The Impact Equation: A book review by Bob Morris

Posted on: February 26th, 2013 by bobmorris

9781591844907_p0_v1_s114x166The Impact Equation: Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise?
Chris Brogan and Julien Smith
Portfolio/Penguin Group (2012)

Here’s the Formula for High-Impact Business Success: C x (R+E+A+T+E)

Those who have already read Chris Brogan and Julien Smith’s previously published book, Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust (Wiley 2010) may recall their citing of David Maister’s concept of a success equation in his book, The Trusted Advisor. The formula for high-impact business success (I = CxR+E+A+T+E) to which the title of this review refers is explained in the first chapter. The nature and extent of Impact are determined by the nature and extent of six additional components:

Contrast: Is your idea significantly better?
Reach: How well-connected are you?
Exposure: How often do you connect and interact with those in your audience?
Articulation: Is your idea both clear and compelling?
Trust: Do people believe – and believe in – you?
Echo: How well does your idea resonate with your audience?

Brogan and Smith observe, “By working on each part of the equation, one at a time, you will begin to see what you’re doing right, doing wring, or nit doing at all. You will see where your strengths are and why your ideas are spreading, or why they aren’t spreading as much as you’d like. You’ll understand what you need to work on, and you may even be able to prevent your mistakes. Thus last part is the one that’s vital.” I agree.

They are world-class pragmatists who possess an insatiable curiosity to understand what works, what doesn’t, and why, then share what they have learned with as many people as possible. They devote a separate chapter to each of the seven, devoting most of their attention to HOW to achieve and then sustain high-impact business success. I commend Brogan and Smith on their skillful use of various reader-friendly devices that include checklists, bullet-point reviews, and dozens of boxed insertions of interactive initiatives such as these in the first three chapters: “Rating Each Attribute for Yourself,” “Action: Get Your Game Face On,” “Tying Emotion to Ideas,” “Contrast: How to Improve,” and “Impact Example: Skylanders from Activision.” These devices will facilitate, indeed accelerate frequent review of key material later.

These are among the dozens of passages that caught my eye, also listed to suggest the scope of their coverage:

o Impact = C x (R-E-A-T-E, and, Why the Impact Equation Matters (Pages 10-16)
o The Attention War (25-29)
o Build Before the Need (42-47)
o An Ecosystem of Ideas, How to Recognize Bad Ideas, and, Obvious but Somehow Not Obvious Bad Ideas (60-68)
o Method #2: Have More Ideas (74-77)
o Too Many Ideas (107-109)
o Discovering the Core Message: Three Methods (122-126)
o Why Platform Is Essential to Audience Capture (146-148)
o The Fallacy of Needing a Vast Platform (169-171)
o Three Very Different Interactions (200-203)
o Basic Human Behaviors (209-212)
o How to Become Credible, and, How to Become Reliable (215-218)
o The Benefits of Human Sacrifice (229-230)
o Ways to Untangle (253-254)

On Page 197, Brogan and Smith observe, “We hope the concepts in this book help you develop the channel you have always wanted — one that helps spread a message that matters and helps everyone reach the audience they know they can speak to. Once you have these tools and have mastered them, the next step is to pass them on, to give someone else the ability to leave an imprint. So give this book to someone. It may help them a lot.”

I realize that no brief commentary such as mine can do full justice to the material that Chris Brogan and Julien Smith provide in this volume but I hope that I have at least suggested why I think so highly of it. Also, I hope that those who read this commentary will be better prepared to determine whether or not they wish to read the book and, in that event, will have at least some idea of how to master and then apply the formula for high-impact business success.

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