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.
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.
We are thrilled to welcome you to The Experience Lab and your Inside Out journey! This year will be filled with immersive learning and supported by a continuous heart beat of themes, principles and our Essential elements. In the inaugural Essentials Spark, this freshly curated collection is meant to inspire you to think, encourage you to act, and provoke positive change. Sparks will help you create a comprehensive library of Experience insights. Each Spark is designed to grow your personal library of Experience insights while adding depth to your Experience learning. Try incorporating just one new element in your daily leadership or share with your team and see what happens.
Sparks will be sent to your inbox every Tuesday from Essentials@TheExpLab.com.
January is a time of fresh starts and the perfect time to explore the principle of Intention. Setting an Intention is at the heart of LEADING a cohesive, connected and orchestrated Experience for all.
When you search for “Intention” in the dictionary, you may be surprised by what you find.
At The Experience Lab, we define Intention as the center of what we call character–the values, norms, and priorities that drive actions and choices. To set Intention is to create a clear direction that serves as a decision filter for how you and your organization will move forward amidst a sea of choices.
While the most used Merriam-Webster definition is “a thing intended; an aim or a plan,” an alternate meaning is “the healing process of a wound.” Intention has been part of medicine all along! It refers to the scientific way that our bodies heal; the initial union of the edges of the wound. When we combine the two meanings of Intention, we get to the very fitting and powerful definition we’d like you to use when enjoying this week’s SPARK:
The values and priorities that allow a person, a team, a process, or a system to heal.
Let’s visualize the healing of the wound – the coming together of its edges. In our organizations, our edges are often our people and our processes. When we allow ourselves to set an Intention that guides our work each day, we are giving our people and our processes permission to come together. When our people understand the why behind decisions or changes being made, they can accept, adapt, and heal.
So, let’s define our Intentions. Set our north stars. Take aim. Then make it happen. Intention is how we can bring our organizations together.
Sitting on the steps of Union Square in New York City, brothers Dave and Mike Radparvar decided to write down how they define success. The goal was to create something they could reflect on. The result was The Holstee Manifesto, a viral smash success and the launchpad for their brand, Holstee.
A manifesto is a megaphone for Intention. The Holstee Manifesto speaks an unapologetic truth about what matters most and is a perfect example of how a series of Intentions built a successful business model. There wasn’t a product to sell or a service to provide until the Manifesto was defined, published, and shared with the world. With Holstee, their manifesto has been as compelling as their product — speaking to hearts and minds the world over. The Holstee Manifesto has now been translated into 13 languages (and counting).
Getting inspired by manifestos? Want to understand the journey more? Explore The Unbusy Manifesto, another great example of an Intention-filled manifesto from Jonathan Fields.
|If you wrote your own manifesto, what would it say? What matters most? Writing a manifesto is a journey, but why not start? Invite input from your team and see what resonates.|