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  • Bill Petrie

Intention Isn't Enough

With no direction or purpose, intention is nothing more than fantasy

Like everyone, I made a mountain of mistakes as a young man. Whether it was shirking chores, saying something hurtful to a family member or friend, or not fully anticipating the real consequences of my actions, I would invariably attempt to explain my transgressions to my parents with some variation of “that wasn’t my intention.” I mean, I wasn’t a bad kid by any stretch of the imagination so I felt by expressing that I didn’t intend to do what I had just done, it just might buy me a little bit of grace. I’m sure it won’t shock anyone reading this that I was wrong - dead wrong. I very quickly learned that this little excuse was one of my father’s pet peeves because he would always say the same thing in response:


The road to hell is paved with good intentions.


Most people I know have good intentions such as eating right, working out more, and spending less time with their noses buried in their portable google machine.


Struggling businesses also usually have the best of intentions: making more cold calls, spending less time complaining about things outside of their control, doing things differently to stand out in a crowded marketplace, and making time to build deeper relationships with clients. However, intentions are little more than fantasy when not followed by a directed purpose to create action.


Simply put, good intentions alone won’t help you lose weight, build muscle, or grow sales. For an intention to become reality, it must be supported by hard work and targeted effort.


I learned early on that despite my good intentions, things wouldn’t change unless I followed through with purposeful action regardless of the desired outcome. The same is true in business: simply having the intention to grow sales, increase market share, or drive efficiency won’t do much of anything more than create a wish. You must put in focused time and effort to turn those intentions into actionable reality.


My dad might even say, “the road to business irrelevancy is paved with good intentions.”

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