EchoLeaders: How Our Intention is Echoed Back to Us

I had a conversation the other day with David Penglase, a fantastic speaker, writer and entrepreneur based in Sydney. He introduced the phrase Intentionomics to describe how our intent drives all results in life interactions. Our customers, colleagues, (certainly our children) and pretty much everyone we interact with have keen detectors of our intent. If, as a salesperson, your primary intent in prospect interaction is to maximize a contract value instead of honestly solving a client puzzle, they’ll recognize it. Even if that recognition isn’t immediate, your later actions by either conscientiously adding superlative value, or not, will come back in spades. This is the karma effect, the what-goes-around effect.

The travel policy at NetApp is Do the Right Thing. Officially it’s “We are a frugal company. But don’t show up dog-tired to save a few bucks. Use your common sense.” And by providing the latitude for employees to exercise their own discretion, they also self-select for continued employment there. Because, of course, they are working within a social contract, not a policy one. I had an interview with John Grant, CEO of Data#3 who believes strongly in offering people the autonomy and freedom to take strategic risks for the sake of furthering innovative design and results, all within their signature process they call PDO2. Or consider Disney, at which cast members have the authority and discretion to solve any customer dilemma on the spot as they choose – they can comp a penthouse suite if they choose. Later their peers and colleagues provide the social feedback mechanisms to allow cast members to understand the extent of reasonable customer remedies, but there are no punitive measures.

These are the characteristics of the EchoLeader, who value initiative over compliance, while expecting people behave with an aligned moral compass. EchoLeaders emphasize what they can give to the world and bring forth a point of view, a perspective and intent of construction – a will to build stronger communities of collaboration around a resolved vision. An EchoLeader has the ability to galvanize teams and create results because their purpose is beyond personal success. The purpose becomes pursuit of significance for the vision we serve.

Have another read of The Giving Tree – you’ll be reminded of gratitude and the power of giving.