Collective Aspiration

What is collective aspiration and why is it such a fundamental driver in change?

1.0One of the most talked about and least understood dimensions of business and institutional thinking is the dimension of “collective aspiration”.

2.0The current language of business for example, is limited to terms such as strategy, mission, vision, values, etc. While these terms are valuable, at their core lies a widespread recognition that words and reality mean two totally different things in the corporate world.

3.0This ‘gap’ between words and action is attributed to the impracticality of these ideas (or concepts) or is attributed to the lack of sincerity on the part of those implementing these ideas in following through.

4.0Is it not possible that this gap between words and action is born not due to poor quality of thought nor is it born due to lack of sincerity, but is born of a misreading of a critical driver of human action – which is aspiration?

5.0Aspiration represents the joy-seeking, affirming, dimensions of an individual. It demonstrates human hope, man’s desire for growth and change, and man’s engine for self transformation.

6.0Aspiration is therefore an individual’s best friend – providing him/ her with a tomorrow, generating possibilities, defining new energy-sources for himself/ herself, and creating the ineffable “positive buzz” that is infectious and inclusive.

7.0Collective aspiration is the collective manifestation of individual aspirations. It is very difficult to say whether individuals together created the aspiration or whether the aspiration self-selected the individuals who are working together.

8.0Whatever or wherever be the origin, collective aspiration is a real entity – it determines the capacity to bridge the gap between ideas and action – not just in terms of distance between the two – but, more important, the choices of ideas and actions that will be bridged.

9.0In other words, collective aspiration represents the “reality” of fulfillment for a collective. There is ‘real pain’ only if aspirations – and ideas embodying those aspirations are not met in terms of action and results. The rest is simply irrelevant at a fundamental level.


(Originally written in March 2005)