The Intent Thematic is an exploration of human excellence in three areas of discourse:

1) Leadership Excellence – Dealing with hierarchy

2) Team Excellence – Dealing with peers

3) Personal Excellence – Dealing with oneself

Each of these areas shares a common thread – you can account for success in them on the intent to give or serve.

Establishing the criteria for healthy leadership.

When we apply this insight to groups or teams, it is apparent that one accounts for the success of a team based on how it performs, or the results it produces. One accounts for the success of groups based on the degree to which the individual gives unconditionally in pursuit of the group’s objectives.

In team relationships, this intent to give is expressed by interactions between individuals that are fundamentally cooperative in character. When you have a team populated by members who want to contribute, they will try and set each other up to succeed, and the team will be effective. When you have a team populated by people who only want to get as much as they can for giving as little as possible, they will be consistently trying to undermine each other, and the team will be ineffective.

We have found that the most powerful tool to unlock this magnanimity of spirit is effective leadership.

People don’t easily commit to organisations; people commit to people.

Which means to say, if you want to ask why people go the extra mile, you should ask yourself who is the boss they work for because they want to. What kind of boss do people commit their loyalty and trust to?

The intent to contribute to all levels of the organisation

We have asked this question of people throughout the world. The list of responses we received, time and time again, are as follows:

  • Listens
  • Supportive
  • Understanding
  • Empathetic

  • Compassionate
  • Honest
  • Has a vision
  • Fair

  • Knowledgeable
  • Empowering
  • Experienced
  • High level of integrity

What becomes apparent about the list is that there are those qualities that have a soft theme which is about CARE and having a sincere interest in the individual – not just to get something out of that person. There is a second theme which is slightly harder. For example, if you work with someone who is honest, they won’t always be nice but the individual will know where they stand so that they are able to GROW.

This leads us to a conclusion that there are only two reasons that an individual wants to work for someone – because they CARE about them and they are given an opportunity to GROW.

These themes are true for every human being on the planet.

Together CARE & GROWTH™ are the universal criteria for Legitimate Power.

If we want to apply these themes to organisations, if individuals believe that their leader is there to get as much out of them for giving as little as possible, they withhold their commitment. If they experience the leader as caring for and growing them, they will grant their commitment and give the leader the right to tell them what to do. In other words, they will give the leader the right to exercise power over them.

In organisations, power operates in hierarchies. This means to say that the job of anyone in a position of power is Care & Growth™. If we can assure that the themes of Care & Growt™ and Legitimate Power operate within the organisation, the product will be leaders, teams, and individuals who operate willingly and with commitment in pursuit of the organisation’s goals.

Fundamentally, you can’t ask people to contribute to the business unless the boss is there to do that for them.

There is a further issue that is addressed by the Intent Thematic. To understand this, we need to understand why people go to work. Whatever reasons people give, those reasons can be fitted into four categories, namely: security, fulfillment, power, and harmony.

All four of these are the product of how one’s intent operates and how one experiences the world. If you base your security on what you are getting, you will always be insecure. But if based on the quality of what you contribute, because you have control over what you are contributing and the quality of what you are contributing, you will be secure.

Similarly, when we want something from another, their ability to withhold what we want makes us able to be manipulated, and we become weak. We only regain our personal power when we shift our intent from what we want to how we can be helpful.

Furthermore, when we engage with people on the basis of getting stuff out of them, we will experience constant conflict with those around us. When we shift to how we can be helpful, we experience greater degrees of harmony.

Lastly, when we constantly engage with the world on the basis of what we want, we will never be fulfilled because the world very rarely gives us what we want.


When we concern ourselves with our contribution, we experience a sense of fulfillment, a sense of having enough, of not needing more.

So, when we deal with others on the level of what we contribute or the Intent to Serve, we have control over our own security, fulfillment, power, and harmony. Concerning yourself with the contribution you should be making is actually looking after your own best interest because it enables you to achieve lasting security, fulfillment, power and harmony with the world around you.

Organisations that work on this principle on all levels have the ability to achieve excellence on all levels – leadership, team and personal.

Schuitema Group works hand in hand to apply the principals of the Intent Thematic with organisations to create strong, productive and respectful cultures.

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