Impact Mapping: One of the Best Ways to Motivate Employees

People & Culture

Great businesses start with a purpose. Helping each member of your team understand how the impact they create is linked to your purpose is one of the best ways to motivate employees. At Incrementa, our purpose is to create aha moments that transform businesses. That means everything we do should be about this. 

When you are a business owner or leader, it should be very obvious how the impact you create links to the purpose of your organization. But what happens when your team expands to 5, 15, or 500 people? Impact mapping is a fantastic way to motivate employees.


What is Impact Mapping?

The concept of impact mapping comes from Selling With Noble Purpose by Lisa Earle McLeod. The idea is simple: most people (especially younger generations of workers) want to feel like they are making a positive impact in the world. If you want to tap their capabilities, they must understand how they are aligned with the purpose and making an impact through the work they are doing.


Impact Mapping as a Tool for Motivating Employees

Every function in your business should create an impact. When you look at the impact each person creates against the purpose of the business, a job becomes a mission. And that mission is to create as much impact as possible. 

As a business strategy consultant, I’ve shown businesses how to use impact mapping to transform their teams’ approach to what they do. I recently worked with an association that provides support to small businesses in a particular industry to help them grow and succeed. They had a great team of people around them, including an accountant, a graphic designer, a content writer, an events manager, and a data specialist, to name a few. 

The purpose of this non-profit was to empower small businesses. But what we found is that their purpose statement meant very little to most of the people on the team. It’s not that these people didn’t think it was a great purpose; rather, they just didn’t understand how their roles were contributing to empowering and levelling up small businesses.

So, how did we fix this? You guessed it- an impact mapping exercise! We looked at every function and asked each person what they did to drive impact for their industry. For some of the team, it was simple:

  • The events coordinator created and managed learning and community events
  • The community manager supported their members, allowing them to make their impact
  • The data specialist mined information and created insights for the industry
  • The accountant ensured adequate cash flow so the company could continue to scale their purpose

These people were super excited and gave 100% of their time and energy to make a massive impact. Others, not so much.

We identified a problem with the content writer. “I write stories,” is what she said. Yet she obviously had not made any connection with how those stories could empower or level up the small businesses they work with. She didn’t understand her link to the purpose. The graphic designer similarly lacked a connection to the purpose, and these people were off to the side of the business, not particularly enthusiastic about their work. 

We did some brainstorming with this writer to see how we might make a connection with the purpose. The writer’s job wasn’t just to write content. It was to tell impactful stories that inspire members and create connections. She was more of an investigative reporter who extracts nuggets of passion to share. She finds examples of how business owners have overcome challenges and translates this information into effective messaging that helps other members.

By shifting how the role was looked at (by both the writer and other team members), the writer gained a better understanding of the impact she creates and was able to elevate her writing from ‘meh’ to awesome.


Benefits of Impact Mapping: Work Becomes About More Than a Paycheck

We’ve talked before about how being linked to purpose is one of the key ways to multiply employee potential instead of squandering it. Impact mapping is one of the most powerful ways to motivate employees by aligning them with the impact you want to make in the universe.

When every single function in your business is linked to your purpose, it transforms how people think about their jobs – as we saw in the example above. Doing this exercise helps each member of your team connect their role to the purpose of your business, which boosts engagement and passion as they devote more of their discretionary effort to everything they do. 

They won’t just be punching a clock and collecting a paycheck – they’ll be excited about doing their unique part to make a difference! When your employees start thinking about their jobs as a mission in which they create as much impact as possible, they (and by extension, your business) will thrive.

The best job descriptions have a mission at the top. Impact mapping is how we design that mission and help employees understand their part of the larger purpose. Want to discuss impact mapping and other ways to motivate employees? Get in touch with our team.


Mike Knapp


Mike has been helping businesses achieve their goals for more than 20 years. He believes there is a better way for business owners and leaders to build their businesses and achieve their big goals. As a Gravitas Impact Premium coach, he leverages the 7 Attributes of Agile Growth™ to simplify the art of strategy and discipline of execution.

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