How often, from the time we took our first steps, have we been told that “keeping our feet on the ground” equates with doing the right thing? How many times, during our career have we been told sharply to “stop dreaming and get back to work”? How often has our curiosity taken a back seat for fear of being labelled gullible and unprofessional?
These days, it seems there is no place for heterodoxy; we must follow guidelines drawn by faceless bureaucrats ─ the same ones who brought in policies which are scorned today. We are expected to put our nose to the grindstone and focus on the short-term only. There is no place for utopias, or for divergence. As a result, there is little room to follow our own individual path. Indeed, what happened in Iceland must seem unreal, since they emerged from the crisis stronger than ever despite doing the just opposite of what they were “supposed” to do.
The "error" of the old ways can be applied to the business world. If we are constantly appealing to the entrepreneurial spirit, to internationalisation and to innovation, it is because we are aware that curiosity, experimentation, and changing the established order transform into mechanisms of progress for our organisations and society. Other mechanisms, of course, include breaking with accepted practice; risk-taking; incorporating divergent ideas, as well as open and sincere dialogue in search of new solutions all contribute to furthering development.
We ought to introduce into our world what C.K. Prahalad denominated “the Strategic Dream” to provide our organizations with a sense of the future. Only by generating a cause, a movement, can we mobilise the intelligence, curiosity, creativity and commitment of the people in the company. The competitive force of an organisation requires a powerful motivator: a collective dream that gives direction to our effort, our resources, our will, and above all, the emotions of the Community.
This collective dream will enable us to generate new dynamics in our organisations: prospection and intellectual curiosity need to be ever-present in our lives. Additionally, strategic dialogue needs to be ongoing, and we must provide people and groups with the capacity to experiment, thus encouraging sincerity and generosity, all intrinsic values to relationships.
I sincerely hope that these dynamics come to flourish in our organizations. In any case, I risk little with this invitation: dreaming is free.