Byron's Babbles

Action Instead of Intention

photoGem #3 was titled “We Judge Ourselves By Our Intentions. Others Judge Us By Our Actions” in the great book I’m reading this year, 52 Leadership Gems: Practical and Quick Insights For Leading Others by John Parker Stewart. Interestingly, Harry S. Truman talked about this in his book, Where The Buck Stops: The Personal and Private Writings Of Harry S. Truman. He called some of our former Presidents “minor” because these Presidents had very good intentions, but no results. Amazingly, many of these Presidents would have considered their own legacy solid based on intentions. This really speaks to the idea of us, Ias leaders, judging ourselves on intentions and not actions. We all (or at least I do) judge our Presidents by what they did, not what they wanted to do.

Lets talk about this. Intentions are wishes or ideas that we mean to carry out. Conversely, an action is something that is done, completed, or performed. Unfortunately, or fortunately, there is a wide gap between thinking the thing and doing the thing. Commitment is what closes the gap between intention and action.

The challenge is that good intentions most generally get verbalized, or voiced publicly. Once intentions are voiced public, they become commitments. Then, if the intention does not turn into action/implementation, credibility is lost. Follow through must happen to increase leadership credibility. If we want to improve our leadership skills, we need to translate more intentions into actions. That’s why doing what we say we will do is especially critical for leaders.

Are your intentions outnumbering your actions?

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