If you have been in a Board Meeting, a strategic planning session, or any other type of team meeting you have probably heard the overused cliché, “Hope is not a strategy." It is debated, but most people credit the great NFL Coach Vince Lombardi for coining this phrase. I am someone who not only has heard this quite a bit, but I have also repeated this throughout management meetings. It usually is thrown out when someone says something like, “We hope to get back on track by next month”, or “We hope that our success continues”. To which someone in the room responds, “Well, hope is not a strategy. What is your plan to make that happen?”
Not to sound like a hypocrite, and far be it from me to disagree with a great strategist like Vince Lombardi, but I’m starting to question my stance on hope as a strategy, especially surrounding the culture of wellness in an organization. It actually began a few weeks ago when I had the opportunity to hear Brett Culp speak to a group at The CEO Council of Tampa Bay. Brett is a documentary filmmaker and his films are centered around what is good in the world. His latest film, “Look To The Sky” explores the power of hope while encouraging viewers to find the superhero that lives within themselves. I would highly recommend Brett’s work, which you can find on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. During his presentation, Brett put on a slide this phrase, “Hope is Magic”. That really didn’t change my mind, I mean who wants a strategy built on magic? But, he went on to explain that hope is the bridge between where we are today and what is possible in the future. By creating that opportunity, hope becomes the magic that allows great things to happen in the future. This began my change in thought process.
Sitting at the table next to me was my good friend, Tim Marks, who is the current CEO of Metropolitan Ministries. If you are not familiar with this organization, this is an independent, faith-based non-profit committed to serving the poor and homeless families in the Tampa Bay area. Their mantra is “Hope is Here”. Not only is hope their strategy, it is also their mission! They are in the business of providing hope, and I have seen first-hand how this has positively impacted their culture as well. It would be difficult to convince Tim that hope is not a strategy.