Rajeev Viswanathan is not your conventional CFO. He has all the traditional skills and experience you'd expect of people in that role, but he understands that there is much more to his job than what the "financial" part of his title normally encompasses.
At the end of the day, a commercial enterprise needs to be on track to achieving its income, freecash and wealth targets. These are not why any of us are in business but they are what we are in business to generate if we expect to sustain the contributions we make to our stakeholders. These are all numbers that reflect the net effect of everyone in the organization showing up to work everyday and performing their duties to the best of their abilities.
The founder of Forum Equities and Rajeev's CEO is Richard Abboud. He's an exceptionally solid and accomplished member of the finance industry. They know how to operate their business at the highest levels of financial performance but they have constituted it on the notion of impact. Impact is related to performance but is not the same thing. It includes the quality of life that the firm contributes to the array of stakeholders in the Forum ecosystem. This quality of life is the social "why" to the financial "what".
My strong suspicion is that the vast majority of people that work in just about any organization, including financial firms, do not fully understand how the proverbial mortgage gets paid. We show up everyday with a to-do list to work through and a job description to deliver on, but the connection we have to both the economic or social impact we ultimately make is loose, weak or non-existent. Most people are somewhat innumerate and end up deferring back to whether or not they are getting what they need out of their jobs. A self-centeredness rather than an other-centeredeness.
As Bob Dylan famously wrote, "we all gotta a serve someone". We all have people in our uplines that expect us to deliver and people in our downlines who we expect to deliver. It's the supply chain that goes from the end user all the way back to the investors. Wealth is what we generate when we are effective (and more than a little lucky) at enhancing the quality of life for the people who use our business to get their needs met.
When we perform effectively we deliver. When we deliver we make an impact on someone. The first notion is more self-centered and the second more client-centered. Rajeev and I wanted to create a real-time feedback loop between client and server that would reinforce the client perspective and give the contributor a more open-window into that context.
A "delivery" is any intervention we have made as leaders in either the upline or downline (client, boss or team member). The interaction could be a specific work product, a meeting or a conversation. An impact score is the answer to two questions that pop-up after delivery.
First: What is the impact that our recent interaction will likely have on your personal and business growth? The answer is numerical: -3, -1, 0, +1 or +3. (Impact has both a polarity and a valence.)
Second: What worked well for you and what would have worked better?
The accumulation of the quanitative score is the net impact score a leader is having on the ecosystem and the qualititative answers are a new window into the context of the recipient of our deliveries.
The score itself is not a measure of my performance directly but gives me clues as to how I might calibrate my performance for both a more significant economic impact and a more significant social impact. Just knowing I am going to poll for this information immediately after an interaction changes how I show up–for the better.