3 September 2015

When you leave a room, do you ever think about the shadow you cast and the impression you leave within it? Do you brighten that room and bring warmth, or do you leave it in shadow?

Many years ago, I was fascinated by a man called Larry E Senn who carried out pioneering research in the 1970s. He was soon dubbed the ‘father of corporate culture’ and his research revealed that, in business, employees become ‘a shadow of their leaders’ and this imitation is how culture is created. Team leaders, managers and directors are the example set, they reflect the important values of the business, they influence the shadow cast by the rest of the company.

Truly relevant for business and invariably this is something to be aware of when considering who to promote to your management layer. But how does this extend beyond the boardroom and office?

I believe that being aware of the shadow you cast and the impact you have on others could be life changing. To distil the concept down to one really simple question, are you making a positive difference?

That difference doesn’t need to be something huge or amazing. Whilst sometimes that difference is a visible, grand gesture like Bill Gates’ The Giving Pledge or even our own Random Acts of Kindness Year, that difference could be something much smaller that has a huge impact.

At a time when parts of the world are in such turmoil and there is an extraordinary amount of incomprehensibly huge issues that we, as individuals, are unable to resolve, why don’t we focus on the things we can impact? The small things that build into bigger things. Create that ripple effect.

Whether that’s by holding the lift for a colleague or letting someone out of a junction in traffic, or by sending a care package to the Calais ‘Jungle’, or simply by offering someone a smile. There are a million ways to make a difference to someone in every single day.

Earlier I posted an image that read “Don’t let the sun go down today until you have made a difference”. Every day opens up new opportunities for yourself and new ways for you to impact others. Turning shadow to light. Bringing warmth to people rather than gloom.

So, before the sun sets and today’s final shadow has been cast, think about how you have made a difference.

I’d love to know how you’ve impacted people today. Please share your stories in the comments below.

what shadow do you cast?

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