A Coaching Power Tool Created by Dayal Krishnan
(Executive & Career Coach, SINGAPORE)
Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work. Peter Drucker
Although there are a number of Power Tools in the ICA program, I would like to highlight the association between Intention and Execution. Reflecting on my experiences and that of my clients, I found a close association in Intention & Execution in relation to achieving goals, be it Life Goal, Career Goals, relationships and so on. In every aspect in Life, there is a very close connection between the two.
The Cambridge dictionary defined Intention as “Something that you want or plan to do”. In Wikipedia, it is a mental state that represents a commitment to carrying out an action or actions in the future. Intention involves the mental activities such as planning and forethought.
Intention behind an Intention
Generally, most of the human intentions are good. “Good” also depends on the situation. Is it “good” for the person, “good” for the other party or “good” for the situation? There are many factors to take into consideration, which may be perceived differently. A classic example I would like to always raise is in the case of a married couple and differences arise when it comes to common matters. Couples don’t have bad intentions when they come together but the options considered may have been different from what was expected by the other party in that particular situation. This is the reason why we always rationalize the differences based on the situation and not the person. In that sense, it may be good but may not be “right”!
This is where Intentions play an important role. You need to look at all angles of your intention and define an execution strategy that works out well for all or at least for most of them.
Possible Outcomes of an Intention
An execution is always preceded with an intention. A baby is generally curious with what goes on with their five senses. Curiosity in the mind starts the action. When you want to find out the answers, you do what you think is necessary to find out whether it is right or wrong, for example, fire looks interesting but as you go closer which is the execution stage, is it right?
For some of us, our intention is also to ignore it. Was there an execution….Yes! Ignoring is also a form of execution of your intention. Let’s look at the possible outcomes of an intention.
We can look at Figure 1 below to see the 4 possible results out of an intention.
Let’s take an example of an intention to go for a meeting at 9am. We will use the measure of time in this case, primarily because time is of essence in achieving most things. The intention has 4 possible results:
- You arrive early (before 9am)
You arrive early and have sufficient time to be ready for the meeting.
- You arrive on Time (Just in time)
You arrive and head straight to the meeting room. You can make it on time but anxious
in case something unexpected may arise. You would also try to think through of what’s
needed for the meeting along the way.
- You arrive Late (Face the consequence)
You have to face the music from whoever expected you to be there. It could also be due
to differing priorities.
- Maintain Status Quo (Don’t go for the meeting)
You could just ignore about the meeting and think of what you would like to say or do
for not attending the meeting.
With the intention of attending the meeting comes another intention as to how you would like to have an outcome. With that, there is a plan for execution so that the outcome is one of the four outcomes.
Act of doing or performing something especially in a planned way (Cambridge dictionary).
Relationship between Intention and Execution
Based on the above, it’s evident that Intention is the precursor to Execution. It could also be seen as the mental activity prior to a form of physical activity, be it an expression in the form of what you say and/or expressed through any form of body language. You can have positive executions, open discussions or even negative where violence could also play a part.
Intentions are important because they form primarily the “WHAT” of the situation, for example, “Achieving a particular goal”. The execution is the “HOW”. These 2 must come along together so that the Why, When & Where will be addressed meaningfully.
There are many aspects that we can look at in this association between Intention and Execution. With an Intention, there will be a final outcome to be achieved. With that in mind, an execution plan will need to be devised to achieve the desired outcome.
Self-Application: Execution aligned with 1H5W
This is where the remaining questions need to be addressed in terms of the 1H5W. Let’s look at each one of them so that the Execution is derived.
If most of these are addressed appropriately, we should be able to see the process of bringing Intention to Execution. There are also a few relationship factors between Intention and Execution.
Outcomes of different Intentions & Execution
Although intentions may deliver results, different combinations of Intention & Execution will deliver different outcomes. In the diagram below, the various combinations of Intentions and Executions may reap different results. These are general outcomes but all possible outcomes can come from any possible combinations as well as how the execution takes place.
We have many intentions and different types of execution. In the end why do some people reap positive results and why some of them do not derive any results or even worse negative results?
- “I never meant to hurt you” sounds familiar? When have you had a good intention but it went all wrong?
- When you found that something is wrong with what another party did, what did you do? What would happen if you viewed it from the intention of the other party?
We need to understand what is the deep-down desire and motivation of each Client.
- What is driving them? Identify their priorities, be it Career, Family, Development or any other areas. Where is the drive coming or going to? Once they have identified them, they will be able to ascertain where the inspiration and motivation is. With this clarity, the Client will be able to align their Intentions and identify appropriate execution strategies.
- How would you support a client to recognise what could have been the possible intention of the situation and how the execution is being looked at? A classic example in the workplace is “I have done so many things in my workplace, but my superiors keeps telling me that I have not done what he wanted”