SPARK Volume 04 – Intention-filled Leadership
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 this, your 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 Experience team members, providers, patients, and guests.
What it is: This amazing video from Apple 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” about a thousand details.
What it sparks: 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 – to stay true, we may have to say “no” a whole lot more than we say “yes.”
|What are you currently doing to manifest your organization’s Intention? How do you use that Intention to say “no” to that which does not fit? How does Intention help you make decisions about your people, your processes, and your physical places?|
What it is: 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 it sparks: What the article is explaining 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 the work.
|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 the work.|
Are you enjoying the opportunity to explore and examine the power of Intention?
Communicating and leading with Intention is one of the most powerful ways to catalyze positive change in your teams and across your organizations.
“Unhappiness compounds…the solution is pretty simple: address the unhappiness.” That cut-to-the-chase advice comes from marketing guru, internet pioneer, entrepreneur, and best-selling author, Seth Godin. His blog inspires us to dig deep and think about true communication – air out the unhappiness.
Unaddressed, unhappiness compounds into frustration. And frustration is a soul killer – as Seth puts it, “the destroyer of worker and customer relationships, loyalty, and progress.” The interesting thing is that just the act of acknowledging unhappiness is sometimes all it takes to improve it. But, you have to communicate! And, true communication – actual Intention and action in digging deeper – is difficult work. Don’t be like the waitress who by rote asks “Is everything ok with your dinner?” but really has no intention of finding out. Dig deeper. Find out if everything really is ok. It’s hard work, but it’s worth it. Read more of Seth’s wisdom on his blog.
|When was the last time you really tried to unearth unhappiness? How can you listen better to improve communications?|
What it is: Carnival Cruise Lines’ “Ocean Medallions” are reimagining the guest Experience on Carnival Cruise Lines. And people love it.
Two former Disney executives brought their expertise of high-tech personalization to Carnival with the use of wearables and an app to match. [Aimed to serve as a real-time concierge,] the “Ocean Medallions” allow passengers to travel effortlessly throughout the ship and serve as a room key, payment method, food and beverage ordering service, and, perhaps most impressively, a notification mechanism for team members to know who is watching live performances. (Imagine watching a live show and having the actors call out to your children by name.) Their intention? Not surprisingly, “to delight and surprise [their] guests.”
What it sparks: How might we use Carnival’s Intention to “surprise and delight” as a spark to innovate in our own industry or organizations?
|Consider a specific element of the team member, provider, patient, or guest Experience and use surprise or delight as your design tool and decision filter. What touches – large or small – could be built in to provide an unexpected joy?|
This insightful PBS piece reveals just how powerful listening and observing with Intention can be. When we root our listening and observing with a clear purpose, we create rich, remembered, meaningful experiences. We can’t just hear what our colleagues are saying, we must make meaning of it. We can’t just “see” our surroundings, we must approach what we’re seeing with purpose. Read it here.
This week, we’ll continue our deep dive into the power of Intention. If you missed last week’s Spark, get caught up here.
The importance Intention holds has existed for much of history. Socrates shared that “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” And that is what we are here to do. To build anew. To heal health care. From the Inside Out.
Remember how we choose to define Intention in our work: the values and priorities that allow a person, a team, a process, or a system to heal.
Socrates didn’t have just one quotable line when it came to Intention; it’s clear that his work and life were devoted to exploring the power of Intention in action. A powerful example of this shows up in his Socratic Paradoxes:
What we see here are four statements that describe the good of humanity because of their usage of Intention. It is through setting an Intention and living that Intention that we find our way to happiness, goodness, and success.
|How are you building the new instead of fighting the old on your journey to transform health care from the inside out? Are there certain challenges or obstacles in your work that you dwell on instead of seeking out opportunities for new growth and new potential?|