Leading your team with intent

Leading your team with intent
January 24, 2018 Linda Murray

Setting your intent with a single word, isn’t just for individuals.

It’s also a potent way to bring increased clarity, focus and unity to every member of your team. With everyone focused and working together, rather than competing against one another, you will accomplish more than you ever have before.

How a single word can unite your team

Just as its easier to reach your goals when they are in alignment with your intent, it will be easier for your team to overcome challenges and increase their performance when their goals are in alignment with their passion and purpose.

To create this united, purpose-driven team, you must have everyone on board.

In order to relate to one another, and to perform at their highest level, everyone must first share the same intent. Gather your team together and get everyone involved in choosing a single word that will sum up their passion and purpose for the next twelve months and align it with a group intent word.


Your team should be involved in the entire process of choosing the groups intent word.

Have them brainstorm together and come up with a list of single words that defines their intent for the year.

Choosing a single word to represent the intentions of an entire team is more difficult than choosing an intent word for a single individual. Sometimes it can be helpful for teams to consider what specific quality, action or meaning they wish to achieve or aspire to for the year.

Most intent words can be grouped into three categories:

  1. words that stand for abstract qualities
  2. and words that represent a specific type of action

Abstract words

Some common abstract words are: power, balance, joy, health, courage, passion, art and lean, but there are many others your team might choose.

Your team should choose a word that speaks to them and really resonates with them on a personal, meaningful level. Otherwise, it will not provide the guidance and focus that your team needs to stay motivated and on track through the year.

Keep in mind that words which define abstract concepts can be more difficult to work with since it’s difficult to instantly know how to manifest the meaning of an abstract word into your everyday actions. Your team might need to incorporate an abstract word into a phrase to make the meaning clearer to them, and this is perfectly fine if it keeps your team united and focused.

Action words

Some action words that are commonly chosen to express intent are: conquer, emerge, breathe, finish, create, unleash, build and energise. These types of words work well for setting intent because the very definition of the word tells your team what action they need to take to make the word “real.”

For example, if your team’s word is “energise,” they should avoid actions that don’t increase or “energise” their performance, or, that don’t “re-energise” your brand’s image.

Choosing the actual word

Once your team has a list of words, have each member talk about which word is most meaningful to them and why.

Have them talk about how they could use these words to help them stay on track through the year.

Look for areas of overlap when your team discusses what words are important to them and why.

Once your team has reached a consensus about which word best represents their intent for the coming year, have them vote on which word will be best to represent their intent.

Make your team’s intent your battle cry

Once your team has chosen a word to help them set their intent for the year, don’t let it go.

Incorporate this word it into your strategic planning, use it as a theme in team-building activities and at meetings throughout the year to help your team keep their intent at the top of mind. Your team’ intent word should become their motto, their mantra, and their literal battle cry for the year.  It should set the tone for every action that each member takes.

Once your team has set their intent for the year, there is literally nothing that can stand in the way of achieving their goals – except failing to focus on their intent.

To learn more about how to help your team to use their intent to increase their performance, join our  free online program and set yourself, and your team, up for greater success!

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