In ‘old money’ we’d call it ambition, goals, maybe even ego. As we look at the new breed of leader though, I believe we can see something different emerging. As a new level of awareness and consciousness seeps into our world we can see glimmers of something I call ‘intention’.
If we reflect on the education that most of us have had in either traditional schooling or in the world of work or day to day life, we will have seen and heard about countless examples of success. Success defined by having clear goals, a healthy dose of ambition and enough self-confidence to help you get there. For the most part the quality that underpins all of this is the success of the individual often more so than the whole. And this was and is a necessary part of our evolutionary journey.
What’s interesting now though is to see the emergence of intention. This brings a whole other quality to bear. It is a combination of a strong will coupled with a massive amount of heart. In other words, a focus and energy that is driving the individual will toward the betterment of life for all/others. Not in a traditional ‘charitable giving’ way but in a hooked up, ‘change the world’ sort of way.
Remember when we all laughed during the Miss World competitions when predictably the contestants would describe their focus on World Peace. Well now, we see people working toward that (amongst others) aspiration bit by bit, day by day with intention. Whether they are leaders in the growing numbers of non-profits, social enterprises, small business and new technology ventures, or the CEOs of Unilever or Virgin, we are witnessing an increase toward a more selfless intention.
One where each leader, in their way, is using their talents and care for the world to deliver something that contributes to its improvement. Not in a wishy washy do-gooder way – but in a purposeful, enabling, uplifting way.
For me this speaks to ‘intention’ being one of the new leadership competencies and providing a valuable measure of the quality of our leadership for this new era.