There are a handful of universal practices that transcend technique, tools, and strategy. Paying attention is one of these. Choosing what to pay attention to is more tricky.
Intentional practice is just as it sounds: do something with purpose. This sounds simple — it is simple– but it’s among the most powerful practices for discovery, innovation, and performance. Being intentional requires that we know what we value, what value we seek to create, and how well we are doing.
Noise — unhelpful information in its relevance, salience, or quantity – is everywhere. We find noise almost everywhere. Noise increases as data is generated and shared. Our ability to attend to it all is compromised by the volume available to us. What intentional practice does is it forces us to consider what is most important and when.
When we are intentional about what we are doing we create a noise filtering system that allows us to better judge data.
Getting intentional means being clear on what you want. It’s about working as an organization to ask explicitly about values and the kind of impact desired.
A useful tool to help this along is a variation of the Personal Moral Inventory Checklist developed by Dom Price. This checklist basically requires us to assess our performance across four different areas of impact outlined in the image below.
This tool designed for individuals can be modified for organizations in helping to generate a connection between the choice of activities and the perceived impact of those activities. This can only be done by creating a tighter, simple coupling of activity, intent, and perceived impact.
Using Simple Inventories
What the above inventory does is make things simple, reduce noise, and focus us on the core principles and values of our work. We recommend using something like this — there are many options — as part of a values and value clarification exercise. Bring together your team and give some time to ask yourselves three questions:
- What do we stand for?
- What kind of impact do we want to express through that stance
- How well are we doing?
These simple questions can help you to clarify your core beliefs and values, determine what kind of value you wish to create through your work, and assess progress on those values. It’s simple, powerful and something that ought to be done every 6-12 months to best capture variation, changing circumstances, and provide a means to calibrate your strategy and operations.
If you want help facilitating this process in your organization. Contact us and let’s talk.