Dreaming Beyond Limits: Inspiring Transformation and Collective Action

By Myriam Levert

Explore how getting your people to dream can inspire powerful transformations and collective action. This article dives into the importance of understanding and aligning individual aspirations and what people truly value to your “why” and strategic ambitions. It demonstrates the power of looking beyond immediate benefits and constraints to accelerate change and initiate a collective movement.

Finding a “why” that fits people’s aspiration is fundamental in a transformation journey

As we embark on a transformation journey, the initial step is to identify the fundamental “why.” However, a key element that is often overlooked is to articulate how this “why” aligns with what people hold dear, their aspirations for themselves and their loved ones.

Gaining an understanding of what people truly value and consider important is paramount. Each person has a unique perspective and a set of deep-rooted beliefs. Not everyone will immediately perceive how a transformation or project aligns with their own attainable dream.

Without comprehending the true desires of employees, your vision may be misinterpreted and potentially even cause apprehension or demotivation. Therefore, it is crucial to invest time in understanding what people truly value and listening to the underlying issues that fuel their personal concerns. This process helps clarify the connections and demonstrates the pathway to achieving that ultimate goal.

The value in understanding people’s dream

In today’s world, filled with negative news and misinformation, people are more skeptical and detached than ever before. How often do we hear statements like “we’ve tried it all before” or “there’s no point in attempting to change this; it will never happen”? This mentality becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, rooted in the principles of game theory. As long as individuals lack belief in the feasibility of the vision, they will wait for others to take the first step, resulting in a standstill.

However, if the vision is connected to something that people genuinely want and need, something personal that appears attainable, movement can be observed. This is the dream. It extends beyond immediate self-interest and the typical “what’s in it for me”, as it involves the realization that our individual aspirations can be achieved through this collective experience.

When we dream, we envision something larger than ourselves, setting aside our constraints and imagining a better future. This spark of inspiration is often needed to break through skepticism and drive people into action.

Dare to dream to accelerate action

Many leaders become apprehensive when it comes to dreams. They often express concerns such as “What if it doesn’t come true?”, “I don’t have full control over these results” or “This is not within our current budget, and the required capital is too high.” However, a dream encompasses more than just our individual selves and financial investments. It involves taking action now, utilizing our limited resources, and aspiring to greater things for a future that is not yet within reach.

Similarly, as noted in a HBR article a few years ago, « when the dreams are exciting and the odds are believable, employees will dramatically increase their investments in making them come true. Conversely, when the dreams are mundane and lack credibility, employees disconnect and pull back on their investment. »

Concrete, realistic, and pragmatic goals undoubtedly have their time and place, but by starting with a shared dream, we tap into the collective power of a community united by a common purpose. Boundaries and limitations are transcended, and a sense of collective responsibility emerges.

Every great transformation journey begins with a shared dream

In conclusion, the power of shared dreams cannot be underestimated in business transformations. As we strive to bring about meaningful change, it is not enough to simply identify the “why” behind our endeavors. We must also take the time to understand and connect with what individuals truly value and aspire to in their lives.

By aligning our transformation vision with people’s deepest desires and concerns, and not solely superficial benefits, we pave the way for inspiration to take root, breaking through skepticism and motivating individuals to take action. Daring to articulate that shared dream sets the stage for a collective effort that can transcend limitations and propel us toward a brighter future.


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By Myriam Levert

Partner at Brio | Management Boutique and expert in cultural evolution, change management and performance improvement.



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