Hope is not a strategy

Hope is much too fundamental to be just a strategy. 

Strategies come and go, depending on market forces, technology, the economy and many more variables. But hope endures. Without hope, what’s the point?

Leadership springs from hope. As a leader, you must comb through the data about market consolidation and hope that your company will emerge from the consolidation as an industry leader. You must see the struggling employee and have hope for the employee’s ability to grow and develop. You must see the glimmer of promise in an innovation, and have enough hope that it will come to fruition that you will fund the development. This list could go on and on.

Is hope alone enough? Of course not.

If any single ingredient could ensure leadership success, it would be easy. As leaders, we wrestle daily with paradox. Hope and healthy skepticism. Forgiveness and accountability. Compassion and consistent standards. If we are mindful about our leadership, these paradoxes (and others) pass through our awareness many times a day.

If we are not, we may find your actions dominated by one aspect of the paradox. Hope unfounded on reality is foolish and can lead straight to bankruptcy. Skepticism without hope creates frustration and despair, for you and those around you.

Whatever the endeavor, somehow hope must live in it. For without some sense of hope that together we can make things better in some way, why go on?

It starts with hope.

Something I would also say of my consulting work. For better or worse, my eye focuses on what is strong about the organization and how it might live up to its potential. Yes, I can see the flaws and weaknesses. But my focus is on what the client hopes for and believes in.

I can deliver the hard messages and have been told I’m very much a “straight shooter” when it comes to that. If there is something that needs to be said, and others are dancing around it, I’m willing to lay it on the table. I’m bluntly honest in those moments. But that honesty comes with a large dose of hope and compassion.

If want your board or executive team to live up to its potential, call me. Together we can make hope more than just a strategy.