By Phil Elworth
HOPE: I once had a business owner say to me as we were working through some tough changes in his business, “I guess hope is not a strategy”. I agreed with him that hope is not a strategy, but then, what is hope? Dictionary.com defines hope as something “to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence”. Hope in this context, or your desired outcome, needs to be based upon your past experience. To contrast hope from hopelessness I will use an extreme example, that of a new born baby. A new born has no experience to draw upon. When it has a need it just cries and makes its case known with no understanding of what it needs or how the need will be fulfilled. In a very real sense the baby is hopeless; it has no expectation that its needs will be fulfilled. Over time the baby learns that it has parents who will love and provide for its needs and thus its cry will change to one of expectation and hope. Hope that its needs will be fulfilled.
What experience do you as an owner have to draw upon to provide the hope you need? Do you have expectation that the outcome you desire can be achieved? Or are you like the baby crying out in hopelessness not knowing what to expect. Since hope is based upon experience, if you don’t have the experience, then you need to obtain it, and it won’t happen by chance.
Dr. Henry Cloud an author, speaker and psychologist, recently gave a talk on this topic where he laid out a number steps you need to take in order to have hope be successful and achieve your desired outcome. There is no one way to accomplish this and change can be difficult but everyone can have hope. The steps are:
- Involvement in a proven change process; you must try something with a track record
- Additional structure; getting regular help from the outside can fortify your effort
- New wisdom; seek new ideas and new council
- New experience and skill; change often requires you to acquire new skills in order to implement
- Self-sustaining motivation; you have to want the change
- Support and energy; your personal support team is critical to success in this effort
- Some movement or improvement; metrics, you need to track the change to determine effectiveness
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. If you have run your business the same way for many years but now find that it is not working anymore, then it may be time for a change. My client with the hope question above has taken the advice he received, made the changes necessary to run a successful, albeit different, organization than he had before. Where are you? Do you have hope based upon experience or is your hope your strategy.
As a partner with B2B CFO® I am well positioned to help with this change process. If you would like a free consultation I can be reached at email@example.com.