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Here we are going to discuss INTENT VS IMPACT. Every action we intend to carry out starts in our mind. If care isn’t taken, the direct impact we want from our thoughts (intent) may not be successfully carried out. In ensuring that the organization’s goals and targets are consistently met, all employers must make a conscious effort to make their intents clear to employees so that everybody on the project can be on the same page.

Making your colleagues, coworkers, and subordinates at work fully carry out your intent to get necessary results requires excellent communication skills. Great intent sometimes leads to poor impact when the bridge between idea conception and execution is not properly laid.

All business executives should take a couple of communication classes to increase their communication skills. This will allow for a workplace that is free of confusion and misread signals. It is also a good idea for all employees to be trained in excellent communication skills. Conscious efforts must be made to fully orient all workers on the ethics, protocols, and norms of their joining.

Many chaos and conflicts can be averted if the communicator and the audience have a mutual understanding. We often assume that our audience understands us perfectly when they may not understand precisely what is being said in actuality. Similarly, listeners also think the communicator should know they do not understand the in-depth meaning of the information passed to them. Regular performance checks should be made on all information sent out to see if the message is clear to recipients.  If it becomes clear that the desired impact is not conveyed, correctional actions should be taken immediately to avert further misplacement of priorities and prevent more chaos.

The inability to bridge this communication gap may cause various negative outcomes, including the loss of vital clients and customers, which may culminate into loss of revenue. Business is such a highly competitive space, and regaining lost ground might be challenging, time-consuming, and tiring.

How Are You Perceived By Your Coworkers, Colleagues, Or Employees?

Seeing the difference between our intents and the impact is often a matter of stepping into the other person’s shoes to have a fresh look at how we are viewed. Barry is a very endearing and compassionate person in one-on-one relationships. He leads a large department with numerous direct reports. The supervisors reporting to Barry, however, see him as cold and brusque. In trying to deal with his job’s heavy demands and remain as objective as possible in dealing with each individual, Barry pulled back from spending much one-on-one time with the supervisors reporting to him. They ended up thinking Barry had no interest in them or their success. Once Barry recognized the difference between how he wanted to be seen as a leader and how he was being perceived, he could start mending relationships, spend more one-on-one time with his direct reporters, and leverage his time better by getting more accomplished through others. Over time, his image as a leader shifted dramatically.

To help employees discover how they are perceived, many organizations implement 360-degree feedback processes in which input is solicited from an employee’s boss, peers, and direct reporters. For some, this feedback can come as a shock. When employees review the reports from such assessments, a common reaction is to deny the results outright. Stepping back, of course, we recognize that our intentions are not enough in our working lives. It’s what people see and perceive that counts. When your personality is not aligned with how people see you, there is a critical disconnection that needs to be examined.

A great example of the importance of aligning intent with impact is looking at communication within our organizations. Issues relating to communication are vital causes of feud and confusion at work. It seems that the childhood game of “broken telephone” is all too often replicated in our workplaces. What we intend to say is not the same as what people hear. It’s as if we expect people to read our minds. It is important to remember that the greatest problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished. When discussing communication challenges, people often ask why their audience fails to understand them. Eventually, people should be able to look at the repeated pattern and see their own role in ensuring that their communications impact has the desired intent.

Learn To Use Excellent Communication Skills

People refer to communication as a skill. Excellent communication is the further mastering of this skill. As we have all probably experienced in the past, becoming an expert in this skill can be a little daunting. The first concept to understand is that excellent communication means INTENT must be equal to IMPACT(INTENT VS IMPACT).

The speaker has an idea to communicate and sends that idea in a coded message to the listener. The purpose of the person who communicates the message is the same as its effect on the listener if the communication is successful. Mutual awareness of the message is confirmed; the listener summarizes the received message, and the speaker confirms the accuracy or offers more clarity.

For the most part, although it may feel a little cumbersome at first, if you were to follow the above process, chances are, you would certainly lessen the misunderstandings and unexpected impacts during your daily communications. Excellent communication is often challenging, based on the following premises:

  1. The inability of the speaker to clearly state his intent well in his message or inability of the listener to grab and decode the meaning of the message (poor impact)
  2. Not actually knowing the intentions of the people we communicate with, often assuming/judging their intentions based on their actions, may cause their words to impact us unfavorably.
  3. Good intentions meet a bad impact. i.e., excellent communication that leads to an undesirable effect on the listener.

The solution to the above challenges are:

  1. Determine the cause of intent vs. impact mismatch, asking yourself vital questions, and finding sincere answers to them. These questions include:
  • What was the root of the misunderstanding?
  • Why didn’t my intent come across to the listener?
  • How can I make myself clearer?
  • Is this a problem with myself or with my listener?
  • Clean up the error of intent not getting the necessary impact as fast as possible by:
  • Forming a clear and honest intention.
  • Seek the opinion of your coworkers and colleagues.
  • Think and devise other means of communicating your thoughts.
  • Be more responsible with your actions.

Notes:

  1. Take care to prevent future reoccurrences of the same mistake. 
  2. As you communicate with others (for instance, your coworkers or subordinates) every day, aim for excellent communication. Always read the situation to determine when your intent isn’t causing the expected impact and take steps to remedy this immediately.

Conclusion – Intent Vs Impact

Excellent communication between coworkers, employers, employees, junior staff, senior executives, and general communication in every organization is a vital tool in achieving the company’s goals and targets. The sender of information should not expect the people receiving the information to fully understands their intent. A lot should be done to ensure the necessary impact is felt based on the information sent out. If the needed results (impacts) are not received after a set time is reached, efforts should be made to re-explain in more detail what was intended in the communication earlier sent. More care should be taken not to send the wrong message because the impact of such on the organization might be costly.

It isn’t a bad idea to ask every staff member in an organization to take regular, professional communication courses to refresh and sharpen their communication skills. This will greatly decrease, or even eliminate, time spent on fixing errors due to miscommunication. Also, all employees of an organization must be given proper orientation about the firm they are joining. All workers must be informed of their role and the duties associated with it within the organization.  Communicating how important each employee’s role is to achieve the company’s goals and targets is imperative. This must be clearly stated in written form and handed to them. The overall negative effect of intent vs. impact can then be fully curbed from the start of the engagement before it gets out of hand. 

What really matters are the actions we take in our lives and businesses to support our intentions. Intentions are the thinking part. Action is the doing part. Thinking void of action fails to bring you even a step closer toward seeing your intention to completion. Action that is taken void of intention is often a waste of your energy. Unfortunately, it is easy to forget that intention does not equal action.

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