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The third of Katz & Miller’s strategies to encourage teamwork and collaboration is “State your intent and intensity”. In some ways, this concept is very simple. Be clear about what you mean so that others understand exactly what you are saying and how important you think your idea is.

This can be a little tricky, though. Imagine attending a meeting and the CEO begins to talk about an idea with a lot of excitement. Maybe his/her intent is for the organization to run with that idea, but how do you know for sure? Maybe this is just an idea to toss around for awhile. Maybe the CEO expects this idea to be followed up on in the future. Or maybe he/she is looking for some more immediate action.

Alternatively, the CEO could be the type who does not openly expresses excitement and passion. It can be even harder to interpret understated, low key statements.

What’s needed is language to convey both the intent and the intensity of a person’s words. Use of the terms Notions, Stakes, Boulders, and Tombstones can provide clarification. Define the terms and then use them in discussions by saying: “This is a stake for me.” “Here is a boulder in this project for our team.”

Notions are low in intensity of commitment. They may or may not be discussed, depending on whether or not anyone is interested in doing so. When you say, “This is just a notion,…”, others know that discussion is welcome but not mandatory, and the same with action.

Stakes are little higher in intensity. When you say that something is a stake, you make it known that want this topic to be discussed and you are looking for input in order to reach the goal.

Boulders require that action be taken without little or no discussion. When a person states something is a boulder, they are not asking for input about the validity of the idea. They may welcome questions to provide clarification, and maybe ideas for implementation. Because boulders are so difficult to move, stating too often that items are boulders for you may discourage others from sharing their own ideas.

Tombstones are non-negotiable, and should be used rarely. They are those ideas that command full commitment from a person and relate to their integrity and belief system. Or they may be a directive from above that demands action be taken.

While overuse of these terms will diminish their effectiveness, they can provide clarification around intent and intensity. And that can open doors to greater understanding and organizational effectiveness.

TechniGrafic Solutions, Inc.
Internet Marketing and Lead Generation