Achieve Your Best – The Surprising Power of Intention

In this episode, Mike James Ross, Chief Human Resource Officer of Simons and recent author of “Intention: the surprising psychology of high performers” discusses what intention is, why it is important, and how individuals and organizations can unlock it to achieve high performance.

  • “High performance is about doing subjectively different things.” High performance is not about external manifestations of success like money or fancy titles. It’s about doing things that are hard. High performance looks different for each of us. It’s about pushing yourself beyond preconceived notions of what’s possible.
  • “Intention is about accepting responsibility for my achievements.” Many of us are not making active choices in how we live our lives contributing to feelings of languishing, disengagement, and dissatisfaction. Living an intentional life is living a life of choice.
  • “Start by asking yourself: ‘if you could choose, what would you really choose?’” Challenge yourself to get clear on what you really want from life. If you could choose anything for yourself, what would it be? Then, use this as an anchor to structure how you live your life.
  • “There are 5 ingredients to living with intention”. Willpower, attention, curiosity, integrity, and habits make up intention.
  • “The limit of willpower is actually usually based on your own perception.” Our conceptions of our own willpower limit have an incredible effect on our ability to do things. We can do more, achieve more than we believe.
  •  “Being curious is being open to what’s happening in the world and being open to maybe not being right.” Curiosity is essential. It’s good to be clear on what you think the right answer is, but you need to stay open to new information and new ideas so that you can change the answer as needed.
  • “Integrity is being aligned with your values.” An intentional life starts with clarifying what you value. With this clarity you can make choices that are aligned to who you are. Values matter at individual and organizational level.
  • “Attention is about where you choose to focus.” We all have many distractions in our lives, attention is about being intentional about where you choose to focus your time and energy.
  • “Practicing good habits allows us to achieve the things that are important to us.” If you know how you want to live your life, you can put practices in place to make it easier to just habitually do the things required to achieve your goals.

Meet Mike James Ross

Mike is currently the Chief Human Resource Officer of Simons, a Canadian retailer where he helps to motivate and engage more than 5,000 employees. Prior to Simons, Mike founded a leadership development firm that counselled companies like Google and Cirque du Soleil. Mike has had a diverse career – he’s been a finance lawyer, private equity investor, and peace negotiator. He recently co-authored the book “Intention: the surprising psychology of high performers”.

Connect with Mike Ross on LinkedIn here. Discover his book – Intention: the surprising psychology of high performance here.  Check out his co-authors at Decision Lab here.


Founded by Tineke Keesmaat, TILTCO is a boutique consulting company that helps leaders define and execute their strategies to achieve extraordinary business and personal results. As the host of LeaderLab, Tineke brings her more than 20 years of leadership consulting experience rooted at McKinsey & Company and Accenture to explore how today’s leaders can achieve exceptional results.

Connect with Tineke on LinkedIn here.