Jul 2, 2013 in Organisations

Why I choose for ‘intentional organisations’

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[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e often have taglines or short bio descriptions for everything from our organisations, products, or our professional brands. For my tagline I just indicate the big thing that I’m about which is intentional organisations.

On a more personal level and in some ways a second tagline I at times refer to myself as a meaning architect, organisational consultant, mission designer, and an unremitting liminally dispositioned. I would also propose that it is good idea to use a tagline for what you’re about in life, what your family, or marriage is about, and so on. Indeed so for the following reasons:


Here are four reasons for why I choose for the tagline ‘intentional organisations’

  1. It serves as an anchor. There are great images that one can use to convey intentionality; among these are perhaps a compass, gps, map, direction or target arrows. None of these really capture the idea of anchoring. In some respects they are also much too restrictive. Still, as an anchor, a lighthouse, it is the definitive statement of what I’m about. Your tagline, which in the long run adds or becomes your brand should be a core belief. As a belief it should be, to you, a statement of value and not in the first instance a statement of direction. Ask yourself: If you have arrived at the destination, what will you have achieved. This is your anchor.
  2. It is not too restrictive. The idea of intentionality lies close to my heart. It allows room for touching on various themes as is necessary. The anchoring question would then be How does that  which I’m busy with (such as, culture, strategy, teams, change) relate to intentionality. In terms of the lighthouse metaphor I am willing to go as far as is needed in an organisation provided that I can still see the anchor. It is either something that I will look for, and need to see. Or, it is something that I will induce, since that is what I’m about. Make sure that your anchor gives you some play ground. If you shift your play ground entirely, chances are you’re gonna have to rethink your anchor.
  3. It gives direction. While direction-specific images are helpful, knowing what you’re about (i.e., your anchor) also gives a great amount of direction. The one follows from the other. Whatever I want to do is measured against the question of how it might add up to being intentional.
  4. It hints at an operational philosophy. You cannot be intentional about everything. You’ll wear yourself and those that work for the organisation out. Life is not meant to be lived wholly intentionally. But on the other hand very little is really achieved without putting a great deal of intention into it. The first couple of ideas are important since it is possible to be intentional about something that really just wastes your time. Pay attention to what you’re intentional about.

To me intentionality allows me to keep both the beastly-ness and the beauty-ness of the organisation in mind. And if I have to single out one thing about, as the movie title notes, ‘what lies beneath’ it is this: Our organisational stories should be told in such a manner to acknowledge the existence of both the organisations beastliness (the financial bottom line) and its beauty that has to do with its health, its spirit, its reason for existence far beyond the first order bottom line.

I’d love to hear your views. How can organisations be intentional?

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