"Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often." - Mark Twain

Your intention refers to your specific purpose or desired goal. Intention is what motivates your actions. Your intention is independent of whether or not the action will produce a successful or unsuccessful impact. Impact is what other people experience as a result of your behavior and/or actions. You can understand more about the relationship between intention and impact by examining the following illustration. Four quadrants define how your intention and impact interface with one another to cause different effects. Depending on what your intention is and the impact that you have, your behavior will fall into one of these four quadrants.

-If you have Positive Intention and a positive impact, it is called authentic behavior. -If you have Positive Intentions for others in a situation and have a negative impact, that is called missing the mark. Your intention is good; however, your behaviors don't create the impact that you desire. -If you have Negative Intention and create a positive impact, this is labeled manipulation. Basically, you fool people into believing you, but you actually have a hidden agenda for your exclusive gain.

-If you have negative impact and Negative Intention, this is sabotage. Sabotage may be overt or covert, but typically it is covert. In other words, the other person doesn't have an awareness of what your intentions are, yet you are able to have a negative impact on them.

Most of the time when you operate from Positive Intention your motives are either overt (made clear) or there is transparency to them. You will either tell the other person up front what your intention is, or you will answer honestly when asked. There is nothing hidden. When people operate from Negative Intention they typically keep their motives covert (hidden). When somebody tries to make you feel good or does something positive just to take advantage of you, they usually will not tell you their intention. Likewise, when somebody says or does something to ruin you, they usually will keep their intention a secret.

Sabotage Scenario:
Frank had a negative perception of his boss and felt that she was selfish and out for her own good. Consequently, on several occasions when topics would come up in meetings, Frank chose to keep information to himself rather than share with the group and his boss. Consequently, his boss had a great deal of difficulty dealing with situations that came up because she did not know everything she needed to know. This resulted in her consistent failure at solving the problems at hand. This is a good example of sabotage. Frank had a Negative Intention and a negative impact.

Missing the Mark:
Roger wanted his team to work well together. When issues came up in staff meetings he would look at the person in charge and say, "Fix it." Sadly, this strategy did not work because more discussions needed to happen to move things forward. In this case, although Roger’s intention was to empower the person to take care of the problem, it really didn't fulfill its purpose. His team needed him to interact further in problem solving. Roger had a good intention and thought he was empowering his team, but his communication had a negative impact.

Steve felt that he always had to get people to do what he wanted. In meetings he would tend to have an overbearing way of steering the conversation toward his outcomes. He believed that the team wasn't quite capable of coming up with the right decision. After a meeting his team usually felt they had wasted their time because Steve had already decided the result and generally disregarded any feedback. His use of manipulative tactics created frustration. “Why didn’t he just tell us what he wanted rather than pretend he wanted our input?” they would comment. The consensus was that Steve had a hidden agenda.




© 2017 Jim Peal