The Importance of Intention in a Post-factual World

In our 'post-factual' world, it's becoming clear that while actions are still critical, intention matters more than ever.

It's increasingly clear in the political realm: some friends believe that President Trump is here to keep America safer and find his actions commendable, endorsing his actions with enthusiasm. Others disagree strongly with his executive order and believe his intentions to be self-interested and fear mongering.

Regardless of your political persuasion or perceptions on the recent political divide, you can't argue that percieved intention allows the same, verifiable, actions can be perceived so differently.

So what does this mean for business owners?  As we serve in the best interests of our people and our communities, how do we ensure our intentions are seen with their true intent?

There are several things that leaders must do to ensure that their stakeholders can identify, connect with and, most importantly, believe a business’s intent.  Here are the three most crucial:

1) Align with values.  Know what your business stands for. Explain clearly how your product or service, and your business operations all fundamentally support these values.  If it's not, begin taking steps to correct and drive alignment.

2) Live your values at the leadership level. Ensure your key leaders are on board with and able to give philanthropically to organizations that live this value through financial gifts or board service.   If key leaders are giving to boards that do not align with your values, ensure that those are clearly separated out and documented as not being in alignment with your organization's values.

3) Engage your people. Ensure the values are explained, encouraged and discussed throughout your processes. Allow and expect employees to live the values through their time at work.

There's no doubt that appropriately engaging stakeholders becomes more complex and is something that should be undertaken with thoughtfulness and care. However, all businesses, regardless of size should take steps to protect their intention by clearly stating their values and making strides to live them out visibly and across all levels of the organization.