Intention vs. Execution

One of the things I love to do is to understand different types of people.  I love to look for patterns in people and learn how they think, how they make decisions, and to try and find similarities in extremely successful people. 

In studying people, I have learned that most people have very good intentions…really.  Most people intend to do good things.  They intend to get things done, to pray for you when they say they will, to read more, to improve themselves, to lose that 10 lbs, get out of debt, and so on.  Good intention might be defined as the process of having a sincere desire to do something we know needs to get done.  Let’s say that at least 90% of people have these kinds of thoughts.

Executing might be defined as the ability to formulate a plan to get a thing done and then following through with the plan until the thing is fully done.  This is where the pack starts to thin out.  Few people are really good at this part of the equation.  How many people do you know today that when they say to you, “…that sounds great.  I’ll call you this week to confirm.” that there is a slim chance they will actually follow up.  It’s widely accepted that things just fall through the cracks sometimes.  We are all busy right?  Wrong.

I suggest to you today that the gap between intention and execution is the exact same gap between your dreams and success.  The smaller the gap, the larger your success.  People who drop the ball with little things will drop the ball with big things.  Successful people don’t drop balls…period.  Some have assistants that help them, some have systems in place that work for them, but one way or another they do the things they commit to do or they simply don’t commit. 

If you are in business, I especially want to challenge you today to eliminate the gap between your intentions and the execution of every single thing you say you will do.  No more casual commitments.  If you can’t do it, say no instead of casually committing.  Your reputation depends on it.  Your success depends on it. 

“Repeat anything often enough and it will start to become you.”  ~ Winston Churchill

“99% of failures come from the people who have the habit of making excuses.”  ~ George Washington Carver

1 Response to “Intention vs. Execution”


  1. 1 tardy October 22, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    I think this is spot on.

    However, I think where I tend to struggle is feeling bad about saying ‘no’ to things that I know that I can’t execute on. I like the idea of letting your yes be yes and no be no but when it comes to practical application I have a hard time. I know that I should say ‘no’ but the fear of being seen as arrogant tends to win out.

    Any advice on how to sell the virtue of ‘the no’?

    And how leave those that you have to say ‘no’ to feeling like you did it because you legitimately care about them and not letting them down?


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