Intend or Plan – what’s the best?

I spent last weekend in a glorious renovated Victorian hunting lodge way up in the uppermost part of Scotland, amongst the heather, lochs and the deer, celebrating a friend’s 50th birthday party. It was a time full of conversation, walking, fine food and wine, and simple, ordinary pleasure.  Here’s a pic:

Tim Slack Appreciating People croppedThe man I’m sitting next to is Tim Slack of Appreciating People . He told me about the idea of Commander’s Intent, a military term used to describe what a successful mission looks like, and it’s not about having a plan and sticking to it.  It’s about having an intention.

Commander’s Intent fully recognizes the chaos, lack of a complete information picture, changes in enemy situation, and other relevant factors that may make a plan either completely or partially obsolete when it is executed. The role of Commander’s Intent is to empower subordinates and guide their initiative and improvisation as they adapt the plan to the changed battlefield environment. Commander’s Intent empowers initiative, improvisation, and adaptation by providing guidance of what a successful conclusion looks like. Commander’s Intent is vital in chaotic, demanding, and dynamic environments.

If we transpose the word ‘successful leader’ instead of commander’s intent, it reads

A successful leader fully recognizes the chaos, lack of a complete information picture, changes in situation, and other relevant factors that may make a plan either completely or partially obsolete when it is executed. The role of a successful leader is to empower others and guide their initiative and improvisation as they adapt the plan to the changed environment. A successful leader empowers initiative, improvisation, and adaptation by providing guidance of what a successful conclusion looks like. A successful leader is vital in chaotic, demanding, and dynamic environments.

You may not recognize yourself as a leader, especially if you are not employing others in your business. But you are – you are the leader of your own organization, even if it is just yourself you are leading. Remember Louise L. Hay, founder of Hay House Publishing, who was 88 just the other day.  She began by self-publishing her ‘Little Blue Book’ way back in the early seventies and running her first workshop for a handful of people in her living room.  She started leading herself, and slowly and steadily, step by step, employed others to help her get her message out to many more people.

So do you have an intention for your business, or do you have a plan?  Perhaps you have neither, of course. The only challenge with neither is that it is very easy to get distracted with tempting opportunities that may lead to you never completing anything, not following up with someone, or ending up wandering around with no sense of accomplishment or purpose. Not that that is bad, of course, but it may be somewhat dissatisfying.

But a plan according to Appreciating People is at the other end of the spectrum, and  too limiting. However, an intention allows for flexibility, clarity of purpose and simplicity.

Which falls in line with the blog post I wrote a while back about ID’s (intention-directions)

Finally, remember Eisenhower’s quote: ‘Plans are nothing, planning is everything’.

So I ask you today – what is your intention for your business over the next three years?  Remember, keep it simple, clear and flexible.

If you can say it one sentence all the better – it can always be padded out. Mine is to enable many more thousands of people to tap into their own Wild Wisdom and use it to affect their businesses and the lives of others in a positive manner – I have various ways I’m currently operating to do that, but in essence that is it.  What’s yours?

How your workplace and a hotel are essential to your business

If you’re used to seeing hotels only as places to rest and relax, you’ll be wondering what on earth this title means.  And if you never go into hotels, you might be wondering too!  But where you do different kinds of work is really important in how it gets conducted. Continue reading