Go public with your plans — it can get you to success

Repost from CNBC Make It!

Think about the motivational books you’ve read, the inspiring Ted Talks you’ve watched or even the articles you’ve found on Make It. Have you found yourself inspired to make a change? We all have.

But be honest: how many of those inspirational tips have you actually implemented? Three? One? None?

I believe one reason for the lack of success is not closing the Intention-Action Gap.


Failing to turn your intentions, or plans, into actions means you are living in what experts call the Intention-Action Gap. This gap occurs when you have great intentions about making a change in your life, yet you fail to do what it takes to make that change.

As CEO of Yum! Brands, I became passionate about our customers and shared my plans about becoming Customer Maniacs with others. Guess what? Not everyone was on board. In fact, some were shocked that I wanted our team members to become obsessed with customers. I had a choice to make… live in the Intention-Action Gap because not everyone was on board or turn my intentions into action.


I decided to go public with my plan and took action. We trained all our restaurants around the world on Customer Mania. We taught our team members to exceed customer expectations. We gave our front-line team members permission to solve any customer issue that was under $10 without talking to a manager. Our team members learned how to listen to the voice of the customer. They learned how to recover from mistakes.

And guess what? Turning my Customer Mania plans into action paid off – because when you get people capability right, then you are going to satisfy more customers, and that’s how you make more money. That’s the formula for success.

I went public with my plans because it’s a great way to give yourself that extra motivation to see it through. Why? Because if you don’t do what you say, you sacrifice your integrity, you lose credibility, and people will not believe you when you say things. To be a good leader, you have to put pressure on yourself, so if it’s important for you to get something done, take a public stand on it. That’s why I’m a firm believer in “going public so you can’t go back!”

Another thing to keep in mind is our intentions and words without actions and follow-through are meaningless. In fact, this quote from Walk the Talk by Eric Harvey and Alexander Lucia can be quite enlightening. “We judge ourselves mostly by our intentions, but others judge us mostly by our actions. People hear what we say but they see what we do, and seeing is believing.” That’s a powerful insight. In fact, it’s a cornerstone behavior that we teach you in my Heartwiring and Hardwiring Your Leadership™ Program.

You can choose to stop living in the Intention-Action Gap today. Ask yourself: What’s one intention you have that you want to turn into action? Who can you “go public with” so you can’t go back? Answering these two questions can help you cross the bridge from intentions to action.


Are you willing to take the first step?

David Novak created oGoLead to help people become stronger leaders. He is co-founder and former CEO of Yum! Brands and a New York Times bestselling leadership author. He has been recognized as “2012 CEO of the Year” by Chief Executive magazine, one of the world’s “30 Best CEOs” by Barron’s, one of the “Top People in Business” by Fortune and one of the “100 Best-Performing CEOs in the World” by Harvard Business Review.

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