The Elements of Collective Ambition

Some companies come through hard times stronger than ever. How do they do it? They do not focus only on one goal (for example: profits or engagement). Instead, they form a shared sense of purpose. As referenced in last week’s article, a recent three year study of companies that have defied conventional logic was recently reported in Harvard Business Review. This study provided results on a model called Collective Ambition.

According to the study, there are seven elements that must be carefully integrated in order to achieve Collective Ambition:

  1. Purpose: the company’s reason for being; the core mission.
  2. Vision: the position or status the company hopes to achieve within a specified time frame.
  3. Targets & Milestones: the metrics used to assess progress toward the vision.
  4. Strategic & Operational Priorities: the actions taken (or not taken) in pursuit of the vision.
  5. Brand Promise: the commitments made to stakeholders (customers, investors, employees, partners, etc.) concerning the experience the company will provide.
  6. Core Values: the guiding principles that dictate what the organization stands for, in good times and bad.
  7. Leader Behaviors: how leaders act on a daily basis as they seek to implement the company’s vision & strategic priorities, strive to fulfill the brand promise, and live up to the values.

There is no easy path to excellence. It must be a steady drumbeat that is continually and constantly practiced. The actions must be initiated and reinforced on a daily basis by leadership in an effort to see the future as one boundless possibility. But it is not complicated. It is possible to pull together and build a future and allow the team to unleash your company’s collective ambition.

 *(Source: Ready, Douglas A., and Emily Truelove. "The Power of Collective Ambition." Harvard Business Review Dec. 2011: 94-102.