How Far Can You See?
“Hope is not a course of action”…true statement. I have a lot of personal experience working with professionals who will remind you of that truth if your solution to a problem involves hoping something will happen. The implication is that you are not using everything at your disposal to craft a real solution, and trusting a favorable outcome to an outside force.
“Hope is the only thing stronger than fear”…another true statement attributable to President Snow, the villain in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. Hope is an emotion that allows a person to develop faith, which I’ll define as the bridge that allows the human mind to bridge what can be seen to what could be seen and provides some rational basis of belief that a certain outcome is possible.
Here’s the real truth about hope…while hope is not a course of action, it is the cause for action. Here’s another real truth for you…hope doesn’t just magically appear, it must be built. If you’re in a situation where your organization seems to have lost its moral rudder and you need a cause for action that will motivate people to develop real courses of action, the following model can help guide your efforts…it just has to be CLEAR.
- Communicate a vision. How well you communicate a vision of an alternative future is the tipping point of instilling hope. A good vision has certain “able” characteristics…acceptable, sustainable, understandable, believable.
- Leadership. The leader is the first point of belief in building hope. John Maxwell famously reminded us that “people buy into a leader before they buy into an idea.” Don’t worry about your perceived level of leadership…if you are strongly convicted and willing, that’s often times good enough.
- Energy. Just as machinery needs a source of energy to run, so do people. The energy a leader brings to the table is incredibly important. Through a leader’s energy, followers are able to discover their own in due time.
- Action. A well-articulated vision from an energetic leader will go nowhere without action. To make hope spread and grow, there must be a way for people to act on their hope. Through actions, people become owners of their circumstances and the compounding effect of believers that are doers makes a vision come to life.
- Reality. Accurate data is crucial to setting a sense of hope marrow deep in people. Lies and half-truths will kill hope and have a negative effect far worse than if there had never been hope at all.
Don’t underestimate the power and necessity of hope in building a cause of action that will lead to acting upon courses of action. The English philosopher John Stuart Mill recognized the power of hope when he said “one person with belief is stronger than a force of 99 with only interests.” Your challenge is to find that situation where an organization or an individual is simply floating adrift, and use the CLEAR model to build hope that will lead to action and a positive outcome. It’s what a Critical Doer would…do!
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