Make an impact

Episode 6
How do you turn your work, time, and passions into something that creates a long lasting impact? Is creating impact restricted to charitable activities? Can youth make an income and a meaningful social change at the same time? In this episode of Anan, we invited Dr. Nasser BinDhim, a consultant in the fields of research and strategic planning, to share his perspective on why youth should explore and experiment with causes they are interested in early on to ultimately find a field they can relate to, dedicate their lives to and impact upon. Dr. Nasser covers the gap between planning and executing which he believes is the biggest challenge youth face when trying to affect change. He also offers various solutions to help youth overcome this obstacle and make the true impact they seek.

Plan it then perfect it

We all strive to leave an impact that lives longer than we do, but creating a lasting impact is no easy task. Sustainable impact requires diligence and persistence and in order for Saudi youth to learn how to do this, Anan hosted Dr. Nasser BinDhim, a consultant in the fields of research and strategic planning to share his perspective and advice for youth looking to create meaningful and positive change. 

Dr. Nasser believes that someone who wants to create impact must carefully choose their  path in life then master an occupation that serves their passion and satisfies their needs as well. According to him, only then will someone feel a sense of achievement, knowing they were able to create change that aligns with their passions and simultaneously, allow them to build a life that makes them feel fulfilled.

The challenge

However, when seeking to create impact, there is a gap that Dr. Nasser warns youth about and it’s the one between planning and execution.

“The biggest challenge Saudi youth encounters is moving from the planning stage to the execution stage, this is where they may stumble,” said Dr. Nasser.

How to close the gap 

To ensure that the gap between planning and execution is closed, youth must avoid “The Seven Symptoms” or, what Dr. Nasser calls, “The strategic disease.” One of these symptoms is when someone’s dream is bigger than their organization’s or team’s abilities. Another is when an individual gets stuck in the planning cycle spending more time in it than executing. He believes any project must be based on 10% planning and 90% execution.

The number of goals is another obstacle that gets in the way of making sustainable impact –or in any project for that matter.– Dr. Nasser also said “Studies show that having a limit of one to three goals makes them 100% achievable whereas setting four to six goals reduces the possibility of achieving them to 60%.”

He pointed out that one reason youth may get stuck in the planning stage is because of the abundance of models and resources that talk about the planning stage, in contrast to the very few models addressing execution. He suggested the book Fire written by Military technology expert, Dan Ward as an example of a resource that offers insights about execution. 

Advice for youth

Dr. Nasser’s advice to youth working in the third sector is to truly know the type of organization in which they work, whether it’s a charitable donation-based organization , a social enterprise, a for-profit organization that has a social impact or a traditional business enterprise. He indicated that charitable and business enterprises have short-term impact. This is because if donations stop, charities cannot continue to operate and business foundations will collapse. 

In Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman Foundation “Misk“ is considered to be one of the most prominent and impactful of social enterprises given its operational model that depends on donations and investment in economic activities.


Anan features Saudi experts to answer youth’s questions from various fields and industries of interest. Each episode will provide advice and experience-sharing to help you shape your future.

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