Amneal Pharmaceuticals CIO Vikram Nair has created an empirical model based on decades of experience on hundreds of IT projects.

Realization of a leader’s vision relies on the execution by his or her team. Teams need to be structured, sized, and skilled sufficiently in order to deliver. Furthermore, the desire to make an impact is essential.

How does a professional create impact? The answer can be codified in what I call the “Impact Formula,” an empirical method I developed after observing thousands of people I have worked with on hundreds of assignments over the years for clients and employers, including McKinsey, Arthur D. Little, Pfizer, Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, Carnival Cruise Lines, and others.

The Impact Formula is a simple equation: The impact of a person is equal to the sum of their Accountability (A), Insight (I), and Resourcefulness (R), divided by the Fear of acting


IMPACT = AIR (Accountability + Insight + Resourcefulness) / Fear

Mathematically speaking, the greater the elements in the numerator, the greater the impact of the individual. The higher the denominator (fear) in an individual, the lower their impact.

Improving Our Impact

Here is a breakdown of each of the elements in the formula to help you understand their effects on IMPACT:

Accountability Taking ownership Follows through on commitments and makes sure others do the same
  • Establish clear goals
  • Establish clear responsibilities, expectations and processes for monitoring & measuring work
  • Design feedback loops into work
  • Avoid procrastination
Insight Depth of knowledge Has the knowledge and experience to understand how things work and how businesses can be profitable
  • Be objective and look at everything as if you have never seen it before
  • Learn from experts (theory), experiences (your own and others’), and empirical observations of the situation
  • Ask yourself to identify what you see and describe it as simply as you can:
“If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.” - Albert Einstein
Resourcefulness Persistence in problem solving Ability to quickly find creative or clever ways of overcoming difficulties
  • Ask yourself “what is stopping me/us?”
  • Ask “how else can I/we solve this problem?”
  • Generate and write down options, pros and cons of each option
  • Maintain a network of helpful contacts – someone else may have come across the same problem and solved it
Fear Being afraid Worrying that something bad will happen
  • Imagine the result of “not acting”
  • Identify the risks of acting, and proactively mitigate them
  • Talk through the fear with a trusted colleague/boss who may share information that will reduce the risk or fear


Let’s use a simple example to illustrate how the IMPACT formula works. Say one of your goals for the year is to establish a Global Shared Services (GSS) team to reduce cost and improve service levels.

This is unlikely to happen unless you make someone (perhaps yourself) responsible for setting it up. Without this assignment, there will be a lack of Accountability. To enforce the Accountability, you should define a plan and establish regular checkpoints to monitor progress.


Related article:

We Not Me: Co-creating the purpose of IT

By Vikram Nair


What should the GSS team look like? Budget? Size? Structure? Skill sets? Locations? Coming up with the right answers requires Insights into current spending, support volumes, productivity benchmarks, and staffing costs by location.

Let’s say you start recruiting resources in the ideally chosen location, and you find a dearth of qualified applicants. This is where you need to be Resourceful. Think of alternative options. Maybe you decide it is okay for the team to be “virtual”, and you remove the constraint of needing the GSS team to be physically in your office location. However, your HR partner informs you that the Managing Director (MD) is against “virtual” roles. She likes people to “be in the office” and people are afraid to raise the topic with him.

If you want to achieve your cost and service level improvement goal, you will need to overcome any Fear you might have about talking to your MD about the need for your GSS team to be “virtual.” In my experience, all successful business leaders appreciate having an open and honest dialog. Present the situation, the challenges, the options, risks, and benefits, and they will make a logical choice that will be best for the business and its people. And, that is exactly what you want as well.

Many of you reading this article will find this example simple and intuitively obvious, but in my opinion, it is still very helpful to spell it out.

I hope the Impact = AIR / Fear formula can be a useful tool to you and to any professional reading this article who want to create a positive Impact, whether they are in IT, business, or another specialty.

Roles We Recruit


Read our weekly e-newsletter packed with career advice and resources for the strategic technology leader, and information about active searches.

The Heller Report

Add a Comment

Moving From How to Why: The Secret to Motivating Your Team

Nov 29, 2023

What to Do When Your Employer Doesn’t Want the Change They Said They Did

Nov 15, 2023