Tuesday Talk: Power of Intentionality

Get Smarter Videos - Jan 6, 2016

Balaji Krishnamurthy
Leadership & Culture


I fundamentally believe that companies… The core of the company is the leadership. By leadership I don’t mean the leader, the CEO, but the leadership. The team of leaders. That leadership forms the core of the company. That leadership, I believe, needs to be built on a foundation of intentionality.

The leader needs to be very intentional in that leadership, and need to amass around them a collection of leadership that is consistent with the leader. Not identical to, but consistent with. The distinction? Consistent with means no inconsistencies. Identical means we all think alike. We actually want people that don’t think alike, but are consistent. They won’t clash.

The leadership forms the core of the company. Once you have that on the foundation of intentionality, you can then build a company narrative. You see, the leadership agenda is, as many of you know, the story of the leader’s leadership style. Organizational narrative is a story of the company. It’s a story of the company. No, not what the company does, but as a company. Starts with the heart of the company, the purpose. What is our purpose? Why do people get up and come to work in your company? I tell leaders, make sure you have a purpose. Companies that have a purpose, it just shows. It just absolutely shows.
People take a client to Starbucks for coffee. How many of you would take a client to McDonald’s for lunch? We won’t. Why? By the way, they get paid very similar amounts, their employees. Starbucks has a purpose, and that purpose exudes in a Starbucks. They’re all about the experience. And you can feel it when you walk in Starbucks.

In the U.S. we have an airline called Southwest. I don’t know if any of you have flown Southwest. I mean, people are fans of Southwest. Mind you, airline industry, an industry in which the highest grade achievable is called despicable. In that industry, this airline has fans! People love to fly Southwest! How do they do that? They have a purpose. Know what purpose is? Show the love. Show the luv. L-U-V.

I mean, Zappos, again another U.S. company. Shoes are not cheap, but they love it. Why? You know what their purpose is? Deliver happiness. Ritz-Carlton. Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen. These companies have a purpose. Nordstrom. These companies have a purpose, and that purpose shows. When your company has that purpose, everybody at the company feels excited about that purpose. It shows.

What is our purpose in our company? Potentionality. Intentionally releasing the potential in people, in brands and in organizations. That purpose you’ve got to have.

You know some companies say, “But my purpose is to make money.” Yeah, you can make money, but that doesn’t excite anybody. Let me let you know what that sounds like. We all make red blood cells, right? We make red blood cells. We got to make red blood cells. Otherwise, what happens to us? We die. Does any of you, when you go through that midlife crisis, when you buy the big car, the yacht or big cabin out on the lake. Whatever. Does any of you say, when you do that, “What’s life all about? What is my purpose in life?” Does any of you say, “My purpose in life is to make red blood cells. That’s my purpose”? No. It doesn’t excite you. It’s an outcropping of the actual purpose you have.

Likewise, companies, they have to make money. Companies have to make money. If you don’t make money, what happens to a company? You perish. You’ve got to make money, but that’s not your purpose. The purpose is something else. Money making is an outcropping of that purpose. I tell companies, I’m just telling you what that purpose is. You got to have a purpose. Then, you’ve got to create a vision that excites people. A vision. A simple, uplifting, inclusive, believable but challenging vivid picture of the future. That is the future I see. That future is a future that everybody can get excited about. Everybody feels good about being in that future. Describe that future.

In that future, carve out a mission for yourself – the portion of our future that we are going to try and accomplish. When Henry Ford said, “The future is a car for every American.” He didn’t say, “And by the way, I’m going to build all the roads. I’m going to have all the gas stations. I’m going to build the tires.” No.




A brand of the company… A brand is the outsider’s view of the company. Brand is the perception of the company as held by your customers. Culture is the insider’s view of the company. Culture is the perception of the company as held by your employees. Build a brand of culture that reflects that organizational narrative. Now in the old days, these brand and cultures, they used to be quite apart. They are at once a time separate, but they have melded. That’s what you’ve got to build.

Using the organizational narrative that was created intentionally by a leadership that was intentional. Once you do that, you can then build a strategy for the company. That is supported by their brand and culture. That was intentionally built, with an organizational narrative and an intentional leadership.

This is the power of intentionality. Thank you.