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Its Unintended Impact
Stuart Atkins, Ph.D.
In designing the LIFO Survey with Elias Porter in 1967,
my intentions were to create a survey that would
encourage peoples’ introspective process, helping
them organize their thinking about themselves and
their relationships with people who were the same
or diferent. These similarities or diferences centered
on people’s Orientations to life with their values, goals,
and strengths.
People are like spinning and dazzling kaleidoscopes of
colors and shapes. It is difcult to describe what one
sees while it is spinning. Stop the spinning and there
is a beautiful stationary pattern. That is exactly what
the LIFO Survey was designed to do—hold stationary
people’s Orientations to life with their values, goals,
strengths which collectively I called Styles. The inten-
tion was to describe these “kaleidoscopic” patterns
with a common, stationary framework and language
for all to comfortably observe and to discuss without
judgment or embarrassment.
Intention-Behavior-Impact (IBI)
A funny thing happened early in the history of the LIFO
survey that has led to a very useful method for focus-
ing on personal development. Built into the structure
of the LIFO Survey are questions worded to explore
intention, behavior, and impact. This was originally
intended to add variety to the 18 situational ques-
tions, each with four choices to be ranked 4, 3, 2, 1,
totaling 72 choices and to prevent repetition fatigue.
Thus, embedded in the tabulation page of the original
version of the LIFO Survey were the abbreviations,
“int, beh, and imp.” Several trainers asked about the
symbols. To my surprise, when I explained the basic
concept, they wanted to utilize this idea of aligning
one’s intention to act a specifc way, with the actual
behavior expressing the intention, and determine if
the impact of the behavior experienced by others was
consistent with the intention and behavior.
Trainers and consultants use intention-behavior-
impact as a compelling and involving way to address
the personal development concepts of alignment,
authenticity, and congruence. With clients, the
intention-behavior-impact concept is powerful and
one that people can easily understand through their
common experiences of having been misunderstood.
Being better understood and understanding their
impact on others generates strong motivation for
intensive analysis and further exploration.
And consistent with the six LIFO learning strategies,
the intention-behavior-impact analysis is an in depth,
diagnostic way to implement the frst strategy of the
LIFO Method, Confrmation. Then, once people are con-
frmed, they can begin to practice the developmental
phase of the LIFO Method, the strategies that more
directly deal with behavior change, like Extending,
Moderating, and Bridging, which lead to real movement
and improvement of individuals and teams.
Dr. Allan Katcher, who expanded the use of the LIFO
Survey and the LIFO Method to 33 countries, pioneered
Dr. Stuart Atkins is the originator
of LIFO Training and author of
The Name of Your Game and
Life in the Stress Lane. He has
taught at UCLA, USC, Caltech,
AMA, and the NTL Institute for
Applied Behavioral Science.
©2011 The Schutz Company. All rights reserved. LIFO is a registered trademark of Business Consultants, Inc.
303 South Broadway Suite 107 Tarrytown NY 10591
LIFO® Intention-Behavior-Impact
the application of the intention-behavior-impact analy-
sis. He was able to do this because of his impressive
analytical skills and the willingness of international
organizations to devote considerable time to LIFO
analysis. He also developed a computer generated
LIFO Report that included the analysis of the intention-
behavior-impact results embedded in the LIFO Survey.
This proved to be an excellent coaching tool with the
LIFO Report providing in depth exploration, clarifca-
tion, and reinforcement.
However, Dr. Katcher’s results have not always been eas-
ily or consistently reproduced. Respondents of the LIFO
Survey are not expected to know the true reality of their
impact. As it is measured in the LIFO Survey, Impact is:
how you believe you come across to others. The survey
assumes that respondents will project their style prefer-
ence in their response choices, adding to their overall
profle. In other words, respondents’ beliefs about their
own impact may refect their own preferences more
than the actual impact they have on others.
This is the reason for the LIFO Survey AP (Another
Person). The LIFO Survey AP measures another person’s
LIFO perceptions of us, providing organized data to
compare with our original LIFO Survey results. It takes
into account the variability in people’s ability to judge
their own impact on others, and the variability in will-
ingness to be open in giving or receiving feedback on
the part of others. In fact, this is one of the reasons for
creating the LIFO Survey and the LIFO Method in the
frst place. They provide a safe, common language and
focus, and facilitate feedback and self-discovery when
used with the LIFO Method’s positive learning strate-
gies and the accompanying workbooks.
Recommendations: Ways to get the most from
Intention-Behavior-Impact analysis should include
feedback from others. This can be done using two
basic methods:
1. The LIFO Survey AP (Another Person) with the
LIFO Survey Results or Online LIFO Survey Report.
An analysis can be made of the areas of agreement
and the areas of diference between our own LIFO
survey results and those of others. Discussion can
then follow about the reasons for the difering
views, areas to be improved can be changed and
action plans set.
2. The Strength Feedback Chart with the LIFO
Survey Results or Online LIFO Survey Report. This
strength feedback tool helps people tell us what
behaviors they want more of or less of, from us,
thus helping us to Extend ourselves by trying new
behaviors we are seen as doing too little of; and,
learning to Moderate our excessive behavior by
doing less of it. This quantitative way of disclos-
ing someone’s impact eliminates qualitative judg-
ments, defensiveness, and facilitates openness and
acceptance of the feedback. As before, an analysis
and discussion can result from this process that cre-
ates positive change and clarifes where improve-
ment eforts should be made.
Intention-Behavior-Impact adds to peoples’ under-
standing of themselves and drives them to explore
and address issues that may not be apparent on the
surface, but that can make a signifcant diference
in their functioning and success. To accomplish this,
it is ideal to use the LIFO Survey, Online LIFO Survey
Report, the LIFO Survey AP, and the Strength Feedback
Chart all together. In any case, the essential part of the
Intention-Behavior-Impact analysis is feedback. What
one believes about one’s impact compared with what
impact others actually experience can lead to remark-
able insight and target one’s plan for self improvement
and greater efectiveness.
Note from the author
To follow my own LIFO principles, I am not going to guess
at this article’s impact. I hope my writing behavior has
been consistent with my intention and I welcome ques-
tions and comments so that I may learn more about my
impact and support our mutual development.

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