Today we will look at the concept of Noble Intent and how it can positively affect your personal and professional relationships.
Together Indaba CEO and founder Hellen Davis and Fran Landolf published a book on the subject. Noble Intent, simply put, is a systemic way of approaching personal and professional relations from the view of goodness, fairness, and equity. Fran Landolf is an awardee of the Meritorious Executive in the Senior Cryptologic Executive Service for sustained superior accomplishment in management programs of the US government and for noteworthy achievement of quality and efficiency in public service awarded by the president of the United States.
When Hellen Davis and Fran Landolf started work on the book, Noble Intent they decided that the two tenets’ acting with Noble Intent and assuming Noble Intent had to be laid out in a convenient and easy to understand way.
They wrote the book in a format that systematically introduces the reader to the concepts of Noble Intent – step-by-step. The first couple chapters introduce the idea with a series of anecdotes and testimonials that tell the stories about those who practice Noble Intent and those that don’t. Noble Intent illustrates how an organization and its people benefit by using the principles.
Hellen and Fran kept coming back to the theme that if we all adhered to these principles, that we could really change how the world operates.
They drew a comparison with Noble Intent and the Domino Effect: One person’s actions affect those immediately around him, and this branches out in a wave until eventually others not in the original immediate circle are affected in subtle ways by that one original action. This occurs like the effect of toppling the first in a string of dominos. Hellen and Fran believe that if the first action is inspired by Noble Intent, the effect will be a positive one and everyone stands to benefit. The best thing: No one can predict how far the positive range will extend.
Fran and Hellen agreed that mutual trust and respect is the cornerstone of any effective relationship, and professional relationships are no exception. Personal and professional interactions work best when both parties understand each other’s motivations and agendas. And when they can trust one another to be open and upfront about changes in strategy and can voice concerns that might occur. However, this isn’t always how things work out. Business dealings, by their very nature, are transactions in which both sides wish to profit, gain an advantage, or move their agendas forward.
Unfortunately, there are many who simply cannot marry the concepts of honesty and gain in their mind.
They feel that it is acceptable to use any means at their disposal to win; even if winning means acting in a tricky underhanded manner or being less than forthright in their dealings with others. No doubt these people can gain the advantage in a transaction, but all too often they are seen as untrustworthy, unscrupulous or as someone you don’t want to do business with if you can avoid it.
The result of this type of behavior: They simply end up alienating the other party and thus destroying any opportunity for future business for the organization they represent. Thankfully, not everyone takes this view. There is a business concept, a value system that flies in the face of a self-serving approach to doing business. This strategy offers up a better way of conducting business relationships.
Principles of Noble Intent
When you operate with the Principles of Noble Intent in mind, you seek to change your perspective about the intentions of others. We make the choice to assume that people are acting with good intentions. Instead of immediately looking to see if people are trying to pull one over on you, you make the conscious choice to look for decent reasons about why the person is acting as they are. You first seek out the person’s motivation in terms of what worthy goals they are striving for even though you might not agree with their tactics in achieving these goals you have to assume that the person is trying to make something better. In doing so, you not only foster more clear and open lines of communication, you also persuade others to come around to our way of thinking.
Noble Intent is a value system that emphasizes trust and giving the benefit of the doubt.
The basic assumption of Noble Intent is that people are inherently good. Even when they act in ways that are detrimental to others, they often only do so out of ignorance. They are unaware of the consequences of their actions. Or because they sincerely thought they were acting in everyone’s best interest. They didn’t have all the information they needed before acting. This means that when decisions are made in business, even though we might not always understand them or it seems at first as if we might suffer because of them, we must react in a way that demonstrates a desire to understand the motivations behind those decisions and shows the intention to act in whatever way is best for the entire organization and all parties involved.
However, Noble Intent isn’t just a mantra to get us through a frustrating workday; it’s a value system and a concept of how we approach our personal and professional relationships. Noble Intent challenges us to question our thinking and requires that we change the way we behave by making conscious choices to err towards giving people the benefit of the doubt that they are acting with Noble Intent and always acting with Noble Intent ourselves.
Noble Intent is a two-phase process: acting with Noble Intent and assuming Noble Intent in others.
Not only must we act with Noble Intent and do good ourselves, but we must assume that others are also acting with Noble Intent. There will be times when we’re wrong in this assumption, but even in those times, we can often win over the person with our own positive actions and good intentions. Thus we foster harmonious and mutually beneficial relationships that previously would have had no chance of existing.
Noble Intent will not just impact the profitability of private businesses, it works for all organizations. Employing the principles of Noble Intent in the public sector can lead to increased communication and respect between employees that makes the valuable work a public organization is engaged in proceedings that much more smoothly and efficiently.
Practicing Noble Intent doesn’t make you “naive, gullible, or a sucker”.
It doesn’t mean that you’re a sitting duck, waiting to be taken advantage of by the first shrewd and calculating person you come across. It means simply that you act in accordance with these principles, propagating a legacy of respect. Your eyes remain open and you maintain the awareness of the reality that will prevent you from being taken advantage of. We realize that there are good people who sometimes behave badly and that there are malicious people in the world. Most important when using the Principles of Noble Intent, you lead by example, have crucial conversations, and offer the other person the opportunity to change their behavior. If they do so, then everyone benefits. If they don’t, then at least you tried.
Noble Intent is a value system is ultimately about mutual benefit and leaving behind a legacy that other people will respect. It is about changing the world for the better, one interaction at a time. If the Principles of Noble Intent are followed, others will know that you and your organization’s success stems not from back-stabbing and underhanded practices, but from fairness, equity, and mutual respect that resulted in a gain for everybody involved.
The affirmation is often repeated in Noble Intent that anybody can benefit from these practices. Whether you’re the president of an organization or a worker on one of the lowest rungs of the organization’s ladder, you can enact positive change in your job and in your life by following the tenets of Noble Intent. Like the Domino Effect, you never know where it will lead.
Noble Intent isn’t all about philosophy. Noble Intent practices will directly affect the bottom line of your organization. You will see a reduction in stress, and people will look out for the best interests of others. Over time, as the Noble Intent culture grows, you will see a like-mindedness among your associates; a positive attitude that will affect your entire company culture.
In conclusion, learning to follow the Principles of Noble Intent is certain to be of value to anyone.
From the president who wants to incorporate Noble Intent policies throughout his entire organization, to the manager who wants to foster respect and communication throughout his team, to the worker who wants to improve the quality and atmosphere of his workplace, to the student who wants excel in the classroom Noble Intent clearly illustrates how each of these people can take the steps necessary to realize their vision. Noble Intent is at once an inspiring philosophy and an informative method for conducting business in the modern age. This is especially timely since many are becoming increasingly frustrated by the deceptive appearances and shrewdness that has dominated the business world in the past few years.
Noble Intent is an exciting and revolutionary approach to business and life that promises to become the model for standards and practices in the future. By adhering to the Principles of Noble Intent, you can be certain that you can remain competitive and successful while fostering an atmosphere of respect, understanding, and compassion.
CEO, Indaba Global Coaching, LLC