Real leadership is not done on a hope and a prayer. Yet all too often I hear, “I’ll figure it out as I go along and hope for the best.” Or, in the church world, “We will just pray hard and hope for a miracle.”
I will not, I repeat, I will not turn this into a theological debate. In fact, one is not necessary since most of us will agree that God is big enough to bail us out of any problem that we get ourselves into.
But, is it leadership when we count a miraculous intervention?
Many us flirt with a dangerous mixture of optimism and carelessness. Words like, “I’ll figure something out” have come out of my mouth on many occasions. This is not a strategy. It is not a responsible leadership approach. In fact, often it only serves to “kick the can down the road” and say that we will deal with it later.
Hope is not a strategy!
Many times I am left to wonder what someone is thinking when I see that person in a bad situation that is getting worse, yet they seem to have no clue. They often have no strategic plan, no initiative, and no sense of urgency.
I’m not against hope. And I am certainly not against prayer. In fact, if you lose hope then you’ve potentially lost everything. The word “hope” is used more than 130 times in the Bible. And of all the gifts that God gives us, hope may be the best. God offers us hope for this life and for another one through Jesus Christ.
But in the context of leadership, hope should not be our “go to” operative mode. Hope alone is not enough. God gives us intellectual strength, physical strength, and a degree of mental or emotional strength. And I believe He expects us to exercise those abilities and make them even stronger.
As leaders, sometimes have to be introspective and ask ourselves tough questions. So here are a couple of tough questions.
- What do you hope for but refuse to face up to?
- Do you hold on to a hope for a better result than you see up ahead?
Strategic thinking and strategic planning puts “arms and legs” on your “hope. “
If you hope for something to happen, then come up with a series of actionable steps that will move you toward what you hope for. The initial steps can be small. They can be spread out over time. But planning and then taking steps that lead toward what you hope for can make a huge difference. In fact a strategy can build even more hope as you begin to see what has eluded you come closer to reality.
These strategic steps require dates and deadlines to keep us on track. These steps may even cause a little stress. Embarking on a strategy to change may hurt, but continuing to flounder around is worse. The harsh reality is that you can’t “hope” your way out of what you’ve bumbled your way into.
As we approach a new year, stop hiding behind “We will just pray hard and hope for a miracle.” We would love to work with you to create some simple strategies to turn your hopes and prayers into a reality in this coming year.
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