“Power is the capacity to translate intention into reality and sustain it.”
– Warren Bennis, American Scholar and Founder of The Leadership Institute
There are plenty of old sayings about good intentions. Some are positive, some aren’t. At Possibilities Unlimited, we firmly believe that the road to success is paved with good intentions.
In last week’s blog, we talked about the importance of creating intentions for your business, and how intentions become the tools that drive your actions. This week, we’ll look at the characteristics of a good intention. Before you chart your action plan, you want to make sure that you have intentions that will get you where you want to go.
So what does a good intention look like?
- It is specific and measurable. Nothing is more important than having a specific and measurable intention. People say they want to make lots of money, or they want lots of sales. Well, how much is “lots”? Lots may mean different things to different people. Is it $100,000? $1,000,000? Having a specific and measurable intention makes the target very clear, and that makes the path to the target clear as well. When you can measure your progress against a specific intention, you can adjust your actions to keep moving toward your goal.
- It is unprecedented. A good intention should be one that causes you to stretch and be open to new possibilities. It should be something that you’ve never done before. If you decide that you want to increase your sales 5%, and you have met that target before, then you already know how to do that. A good intention should be unprecedented, something that will really create opportunities to give you what you want. Because you’ve never done it before, an unprecedented intention gives you access to actions and resources you never before considered. It’s the essence of getting you outside of your box.
- It is unpredictable. Consider the example above, where someone sets an intention of a 5% increase in sales. Let’s say this person has accomplished a 5% increase in sales the past five years. He or she knows exactly what actions will produce that result. Maybe it’s three more phone calls a week or an extra hour of networking. Very predictable. A good intention should require actions that can’t be predicted from past results. It should shake up the status quo somewhat and force you to re-assess the resources, timing and benchmarks you will need in order to deliver.
- It should be uncomfortable. You know you’ve created a good intention if it the thought of it makes you uncomfortable! If you commit to your intention and then ask yourself, “What have I done?”, then it is probably a good intention. The best intentions will keep you on the edge of your seat a bit, wondering how to get started, where to go to help, what to do next. The more uncomfortable you are, the greater your desire to stay in action and get results.
- They are future-based. A good intention is not based on past performance or actions. It is based on a new future that you are creating for yourself and your business. You can’t get there by doing the same things you’ve always done. A good intention should be the catalyst for trying new things, and following a new path to breakthrough results.
Now take a look at the intentions you have set for your business. Will they really take you where you want to go? Or will they give you more of the same? Are your intentions specific and measurable and future-based? Do they make you uncomfortable? If your intentions don’t share these characteristics, then revise them or come up with new ones. Because if you’re going to win the game of business, you need a path paved with good intentions.
Are you ready to win?
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