When I was living in the United States, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to observe a political process that resulted in the election of Barack Obama as US’ President. I’m not a supporter of Barack Obama in any ways, because I’m not a US citizen. Nevertheless, I witnessed the passion and enthusiasm among my American friends and colleagues.
I don’t think it was true that people see Obama either in such a messiah or celebrity personalities. I believe it was more about his personification of hope, and he gave a hope that represent new kind of leadership for a new nationhood.
In Indonesia, recent controversies around Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi/Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) were also illuminating a relevant story. In the midst of people’s skepticism on the capability of the law enforcement and judicial system, the existence of KPK becoming enormously pertinent to the credibility of law.
Thus, when accusations toward several KPK’s chairs were publicly perceived as accusations without strong legal justifications, it was more than legal issues. It became an elusive concern of law and democracy. Why? It is about hope. For most people, KPK is the beacon of light in the darkness of Indonesian legal system. KPK is the representation of hope for the future of Indonesian governance and justice.
In many organizations and businesses, the discussion about strategic planning is essential. From national conferences about economic architecture to informal discussions among several start-ups business owners, the topic of strategic direction toward the future perpetuates. The increasingly popular paradigm and techniques of appreciative inquiry implies the same ideas: focus on what is possible, rather than what you think is impossible.
This is not only about moving forward to the future (we actually have no other options anyway besides that), but more about what we hope our business can do in this increasingly uncertain times. Organizations and businesses see that sophisticated technologies and business administration systems are no longer sufficient. They need something more beyond numbers and instruments. They are seeking for ideas; ideas for energizing people in moving forward.
Barack Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope, started his path to the presidency. With his personal appeal as ‘the leader of the new era’, he activated the belief of American people that there is a hope to renew their nation. Indonesian’s KPK, a temporary subsystem in the Indonesian legal system, gives people a way to counter the nation’s biggest incredulity: “Can there be an incorrupt Indonesia?”
I think of the same about organizations and businesses. No matter what working systems, procedures, and other instruments we have; it is hope who can really energize people. It is not only about how advanced our business plan; it is also about how we can create the affinity of hope from it. There are various possibility of designing and organization and businesses. There are various people with various perspectives to gain supports and patronage from (employees, customers, investors, partners, etc.).
Compare to a nation and society, organizations and businesses are different social complexities. Still, they have one thing in common: “Is there a hope for a bright future in this enterprise?” Even though hope itself is not yet a reality, it is a quintessential precedent for it. Thus, it makes hope a strategic business element.