Good Intentions Aren’t Enough

An unknown author wrote: “Your intentions don’t matter. Perception is reality. If people perceive you the wrong way, it doesn’t matter what your intentions are.”

In his recent blog post, Daily Discipline, Brian Kight speaks to great leaders about perception versus intention.

People can’t measure intentions.

Good intentions are an excellent start and a terrible excuse. Intentions are a private, internal choice. No one else really knows. No one else really cares. Only you know. When there is misalignment between your intentions and what people experience, the impact of your behavior says more than the quality of your intentions.

People know what you say, what you do, and how it makes them feel. They care about the experience you deliver, the value you provide, and the impact it has.

Nothing replaces quality execution, refined skill, and committed resolve. Set your intentions to that standard and align your behavior to match. Discipline is the shortcut. Do the work.

Another unknown author wrote: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” People only know us by the words, behaviors, attitudes and actions we have chosen and how these make them feel.  They know nothing of the beautiful intentions behind them. It is the great leaders’ responsibility and ownership to set their intentions to the highest standards of their personal values and align their behaviors to match. In doing so, they will change the image above to one in which both individuals will be standing side-by-side looking down and seeing the same number… and intention and perception will be one.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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One Response to Good Intentions Aren’t Enough

  1. Jack Beach says:

    Although there is some truth in adage that “The road to hell is paved with good intentions;” I am confident the road to Heaven is not paved with ill-intentions.

    I take issue with the sentiment that “your intentions don’t matter.” I also think the author is conflating actions with consequences. The same actions can have varying impacts depending on the situation and the individuals involved.

    Generally, intentions are the source of one’s actions. It is possible that a good act does not have a good outcome. No action has completely predictable outcomes. I also question whether an act taken with malicious intent can ever be categorized as a good act. It is a malicious act. If it has a good outcome it is by accident or in service of some selfish accompanying impact. In T.S. Eliot’s novel “Murder in the Cathedral,” Thomas Beckett is being tempted to return to England where he will be martyred and perhaps achieve sainthood. His response is “The last act is the greatest treason. To do the right deed for the wrong reason.”

    And “if no one really cares” about another’s intentions—they should. Ethics, sincerity, authenticity, and basic trust are important; one cannot be a great leader without them–one’s intentions is the well from which these flow.

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