November 5, 2009
The other day as I flew from Charlotte to Kansas City for a meeting with YRC, my iTunes DJ spun up the hit song, Airplanes by B.o.B.
The opening line (and chorus) from the song struck me in a way it hadn’t before.
“Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars? I could really use a wish right now.”
I thought first of my dad, then about a wider point on leading.
It made me think of my dad who, upon hearing my mom or one of his four sons wish for something, was fond of saying, “Spit in one hand and wish in the other and see which one fills up first.” (Except he didn’t say spit) What he was trying to say in his dry-witted way was that activity, not hope produces results.
Some are fond of saying that, “hope is not a strategy.”
To me, both my father’s saying and the conventional wisdom of the Ken Doll leader set and their tired little “hope is not a strategy” cliché are both too limited in their thinking. They ignore the value in hope. They fail to recognize the value that hope plays in forming vision and that vision plays in shaping the future.
And that’s the point for the week.
For our company, our homes, our communities and our world to become all that we want them to be requires that we first envision or hope for something better for them. It is an absolute certainty that doing the same thing tomorrow as we are doing today, even if we choose to do it twice as hard, will deliver nothing more that exactly what we have today, possibly just a tad more of it.
But hope helps create the vision for where we want to be – the point in the distance we want to achieve. Inherent in hope is the critical belief that things can be different and better. When we exert hope upon the world it moves. We overcome the inertia of our present path and shape a new one; a road to our own promised land, the destination we envision.
And when effort is added to that vision, our world can actually become all that we hope it can be. But effort without vision is not unlike banging one’s head off a wall. Just as wishing without effort is like, well you know. But hope comes first.
So, hope in all things.
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