Hope Is Not A Strategy

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.” –Max DePree, Chairman Emeritus, Herman Miller, Inc.  According to John Maxwell, “Hope is not a strategy… realistic thinking leads to excellence in leadership and management because it requires people to face reality… leaders who think realistically and plan accordingly position their organizations to win.”

In previous Tips for Success, we have addressed major concepts within John Maxwell’s book, How Successful People Think, including “Cultivate Big – Picture Thinking”, “Engage in Focused Thinking”, and “Harness Creative Thinking.

In chapter four of How Successful People Think, John Maxwell provides excellent food for thought and action by basically proving that highly successful people “Employ Realistic Thinking.”  Maxwell discusses “Why You Should Recognize The Importance Of Realistic Thinking,” including addressing each of the following points:

  1. Realistic Thinking Minimizes Downside Risk
  2. Realistic Thinking Gives You a Target and Game Plan
  3. Realistic Thinking Is a Catalyst for Change
  4. Realistic Thinking Provides Security
  5. Realistic Thinking Gives You Credibility
  6. Realistic Thinking Provides a Foundation to Build On
  7. Realistic Thinking Is a Friend to Those in Trouble
  8. Realistic Thinking Brings the Dream to Fruition

Maxwell states, “Because I’m naturally optimistic rather than realistic, I’ve had to take concrete steps to improve my thinking in this area.  Here are five things I do to improve my realistic thinking:”

  1. Develop an appreciation for truth
  2. Do your homework
  3. Think through the pros and cons
  4. Picture the worst-case scenario
  5. Align your thinking with your resources

A few thought provoking quotations from Chapter 4 include:

  • Until thought is linked with purpose there is no intelligent accomplishment. –James Allen
  • Change alone doesn’t bring growth but you cannot have growth without change.
  • The bottom line on realistic thinking is that it helps you to make an idea usable by taking away the “wish” factor.
  • Most ideas and efforts don’t accomplish their intended results because they rely too much on what we wish rather than what is.
  • You can’t build a house in midair; it needs a solid foundation.  Ideas and plans are the same.  They need something concrete on which to build.  Realistic thinking provides this solid foundation.

Excellent concepts worthy of significant study, focus and improvement for those who don’t just “hope and wish” for more success… but for those willing to do what is necessary to make more success a reality in their lives!

Spend some time in chapter four and “Employ Realistic Thinking.”  You can’t help but be helped!

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I am a leader, speaker, and author who is passionate about Leadership Excellence and Achieiving Greater Success. I am the author of the books Be An Inspirational Leader(2016) and Presidential Leadership (2013), and deliver keynote presentations on those topics and several others.

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