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 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.
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?|
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.|
Communicating, and LEADING with Intention is one of the most powerful ways to catalyze positive change on our teams and across our organizations.
“Unhappiness compounds…the solution is pretty simple: address the unhappiness.” This 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, it compounds into frustration. And frustration is the 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 okay with your dinner?” but really has no Intention of finding out. Dig deeper. Find out if everything really is okay. 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 might we listen better to improve communication?|
What it is: Carnival Cruise Lines’ “Ocean Medallions” are reimagining the guest Experience on Carnival Cruises. 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 their room key, payment method, food and beverage ordering service, and perhaps most impressively, as a notification mechanism for team members to know who is watching live performances. Imagine watching a live show and 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 and delight” as your design tool and decision filter. What details – large or small – could be built in to provide 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.
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 we “building the new” instead of “fighting the old” on this journey to transform health care from the Inside Out? Are there certain challenges or obstacles we dwell on instead of seeking out opportunities for growth and new potential?|