A Strategic Intent statement is meant to not only be inspirational like a good vision or mission statement can be, but it also has a specific measurable goal. For example President Kennedy said, “the United States is going to land a man on the moon and bring him back safely by the end of this decade.” The US didn’t even have a space program when he said that, so it was a very bold goal, with a specific measurable time frame that inspired a nation and NASA.
The goal of a Strategic Intent statement is to inspire customers and employees that the company’s passion is being the “best or extraordinary” (in what ever defined aspect), and is inviting every one to not just to come along for the ride, but rise-up to participate as well. It should be short and to the point, inspirational and specific – a phrase that people can easily remember.
The Ford company’s example slogan of “quality is job one” is a good advertising slogan or general vision statement, but imagine if back in the 80’s they had written this Strategic Intent statement instead: “Ford will be the number one rated quality car with the best service in America by 1999.” If Ford had communicated that Strategic Intent statement, the public, the media, everyone would have stopped and taken notice to watch and see if they could do it or not. People might even have rooted for an American car company as the underdog to see if they could climb to the top. The employees would have a very specific goal in all aspects of what they each did to be number one, and know they would have the bragging rights once they got to be number one. Management would be inspired to rally their teams and everyone would be pushing in the same competitive direction, to be the best. Customers would know that Ford is focused on producing the highest quality car in America, they would probably perceive that it was a quality product before they ever got to the top.
Remember, your company’s Strategic Intent statement not only needs to inspire customers and employees, but have a measurable and ambitious goal.