Tale of two WHYs | Reason “Purpose” serves no purpose

Over the past decade or so, there has been a lot of focus on the word “Why”. There have been thoughts that one should try to find their own “Why” or “Purpose”. Is that the journey you have taken? How have you fared in that endeavour? Have you managed to find your Purpose? What has been the experience since then? Do you feel fulfilled or unsure about what this discovery should have brought?

I have seen a lot of interesting developments along the lines of finding the Why and the Purpose. Some of them are fantastic, very good, but some make you question that once an individual or an organisation feel they have found their Why, then what? How do you ensure that discovery is helpful in some shape or form?

There are examples such as a recent politician in the UK who came to power with great ideas, and you could say who had a clear sense of their Purpose or Why. However, they ended up having the shortest tenure ever as a Prime Minister of the Country. What do you think happened there?

Facebook bet hugely on the future of Metaverse, even going to the extent of naming their parent company on similar lines. However, despite having umpteen resources at their disposal, the realisation of that dream still seems very distant. What do you think could be the reason behind that?

The beautiful Southeast Asian country of Sri Lanka, with a clearly identified purpose of promoting Organic Farming, brought in policies to encourage the practice, but instead, it had the devastating effect of a food shortage crisis never seen of that magnitude before. Why did such a situation arise?

In all the examples shared here, the individuals and organisations had identified or discovered their Individual or Intrinsic Whys. I call them the I-Whys. The I-Why maybe is ok if you just want to feel good about yourself or live in isolation. However, in environments where Individuals and organisations depend on others for an outcome, just the I-Whys or the I-Purpose don’t really serve a Purpose.

It is essential in social environments that an individual or an organisation (Let us call them Patrons) understand How their I-Whys interact with what their social counterparts want. A social counterpart could be an individual, group of individuals, or an organisation that the Patrons interact with that has a role to play in the combined outcome. The needs or the Questions of the social counterparts could be called the Q-Why. These are the WHY questions a Social Counterpart would have of the Patrons, such as “Why should I support you in an election?”, “Why should I try Metaverse?” “Why is the sudden overnight ban on chemical fertilisers good for promoting sustainable organic farming?”

A solid and positive outcome can be expected only when there is a good balance between the I-Why and Q-Why. You might recall that in my theory of the drivers of Intent, Relevance is a crucial Intent driver. Relevance can only come when the I-Why and Q-Why are balanced. Only then do we see the formation of desired Intent and then Action.

The proof of that is all around us. For example, we have the best interests of our children at heart, which is a very strong I-Why. However, if we don’t match a direction to our child with solid reasoning that addresses their Q-Why, it is challenging to drive sustainable desired behaviour. Another example is sales practices, where I-Whys are the features of a product or service. However, if they are not communicated using the Q-Whys, i.e., the language of Benefits for the potential customers, the order book would be relatively empty.

Maybe if there were a better balance between I-Why and Q-Why, Liz Truss would still be Prime Minister, Metaverse would be much further in the Consumer adoption journey, and the culinary crisis in Sri Lanka might have been avoided.

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road…Unless you fail to make the turn.” – Helen Keller

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road…Unless you fail to make the turn.”- Helen Keller

This post is dedicated to all who might be looking at new options either because of recent job cuts or otherwise. There might be a few doubts creeping in, or you might be receiving undesired statements from the world. Nothing and no one can decide what your future looks like except YOU!

I came across a LinkedIn post from an individual some time ago where he listed down an array of demotivators thrown at him when he was trying to start a new life in a new Country, such as “You will not find a job in your field”, “You will not be able to have a senior position if you want to settle here”,” You will need to adjust your expectations downwards” etc. etc. He then proceeded to proudly share that “He was glad he only listened to himself” as he was now on the Board of Directors of a reputable organisation within that year.

I assume most of us have encountered such situations in our personal & professional lives where we are faced with similar statements/doubts expressed on capabilities. There can be one of three outcomes in such a situation:

1) Get demotivated/stop attempting

2) Not affected/carry on as planned

3) Challenge becomes a huge motivation/multiplies the effort.

In my personal experience, these have actually proved to be significant motivators to try to accomplish what has been stated as “can’t be done”. Granted that subject to the limits of science and the supernatural not everything will be possible but I hope you get my gist :-).

It was the year 1993; I had just given my year ten exams (sort of equivalent to GCSEs) and had about four months of holidays coming up. Although it has been quite common for 14+-year-olds to take up jobs in Europe, the Americas etc., in the Northern Indian town of Faridabad where I grew up, it was almost unheard of (the landscape has changed a bit over the last decade or so but still not common) due to multiple factors such as too young, family reputation, limited belief in capability etc.

However, in very simple terms, in my heart, I wanted to learn the value of money and expressed a desire to my family that I wanted to work. You guessed the response right…” You can’t do it”. So the third outcome, as above, “ Challenge becomes a huge motivation”, kicked in, and I tried to find a way. As luck would have it, I learned about a boy known to my family who had started going to Delhi as he had taken up a job there. I spoke to him and was told that he works for a toy company. Somehow convinced my father to accompany this boy called Happy for one day and see if it was something decent to be involved in.

As agreed with Happy, I reached his home the next day at 7:30 AM to go to Delhi with him. Not sure why, but surprise, surprise, he had left without me. Now definitely couldn’t just go back home and miss this golden chance, and in those days, there were no cell phones, so I couldn’t contact Happy either. I remembered Happy had told me that the company he works for is based in Delhi’s “East of Kailash “area and had shared the company name. Armed with these two pieces of information, without ever having travelled alone to Delhi and that too on Public transport, I headed for the old Faridabad train station(Google hadn’t graced our lives yet:-)). At the station enquired about the train stop I should get off at in Delhi to reach East of Kailash and learned about Okhla, my destination station for the day. Once I reached East of Kailash ( it was not a couple of blocks, more like a small town), I started enquiring about this Toy company, and after about an hour, luck smiled, and a phone shop( called STD/ISD booths in India) which this toy company used to route their long distance calls gave me their address.

Late morning, I arrived at A3-East of Kailash, which was originally a house but now had offices in the basement & ground floor and someone’s residence on the upper floors. The toy company’s office was in the basement. When I entered the office, my friend Happy was there and was suitably surprised. Anyway, I spoke to the boss and found out that this particular office employed people for door-to-door selling of their Soft toys and board games. They said they would give me a trial for a week, and I jumped on the chance.

So that day in April 1993, armed with around 20kgs of toys and games on my shoulder, with a desire to learn and motivated further by “You can’t do it”, at the grand age of 15, on the streets of South Delhi was my first day at work! The journey of a salesman had begun.

That day defined my life. I ended up working there for the remaining three months, and that is where my love for Sales was born. There are many other memories of knocking on doors, my first sale etc., which I might share in future posts. Since then, there had to be a component of work along with my studies, and I ended up working part-time all through my graduation in Sales roles.

Most of the time “You Can’t do it” challenge has worked positively for me as a motivator and as a catalyst to help push boundaries, get out of my comfort zone, etc., on multiple occasions. It is not surprising that the same must have played a considerable role in the lives of many people we have come to respect, such as Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela, Richard Branson etc., and must be a key ingredient in their success.

So next time someone says to you,” You can’t do it,”.. just say and feel “, That’s Wonderful!” Enjoy all the hairpins and bends the road of life presents and push on.

Bon Voyage

Ankur Shiv Bhandari

Google vs ChatGPT | Shopper vs Cook | The Role of Intent

ChatGPT, this very techie-sounding word, came to my attention only a few weeks ago. I did not make much of this initially until all of my social media feeds started getting flooded by thoughts/articles/videos, and every type of content possible on how wonderful this was. I believe it took only five days for ChatGPT to have a million users.

To feed my curiosity, I tried to sign up and see the wonder for myself. Well, it was running at capacity at the time, so it took another couple of days before I got access. So what came next was.. hmm..Interesting.

The use of the tool and the clarity of results left me pleasantly surprised. It is but natural that a Chat/language-based search tool is compared to the Czar of search, Google, and that is what I did. I tried comparing these two on some basic terms and then on slightly advanced terms. For example, I am interested in Engineering Psychology and our business; Color Parlour works in packaging design. So I thought, let me find out what it says about this topic. Lo and behold, ChatGPT came back with quite a decent definition of Engineering Psychology, including its alternate name around human factors; it was fantastic. In comparison, the exact search on Google helped me arrive at similar information but was packaged in different sources that Google introduced me to.

Thinking about this, a simple comparison came to my mind of a Shopper vs a Cook. I had a need, and what Google did was shopped around the net for me and presented me with some good options to consume the content that I felt met my requirements. I sampled a few of them and then took a consumption call. In comparison, ChatGPT tried to satisfy my need by cooking up a solution itself. It looked around for the right ingredients, mixed them up using its own recipe, and provided me with a complete dish of content to consume. It was not as if I wanted Pizza, and it gave me Pasta; it was a Pizza alright.

A vital role that search engines play is understanding Intent. Google and other established search engines assist individuals and businesses in understanding and acting on Intent. As a recap, in the online world, there are broadly four types of Intent:

  1. Information: Search focused on finding information
  2. Navigation: Search concentrated on getting to a destination, e.g: getting to Linkedin
  3. Transaction: Search for Goods and Services to buy.
  4. Commercial Investigation: Pre-search to transactions to investigate purchase options.

Although ChatGPT has had a strong start in the area of Intent focused on information consumption, it will be very interesting to see how the other areas and beyond are supported in times to come.

Whether we need a Shopper or a Cook will, of course depend on individual needs. However, will look forward to continuing interesting developments in the space.

Ankur Shiv Bhandari


#chatgpt #googlevschatgpt #shopper #intent

Why did Penny drop?

What a few weeks of UK politics it has been. Looking at it with my Lens on Intent, it was interesting to see different perspectives and thought might be a good idea to share. I am not going to comment on what was right, what could have been better or on the suitability of various candidates etc. I am purely going to focus on my view of how I saw intent formation amongst different stakeholders since Boris went, to Liz Truss’s ascent, descent and finally the coronation of Rishi Sunak including decisions of Boris and a perspective on Why did Penny drop?

If you have not already read about my thoughts on How intent is formed or have watched my TEDx talk on the subject, let me refresh your memory. I believe the development and the strength of the Intent of any individual is dependent on the interaction between “Belief “ and “Relevance”. The stronger, the belief and relevance in a particular situation, the stronger the Intent which then is directly proportional to the action that is taken or not taken. I call this “ THE BRIA Model”

Let us start with a few months ago when Boris resigned. Do you think he wanted to go? I don’t think so. So what happened that made him give that resignation speech? Yes yes, I hear you that he had no choice, his support was diminished etc. etc. but coming to the cold end of it, what really led to that decision? Let us put my thinking of BRIA into practice, Beliefs, Relevance, Intent, Action.

Did Boris believe in himself and that he was doing a good job for the country, “ Getting the Big things right” Yes, of course, he did. Until the avalanche of resignations, did he feel his actions were relevant to the positive future of the party and the country? I think he did. My reference point is his performance at the Liaison committee on the 6th of July where I personally think he batted various questions and barbs reasonably well and the strength of his intent and the resulting action i.e responses to various questions even until then was reasonably robust. It is when the downpour of resignations started that his feeling of relevance to his party maybe started getting weakened a bit. So although his belief was still strong, the diminishing relevance weakened the intent to stay on and hence we saw the action of resignation.

Coming to Liz Truss, I think it is a slightly different story. Here, even if the belief in the actions that were being taken was strong, I think there could have been more work done on communications on making those actions feel more relevant to colleagues, and stakeholders both within Government and in wider markets and the general public. Even if some of the policies were strong, their potentially feeble relevance in the current circumstances could have weakened the intent of the markets and other stakeholders to support them.

Now coming to the Coronation @ Diwali of our new prime minister Rishi Sunak and the events leading up to it. I believe the relevance of Rishi potentially strengthened over the past few days due to multiple factors such as: 

  1. The risks he warned of upon taking a particular economic path seemed to have come true
  2. He had the practical experience of having run finances during the pandemic and finances is where a huge focus is required at the moment
  3. He seemed to have the backing of a big chunk of the Conservative Parliamentary party which is potentially extremely important for the unity of the party and the actions that need to be taken especially at this moment.

In this situation, even if some might doubt the belief people had in Rishi, his relevance was potentially too strong in the current circumstances that led to the formation of intent amongst many MPs of supporting him and the resulting actions of endorsement.

With Penny, I noted that her tweet of withdrawal came at almost the last minute possible at 13:58. What does that tell you? There was a very strong belief amongst her supporters until the last minute. One can absolutely understand that as she is an extremely strong candidate with very strong credentials, It is just that her relevance at this moment in time was potentially not as strong as Rishi and hence the intent to support Penny at this particular time amongst MPS was maybe not as strong and Penny had to drop. 

Ankur Shiv Bhandari

Disclaimer: These are my thoughts in a personal capacity and do not represent thoughts of any particular group or committee.

Episode 1 - Introduction to Intentonomics

Episode 1 – Introduction to Intentonomics

Hello Everyone, I am Ankur Shiv Bhandari. Welcome to the first episode of Intentonomics. What is this Intentonomics and who am I to talk about this? Let us take it one by one.

Let me start by asking a question? Can you think of a situation where you needed someone to do something and although you felt that action would definitely be done to your surprise it was not. It could be a customer of yours about to sign a deal or make a purchase, it could be an employee of your organisation you might be managing, it might be your child, your friend, your parent, politicians….could be anyone.. Now let us flip the situation where whatever you thought needed to be done was actually done.

What do you think led to that particular action being done or not done? It was the strength of The Intent of that individual. In either of those situations you might have felt a Pain can also be called loss or Gain.This Gain or Pain was driven by The Power of Intent and an understanding of that is Intentonomics.

Can you control this Power of Intent that has an impact on the outcome of an action and hence on Gain or Pain? Yes, of course you can!

This is where a part of me comes in. In my recent TEDx talk I had talked about the drivers of Intent and how a good understanding of those drivers can potentially help convert Intent into Action. In my reflections on this Intentonomics platform, I will further try to bring these concepts to life. But who am I? Who is Ankur Shiv Bhandari and why should you listen to this?

I started my career as a door to door salesman. My corporate career since of more than 2 decades has encompassed work in more than 50 countries as both an employee of organisations such as ICI, Procter & Gamble, Accenture, WPP and a consultant to many others such as Unilever, Castrol, Coca-Cola, Glaxo Smithkline, Boots, Philips, Panasonic etc. etc. I also wear other hats such as in Local Government where in Bracknell Forest Berkshire, I have been elected as the first ever Mayor of Indian Origin, first ever person of colour and also the youngest Mayor in History. I am also a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Marketors, a Freemason and an Academic. I also run various businesses around the world mainly in the field of Shopper Marketing and Capability development.  So hopefully, it is fair to say that I have looked at life from close quarters and from multiple angles.

In all my experiences, I have been curious to understand factors behind decisions and indecisions which in some cases have led to monetary Gains or pains for organisations running into millions even billions, for individuals have led to bundles of joys or heartaches which although non-monetary are key contributors to an someone’s sense of fulfilment. This led me to study this concept in detail until I discovered the most important lever behind Action which is Intent. A further study of Intent gave rise to the BRIA model which I believe demystifies the drivers of Intent and ultimately Action.

My reflections will try to bring in real-life examples to hopefully showcase The Power of Intent in driving Gain or Pain.

I welcome you to join me on this Intentonomics Journey and hopefully we can discover more Gains, alleviate certain pains but above all explore thoughts and learn something together

Thank you


Bhandari’s BRIA Model of Intent – TEDx Talk

What causes a sports team to overhaul its dismal performance to an outstanding one within days?
What drives differences in performance between individuals?
What leads to discriminatory behaviours such as Racism?
What could be a key factor that leads to crimes?
What creates a sea change in political outcomes for political parties?
What causes shoppers and consumers to prefer and/or purchase a particular product or service over others?
What has the power to bring about a monumental change in the results for an organisation?

The word is “Intent”

It is the generation and power of intent that leads to or prevents actions. An understanding of how intent is created and what causes it to have the right strength, that can lead to action can both enable and prevent certain behaviours.

A result of my continuing study on “ The Role of Intent” has resulted in the BRIA Model. The BRIA Model tries to bring the process of creation of Intent and its correlation with action to life.

My TEDx talk on the subject provides more detail and I will continue to further build on the principle. I will try to share thoughts through this website and also via “The Intentonomics Podcast” which can be accessed from my website and will also be available on major podcasting platforms.


I wanted to, But … | The Role of Intent | Ankur Shiv Bhandari TEDx Talk

In this TEDx talk, Ankur shares his thoughts on a key ingredient for success and happiness, Intent. Ankur talks about how to generate Intent and harness it so that it leads to Action bringing desired results. Ankur brings this to life using a simple model and real-life applications in the world of business, family, law, personal relations, public sector and many others. Break barriers to achievement and contentment through learnings from this talk by generating Intent and converting it into Action.