy, attention-grabbing and is the closest thing money comes to going viral... in start-ups and nonprofits.
That makes 'impact' a necessary evil driven by short-sighted foundations and investors, quarterly reporting, and guidance. And there's a lot of pressure to perform by these metrics... to prove we're one of the big-guys....
But mission-driven messaging is slow and patient - it buys a chair and sits in it (because that's what a chair is for - and this sitting is where we find momentum, inertia and scaling). This stakeholder-driven view doesn't live or die by comparisons, being better than so-and-so, or different from 'them' - it doesn't have the energy to care.
The question is whether we can build a community as patient as we should be, celebrating progress and not just impact.