Proven throughout history
Leading through Intent is not a new idea. It has emerged in various organizations at various times when the environment in which they operated was fast-moving, uncertain and volatile, and the information processing capacity and communication systems they had available were unable to keep pace, rendering tight control self-defeating or obsolete.
We can all recognize that environment as the one we work in today. If you disagree, what we have to offer is not for you.
Organizations that developed some form of Leading Through Intent include the Roman Army, the C18th Royal Navy, the C19th Prussian Army and many contemporary western armies. Its principles and practices can also be adopted by modern businesses. For more than ten years we have been doing just that.
The common idea behind these historical examples, which have been described as auftragstaktik (mission command, mission-type tactics or intent-based leadership) is that organizations able to operate effectively in chaotic and uncertain environments give clear direction (focused on the outcome rather than the means of achieving it) and enable leaders at all levels to use their disciplined initiative within clearly defined boundaries.
In essence, leading through intent involves creating alignment around an intent, which is a clear expression of what to achieve and why, and granting as much autonomy as possible to teams and individuals to decide how.