The importance of intent on leadership and sales strategy

One of the fundamental tenets of leadership is authenticity. If there is a fundamental mismatch between your belief system and that of the wider organisation, eventually others will see.

If you only care about yourself — your remuneration, your next promotion, or getting the credit for all the work — that will burn through and prevent you from making the best decision for the team or for your client.

What does this have to do with sales? Quite simply it comes down to having enough self-awareness to understand this. If your intent always shines through, then you must therefore always have the right intent. Moreover, that intent needs to align with the expectations of your client.

This becomes especially critical if your staff and clients are driven by outcomes, by people and by things bigger than themselves. In day-to-day sales and in engagement with your clients, they will know if you only care about the sale and not about their outcome.

You may not realise it, but they will. It will be translated in how you craft the deal, in the language that you use, in your body language, and ultimately your actions. You certainly won’t be attached to their outcome and you won’t be able to lead them on whatever journey is required.

This means that you must ultimately believe in what you do, and in what you are selling. For me, that means not just selling a product, but successfully delivering an outcome. You must genuinely want to partner with your clients because you believe in what they do. That you care about their desired outcome as much as they do. Ultimately, this will drive you to look ahead, identify risks and take joint ownership of the outcome and the controls required to mitigate or eliminate risk.

Intent is more important than technique. A person with the right intent but poor processes will always win over someone with misaligned intent employing the best processes.

Our challenge as human beings is that the right intent is often in conflict with our ego, our desire for power, or our greed. The spoken words may be correct, but ultimately the inner intent comes through. When it does, self-protection, self-importance and self-promotion always override intent.

However, when an individual aligns themselves to the right intent with no compromises from ego, power or greed, they are able to form a trusted relationship with their customers, their organisation, and their team.

The same principle applies to leadership. You have to genuinely want to develop and look after your people. You must have a vision for your organisation and you must believe in that vision; and your words and actions must inevitably back up that vision.

So, take some time to ask yourself, “What is my intent?”

Eric-Young-headshotEric Young is an Account Executive in DXC’s ANZ Public Sector team with 24 years of professional work experience, including a 20-year career in the Royal Australian Navy as a Warfare Officer. He has a proven ability to develop high performance teams and over his career has been trusted to lead and manage complex programs, projects and teams of up to 220 people. Eric is passionate about leadership and its importance to the success of an organisation.


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  1. That last question is so powerful… a self-awareness gut-check that should be used often.


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