Day: January 28, 2019

SPARK Volume 04 – Intention-filled Leadership


Manifest Destiny

How long does it take for an Intention to really manifest? Staying true to your personal or organizational Intention – and using that Intention as a decision filter and guide – isn’t easy. In our fourth Spark, we explore new dimensions of this Experience principle. Putting Intention into action takes time and requires continuous focus, effort, and attention. Using Intention as your guide is like creating a new habit. Studies show that it takes from 18 days to more than 18 weeks to truly create change or forge a new practice or habit . With time, using Intention as your North Star and organizational guide becomes second nature and makes it easier to create meaningful and memorable moments for team members, providers, patients, and guests.


Proof in the (Apple) Pudding

This amazing video gives us a little insight into how Apple works its magic. Over and over again, they have demonstrated what it means to design with Intention – to design products with clarity of purpose and ultimately create experiences, feelings, and memories that matter. Why is Apple so successful? Because they design their products and brand, and lead the industry, with Intention at every level. Overarching intent is easy. The hard part is driving that conscious decision-making through every little choice in the process. Good designers have a clear sense of the overall purpose of their creation; great designers can say, “This is why we made that decision.”

We were struck by the simplicity of this video which perfectly reflects the simplicity and intuitive nature of Apple products and their user Experience. The viewer can’t help but be mesmerized by the crisp and beautiful black and white animation and clear message. The video helps us understand Intention through a very simple question: What do we want people to feel? Apple asks that question and then designs every single element through that Intention. And when we have a clear Intention – when we know exactly what we are aiming for –  we may have to say “no” a whole lot more than we say “yes,” to stay true to it.

What ways are we manifesting our organizational Intention? How might we use our Intention to say “no” to that which does not align? How could Intention help guide decisions about our people, processes, and our physical places?

Long Live Intention

Organizational leadership through Intention is not new in business. In this McKinsey award-winning Harvard Business Review article, the authors discuss that by using Intention-setting as a strategy, we set stretch targets and are forced to innovate to get there. Their case is made by comparing many straight-revenue, cost-cutting-focused Western companies with their Japanese counterparts who “invariably began with ambitions that were out of all proportion to their resources and capabilities…”

What the article explains is that these “winning” companies started by setting an Intention to be the best version of themselves. We can do that too and start small: with ourselves. What does the best version of you look like as a leader? How can you set an Intention to be that version of yourself every moment?

Try this: Have your team visualize their best selves – set free from budget or time constraints. Ask them to answer why this version of themselves is better than where they are now. It could be more patient. More compassionate. More grateful. More resourceful. Now take the "whys" and help them shift those into an Intention for doing their work.