Have I confused you? You've likely used some proven process or model to create your 2016 goals, you've organized them in a formatted document or on an online platform, and now another leader is suggesting that you trash them.

Well, that's not entirely true. I'm merely suggesting you repurpose them in a supporting role.

I'm a fanatical goal-setter. I love the SMART Goals Model to ensure my goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-driven. Whether its fitness, finance, business, or any other measurable aspect of my life, I'm always striving toward a goal. Like you, I have big visions for extraordinary accomplishments. And like you, I need a road map and a mindset of intention to get there.

And as we move into the new year, ready to make a fresh start, herein lies the reason you should ditch your goals--and replace them with intentions. Intentions and goals may seem similar, but psychologically they are vastly different.

Intention is defined as an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result. "Determining mentally." A mindset.

A goal is defined as the result toward which effort is directed--an aim. It is an outcome, but it is not a mindset.

Goals are achievable; intentions are non-negotiable. A mindset of intent leaves no room for failure.

Goals come in different flavors. You may set "safety goals," "target goals," or "stretch goals." If you don't reach your stretch goal, no problem. You can fall back on your target goal. Intentions are clearly defined, laser-focused statements that begin with the mindset and the vision that it WILL happen. You can clearly visualize the end-state.

For intentions to work, you must be fully present in your daily decisions and activities, recognizing that everything you do has a ripple effect on your intention. To make an intention manifest, follow this general process.

1. Shift your mindset to one of intent.

Intention is a way of thinking. It leaves no room for a failed outcome. No matter what, the intention will manifest. The one word you may want to remove from your thinking and your speaking with regard to desired outcomes is "hope."

"I hope to grow my business by 100 percent" is very different from "I intend to grow my business by 100 percent." When pursuing an outcome, ensure you have every intention of bringing it to fruition. Leave no room in your mind for the possibility of its not happening.

2. Identify no more than three intentions for the year.

These are outcomes that will result in the significant transformation of your business. They drive your strategic plan, your hiring, your board meetings. They are organizational intentions, shared by everyone in the company. They are the compass for your business. 

The model I created for my intentions is what I call the STARS Model: Specific, Transformational, Achievable, Relevant, and Strategic.

Here are my three 2016 intentions:

  • Productize. I will launch an online learning platform around my book Built to Scale by June 2016.
  • Expand into larger organizations (to include government and more Fortune 500s). Secure at least five large organizations as clients.
  • Move from primarily a "one-to-one" consulting model to a "one-to-many" consulting model with a rollout of more corporate and public workshop offerings, both in-person and online. For 2016, achieve a 70-30 revenue split between one-to-one consulting and one-to-many.

3. Create goals that roll up to these intentions.

This is where your goals come in. They may be weekly, monthly, or quarterly goals. I track my weekly goals, carefully ensuring that every activity during the business day is directly aligned with at least one of my intentions. If an activity in which you are investing your time does not align with one of your intentions, it has to go.

4. Display your intentions where you can clearly see them.

You will benefit from having visual cues of your intentions. Known as "manifestos," they will remind you where you are going, and why you are doing everything you are doing--especially when it's hard.

There are additional steps to take when setting intentions, which drill down into time-management practices, and evaluating what to do, what to stop, and what to avoid. However, the origin of all intent is within the mind.

You can roll out this practice of setting intentions to your leadership team, and cascade it through the organization. With mindsets of intention spread across the company, everyone feels a direct connection to the overall organizational purpose. When everyone is committed to achieving the same outcomes,  quantum growth is quite possible, and very probable.

Good luck!

Published on: Jan 8, 2016
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