People do not experience our intentions, they experience our behaviours

by | Jul 7, 2023

In the Arena – Whiteboard Wisdom #003

“People do not experience our intentions, they experience our behaviours”.

You talk a good story, you have cool mousepads and beautiful signs on the wall pronouncing the team and organisational values. Your website has a whole page dedicated to them, but when it gets tough…well we get to experience something very different.

One of my teaching mantras is:

“I don’t teach anything I haven’t stuffed up”, and yes, I have track record in this regard.

Ask yourself, and others…often:

“How is my team experiencing me now?”

I like this quote from legendary NBA coach Phil Jackson, who took the Chicago Bulls and LA Lakers to eleven championships.

“I always welcomed debate, even if it disrupted team harmony temporarily, because it showed that the players were engaged in solving the problems. The big danger was when a critical mass of players jettisoned the principle of selflessness upon which the team was founded. That’s when chaos ensued.”

And always remember, you might be the problem that needs to be solved.

You need to know.

“People do not experience our intentions, they experience our behaviours”

The “In the Arena – Whiteboard Wisdom” concepts I speak to are taken from years of daily journaling, in-the-moment note-taking in my Moleskine journal, and my lived experience as a CEO and leader in high-performance sport for most of my working life.

I call this process ‘borrow freely, apply uniquely’, inspired by the Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards’ line, “It is not where you take it from, it is where you take it to”.


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