Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hope - We All Need Some

In today’s world there is elephant-sized pressure on cutting costs and being competitive.  Whether or not you believe that the economy is truly recovering or just wandering through the economist-believed “W-Curve”, it’s there.  Many are choosing to reorganize.  I have seen good re-org’s and bad ones.  The good ones have clear vision and direction, strong leadership, timely and concise communication, and well thought-out milestones.  The less successful ones lack all of the above.  The secret ingredient that the less successful re-orgs and any other major organizational changes miss is HOPE.  It may not be a strategy but it sure is the fuel needed to accomplish it.  Unfortunately, change can rob people of HOPE, especially if the leader failed to get adequate buy in.  Without HOPE people turn into depressed, angry, frustrated workers.  No one wants this, yet most people head down that road in the absence of HOPE.

When I think of HOPE I picture my wife’s former hair stylist whose name was HOPE.  Would you go to a hairstylist named HOPE?  My wickedly sarcastic brain couldn’t because I'd end up saying something, and I’d be afraid what my dome would look like when finished.  It’s like starting a parachute company named MAYBE.  Or how about seeing an ER doctor named Optimism?  “Don’t worry Mrs. Smith, Dr. Optimism will be in to see you in a few minutes.”  No way.

So what is HOPE?  It is the wish for something better than the current reality that generates energy to get through today.  Without HOPE you are left with the immediate and in many cases that is like suffering through an eternity of Monday’s – nothing to look forward to and no indication positive change is on its way.  Have fun grinding through each day because the land of burnout is on its way.

How do you embrace and establish HOPE?  The first step is accepting that not everyone has the ability to give HOPE.  Line workers can try hard and focus on their own attitude and generate a little bit of HOPE, which equates to addition – one by one.  Ultimately it begins with the leader.  I’ve seen leaders pull HOPE out of thin air and inflate people to the point of bursting.  When leaders cast vision, connect with people and communicate timely they build HOPE and re-establish trust.  The leader has the ability to generate HOPE, which equates to multiplication – many are affected at one time. Have you ever seen a clip from a movie where the leader rallies the troops?  Braveheart, Gladiator, 300, Hoosiers, the list goes on and on.  What are those leaders doing?  They’re building massive quantities of HOPE.

No one chooses to feel HOPEless.  If you are a leader reading this BLOG, I challenge you to find ways to establish and drive HOPE.  Every team needs it, but only you can give it.  I HOPE this helps!