Whether you are brand new to training or can't remember when you started this article is a great reminder of the importance of being conscious of everything happening when lifting. Hopefully we've all experienced what a difference specific cues make in helping us miraculously become instantly "stronger".
Of course it's not that we suddenly became stronger but that we became more aware of proper technique, and specifically what actions our body should perform to efficiently execute the lift. One reason I say leave your ego at the door and use whatever weight is necessary to develop great technique. Once you do you'll quickly leave those that are too proud to learn the fundamentals in the dust.
Why is intent important? First, if you don’t know what you intend to do, then you’ll be going through the motions without any awareness of the necessary mechanics in terms of the appropriate application of energy. You won’t develop a feeling on when you should be powerful or quick , when you should employ tension or relaxation.
If your intent in the beginning is to be smooth and relaxed, then you may not really ever get a feeling for the mechanical requirements for a good lift. Elites look smooth and relaxed, but I don’t believe that they are thinking I want to be smooth and relaxed while they lift. I believe they look this way because they are so good at the movements that they waste no energy performing them. They are quicker than most of us realize. They have laser precision with all the movements.
I encourage you to read Cate's entire post. Though she goes into more detail about how this works in the context of kettlebell lifting the underlying principles apply to just about anything.