When Did the Dream Die?


As I may have mentioned before in my postings, my daughter is my hero! Her drive, focus, maturity and love of music are a constant source of inspiration (and amazement) to me.

Last week we spent a couple of days together since mom had to take a business trip to France.  One evening we were having dinner (cooked by yours truly) and having a nice back and forth conversation.

Before long she was talking about her dream of becoming a classical music conductor on Vasily-Petrenko-Proms 2014the world stage. Soon her eyes began to sparkle as she talked about conducting the Mikhailovsky Orchestra in the production of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin in St. Petersburg, Russia. She was suddenly transported to another world and all I could do was listen and smile.

It was a wonderful evening and as I went to bed, I began to ponder on the nature of dreams and their power to propel a person forward and give them the courage to do whatever it takes to fulfil their vision of the future. To be honest, being in the presence of any human being who is captured by their dreams for the future is uplifting, and also humbling.

The my mind began to turn, as it habitually does, to business and my role as an advisor to CEOs and companies during times of change and transition. I often interact with senior executives teams during an Merger or Acquisition, at the beginning of a business turnaround, during times of strategy change and business transformation.

But where are the dreams? They have countless plans, strategies, projects with budgets to match, organisation charts and goals. But rarely do I find the pull and desire that a vivid and passionate dream about the future exerts.

wiltedWhen do we in business lose our dreams of a better future and settle for a strategic plan and objectives? What causes dreams inside a business to wither and die? What could leaders do to build and support a collective dream of a better future?

I often wonder if we in business are missing the power of a collective dream to help power our companies forward.

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.  ~T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)

Want to know if  your company is propelled by a dream of the future? Look in their eyes.

Posted by:

John R. Childress

Senior Executive Advisor on Leadership, Culture and Strategy Execution Issues,
Business Author and Advisor to CEOs
Visiting Professor, IE Business School, Madrid

e: john@johnrchildress.com
Twitter @bizjrchildress

Read John’s blog,  Business Books Website

Just published: LEVERAGE: The CEO’s Guide to Corporate Culture

Read  The Economist review of LEVERAGE
Also on Amazon:   
FASTBREAK: The CEO’s Guide to Strategy Execution

PS: John also writes thriller novels 


About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at john@johnrchildress.com or john.childress@theprincipiagroup.com
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