Intention, The Hole in Your Goal Bucket

What if there was a hidden depth that has been missed in all our managing and planning. A hole, that when found and plugged, can make that difference you need to level up.

There are no secrets to managing a successful business. The millions of blogs are written and books published every year regurgitating the same basic advice as what is taught in schools and universities. Despite all this advice, large or small, so many organisations are still struggling to get it things swinging their way.

Every business needs its plan. The set of goals and objectives that provides the aims and purpose. The plan that cascades down into functional plans and strategies, which is already set for this new financial year. Think for a moment, what would happen to those plans, that have been so extensively prepared by multiple teams and people, when you add intention.

While goals and objectives focus on hard aspects of your business aims. Intention is different. Intention brings an emotional or behavioural aspect into how you deliver your targets. Widening your goal-setting and milestones to include intention will give you a rubber-like hold on your more slippery management challenges.

Intention demands conscience action. You need to think about ethics when you intend something. Consider your business intentions towards your employees and customers. If you intend to prioritise profit over people or service, no amount of engagement or loyalty building will be convincing. Putting intention into your goals and objectives illuminates your morals, on a leadership level and company-wide.

Intention separates what you should be doing from what you will be doing. As Peter Drucker put it, “Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes.” Concorde was developed and manufactured with the intention of being a supersonic passenger jet. It was ambitious, flying at more than twice the speed of sound. The developers, Sud Aviation and the British Aircraft Corporation raised funds with a very clear intention and were successful. Once they had achieved their goal, they were unable to transform it into a viable, commercial enterprise and the concord was eventually retired because it failed to be profitable. However, that was never the intention nor the goal.

Intention obligates you into your action. Your day is full of micro decisions. You make those decisions by prioritising one action over another. Often unaware. Once you set your daily, monthly and annual intentions, it automatically raises them to be more important to you. It’s the link between your goals and your values.

Intention motivates you, giving you determination and push towards your goals. It’s the fuel that makes putting your mind to doing something, so powerful. It was Steve Jobs’ intending for Apple to be revolutionary that meant he managed every aspect of the product as well as the customer experience.

Intention puts a stop to delays. It overcomes inertia. Interestingly, intending implies a certain emotional pain when you don’t achieve it. You may want to run a marathon but find training hard. When you intend to run a marathon, training will still be hard but you get out and do it. There’s a very valuable dynamic aspect to intending to do anything.

Intending is not only a practice for leaders, it’s for every individual within your organisation. Rarely will it fail you although it will change your definition of success. Very quickly, when you review intentions, you’ll have clarity on what needs to be addressed.

Five ways to bring intention into your business:

  1. Plan your day by setting out your intentions.
  2. Set intentions for all business goals and objectives.
  3. Make it a personal habit before every interaction another person.
  4. Start every meeting by voicing your intentions.
  5. Take a few moments to pause and practice intending before every activity you do.