What are ideals?
We often confuse ideals with dogmas, fixed theories, archaic value systems, and the stench of ‘normative authority’ that prevents individuals from thinking independently and freely.
But ideals, in this context, means providing individuals with “compasses” that enable them to make positive choices that lead to actions consistent with their inner sense of integrity and with the need to respond to an ever changing world.
Many organizations and institutions – both in business and society,
- have gradually forgotten these inner compasses in their search for visible (perhaps quarterly) results,
- have drained words like vision, mission, and values of their lived meaning, thereby making them sterile abstractions that are ignored when real-world choices are made,
- have ended up weakening their cultures and their ‘collective sense of being and becoming’ as these compasses have lost relevance.
How do these “compasses” take up their rightful place in guiding collective action and leadership choices?
Primarily by giving them life in the form of contemporary ideals that address the demands of both integrity and effective action.
These ideals, when recognized and assimilated, by organizational and institutional collectives, invoke or awaken the deeper strengths & sense of solidarity that binds the members of the collective together.
They also revivify the shared sense of “collective purpose” that allows individuals to multiply and leverage their individual and collective “potential to contribute”.