The Power of Intention: Cohort21



Jack Kornfield Quote: Be mindful of intention. Intention is the seed that creates our future.
Photo credit: Stefanus Martanto Setyo Husodo


Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is at achieving key business objectives. Organizations use KPIs to evaluate their success at reaching targets.

Teaching Class like Cohort21

While teaching Design Technology my co-teacher, Adam Drenth, and I had students state an intention/goal during the beginning of class to work towards. This enabled them to focus their energy on a task from the moment they walked in the room. It also functioned as an entry point for conversation when we checked in to see how each student was progressing. This means of correspondence allowed us to teach accountability. Students quickly learned what was a reasonable amount of work for each class. The idea is that they would be able to chunk future projects based on identifying their own strengths/weaknesses in the development process.



Implementation Timeline:  Using Gantt charts allowed students to take control of their learning by identifying how long each aspect of their project would take. Stressing that not every student’s chart would be the same and that some may want to allow more time for elements that they find to be more challenging.



Action Items, Key Tasks, Critical Path, Milestones, Tracking Progress, etc.

The process to your “success” can be daunting when you look at the pathway.  However, if you shift your perspective, then you can see that every step of a goal is valuable, even if it’s in the wrong direction. #failforward

Many of our students struggled with the process more than their projects as they sorted through key tasks and made decisions that altered their progress. Focusing in on one daily outcome allowed them to feel empowered.

Niklas Goeke uses the MIT Solution as a means of making goals attainable: “MIT stands for Most Important Task. When you know what your MIT is, your to-do list consists of one item only — and that can be a huge productivity boost.” (Sorry, Massachusetts Institute of Tech.)

Identify your Action Plan, then look at your critical path as you map the process. What “Most Important Task” do you need to accomplish today? Give yourself permission to set your action plan aside. With time comes perspective and reflection is a key aspect of success. (This blog post was started nearly a year ago and I was wrestling with my thought process to be able to formulate the ideas in a meaningful way.)

The same was true for the students, as they were able to switch between aspects of their project as they deemed necessary. Focusing each day on their Most Important Task and owning every element of their journey. The same is true for Cohort21 as we elect to venture forward on our own pathway with the guidance and support of our peers.


Mindful Practice and Purpose

When we share our intention with others we own our actions and step up to meet them. The true power of Cohort21 is the support network that encourages, supports and helps you to attain your next big thing. Regardless of the level of involvement required, you can be certain that any member of this group can be called upon to assist you in taking that next step. The feeling of empowerment you feel when you focus on one outcome stems from your public statement to take action.



The final step to taking a great leap is to celebrate. This summer while vacationing in the south of Portugal, the Algarve. I witnessed an epic cliff jump. I thought about how crazy the guy was to go for it when there were so many unknown variables. His friend was cheering him on and after a few seconds of consideration, he went for it. The adrenaline release, celebration and excitement were the parts I remember the most. The elation radiated from his face and the fear was gone. Sometimes the hardest step to take is the first one.

I look forward to starting Season 7 of Cohort21 and helping the new members to take their first step towards their action plans. We are all here cheering you on!



Jack Kornfield Quote: “Be mindful of intention. Intention is the seed that creates our future.” (n.d.). Retrieved from

What are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)? (n.d.). Retrieved from

(2015, July 02). The “MIT” solution – How to identify one key task each day to make consistent progress. Retrieved from

3 Responses to “The Power of Intention: Cohort21”

  1. Tracy Faucher

    This is an awesome idea to promote student awareness, agency, and accountability in your classes! I have never seen the Gantt Chart, but have used SCRUM boards before, which is similar. I hadn’t thought of putting this tool into students hands though- I love it!

    “The idea is that they would be able to chunk future projects based on identifying their own strengths/weaknesses in the development process.”

    This hit me as such a great thought for both your class of students and as a great message to the incoming cohort of educators. We know from experience that not every action plan is going to find an “end point”, that the twists and turns that we experience as we work through our action plans are part of the ride. But no matter where anyone sits at the end of the program they have learned so much about themselves and what they need to help create change around them.

    And yes, we cheer hard! So excited to the start of this season!

  2. Garth Nichols

    I totally agree with @tfaucher ‘s comment. We cheer hard, and not only that, but it’s the fact that many of us are continuing take ‘first steps’ in different parts of our own practice.
    Thanks Lisa,

  3. Eric Daigle

    I love that you have sources for your Blog! You rock @lbettencourt!

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