Strategic Intent

Strategic Intent is the leveraging of a firm’s internal resources capabilities and core competencies to accomplish the firm’s vision, mission and objectives in a competitive environment. It is all about winning competitive battles and gaining leadership position by putting organizational resources to best use. When established effectively a strategic intent can cause people to turn out excellent performance. Strategic intent is said to exist when all employees and levels of a firm are committed to the pursuit of a specific but significant performance target. The intent can take the form of a broad vision or mission statement or a focused route covering specific objectives and goals (Richards). In a way thus, strategic intent tries to establish the parameters that shape the values motives and actions of people throughout their organization.

The Hierarchy of strategic Intent:

We will discuss these parameters as a hierarchy of strategic intent. As illustrated in Figure the hierarchy of strategic intent includes the following elements (Miller).

1) a broad vision of what the organizations should be.
2) The organization’s mission.
3) The strategies objectives and specific goals to be pursued relentlessly
4) The plans that are develop to accomplished the intentions of management in a concrete
5) The plans that are developed to accomplish the intentions of management in a concrete way.

The elements of the above hierarchy specify the pious intentions, Lofty ideals and clear cut ideas that serve to unify the energy and forces scattered throughout an organization. They are beginning points for any formal planning process, but they also provide the sense of direction necessary to assure that incremental behavior culminates in overall progress. Strategic intent is said to have been expressed effectively when people believe fervently in their product and industry and when they are focused totally on their firm’s ability to outperform its competitions.


The world over, backwards and forwards in history, just one thing has fired the imaginations of the people a vision of future that promises to right today’s wrongs, a graphic image of a time when injustice, impoverishment and imprisonment will have disappeared. Moses used the vision of land of milk and honey to motivate his people to set off for the Promised Land. India’s freedom fighters used the vision of a country free of its colonial rulers to wrest independence (Sen). In the corporate context, vision refers to an inspirational picture of a future that can be created offering clarity amidst confusion hope against despair and unity of purpose amidst diversity of personal causes.

Basic elements of a vision statement

Vision is simply a combination of 3 basic elements.
1) An organization’ fundamental reason for existence beyond just making money.
2) Its timeless unchanging core values. The core values define that enduring character of an organization that remains unchanged as it experiences changes in technology , competition management styles etc.
3) Huge and audacious but achievable aspirations for its future ( Big Hairy Audacious Goals or simply BHAGs)


Let’s examine this more closely. Vision vividly is a descriptive image of what a company wants to be or wants to be known for in future. Of course the projected future is not something that can be reached in normal course, it requires a quantum leap.

Reachable achievable:

There is certain amount of controversy on this issue. Some Chief executives (CEOs) feel that vision should be abstract, inspirational and should be reachable. A difficult target will stretch people to the extreme and compel them to scale new heights every year. Others feel that there is no use chasing a pie in the sky. Vision must be clear and within a reasonable distance so that people do not get frustrated after repeated attempts result in failures.