Helping Others to Clarify Their Intention

If someone’s intention doesn’t match yours then you don’t want to be doing business with them. Why? Mismatched intentions result in conflict. When the smallest obstacle arises, problems will occur, hindering performance. You can either find someone whose intention matches yours, or you can support someone in clarifying their intention.

Let me give you an example. I once did a seminar and said to the participants, “Honestly rate your commitment to creating value today. A ten is a total commitment. Nine is pretty committed, but you are leaving a back door open just in case something big happens. A five is average commitment; you will swing either way depending on me, your feelings, etc. A rating of three or four means you are resistant to creating value. A rating of one would mean you are totally committed to not creating value, even if I walk on water.”

At the end of the day one man came up to me and said he got a lot out of the rating exercise. He went on to say that he realized he rated his commitment level at three because he felt he was forced to attend the seminar by his boss. He admitted that he gave himself a three just because he was being confrontational. But then he said to himself that he was a productive person and hated to waste time, so he simply made the decision to give himself a higher rating and that created more value for the day. I assisted him in clarifying his current intent and supported him in raising it. This is the job of any boss, owner, manager, supervisor, salesperson or head of household.

In essence, the gentleman was in a state I call compliance. Compliance is a mind set of having to do something. Basically, your intention is just to complete the task. Commitment is where you choose to do something. Your intention is to produce a result. The experience of someone in a state of compliance is fatigue, apathy or resentment. The experience someone in a state of commitment is results, excitement and high energy. Compliance occurs with students attending school, those attending meetings and employees going to work — in general those who are following policies and going after goals handed down by those in authority over them.

You can move yourself and others from a state of compliance to one of commitment toward an activity by emphasizing choice and benefits. That is essentially what I did with the seminar participant. Although I did not get him to see his choice in attending the seminar, I did get him to visualize his choice in his experience.

For more on this subject read chapter two of If How-To’s Were Enough We Would All Be Skinny, Rich and Happy.

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