Hope is not a strategy, but strategy is a manifestation of hope.
“Hope is not a strategy. Luck is not a factor. Fear is not an option.” — James Cameron
These aren’t absolute statements. It’s not to say there’s no reason for hope, that luck isn’t important, and you can’t be afraid — but they are truths. I’ll give you some examples.
Hope is not a strategy.
I’ve been reminded of this recently as I’ve watched an organization relying on hope to pull through a crisis, rather than going back to what made the company successful: strategy. The company had clear winning moves it defined, tracked goals and progress yet hit a clash of personality and culture. Combined with a self-inflicted financial crisis it retrenched out of its strategic mindset. Hoping for a white knight to ride in and save the day is never a strategy.
Luck is not a factor.
We make our own luck in life and business. It’s not a factor for success but certainly there’s an element of luck in success. The titanium metal process business I work with was sitting at the bottom of the valley of technology death. We were out of funding, hope was dwindling (but we had a strategy) and we were certainly afraid we wouldn’t make it through this latest challenge. Then the Prime Minister of Japan announced that all manufacturing must be carbon neutral by 2050. Some would call this luck, as suddenly the partnership we had been cultivating with a large-scale titanium producer in Japan went from a potential last hurrah to essentially saving the business, as we had the game changing process to meet the new regulatory requirements. We made our own luck.
Fear is not an option.
How many times have we known someone that is super talented but stuck in a job they hate, because they have a mortgage, car payments, kids in college and a laundry list of expenses? They’ve always had a passion for design, and the skillsets and talents to do it. The fear of losing the salary and failing keeps that person in that job they hate. As Kevin O’Leary says, “[a] salary is the drug they give you when they want you to give up on your dreams.” For many years before I left my job in corporate America to be an entrepreneur, I was afraid of losing everything I had worked so hard to build. I finally decided that fear wasn’t an option — only success.
Define the goals and a path to get there but don’t be afraid to change paths along the way to create a little luck.
Hope isn’t the strategy, but strategy is a manifestation of hope.