Open and Close

The Quest for Strategic Alignment

A RICH CONVERSATION BETWEEN two people is open, but it’s not aimless. Although each person might appear to be “going with the flow,” neither of them will remain engaged in the conversation for very long if they lack a coherent sense of where they hope it will lead, or of what they hope to get out of it. They do well, in other words, to have an agenda. This agenda doesn’t need to be one that they have consciously formulated, and it doesn’t need to be elaborate or extensive. What matters, however, is that people come to a conversation with some kind of goal in mind. Our preferred term for that state of mind is intentionality. The goals that motivate participants in a two-person conversation ...

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