IS HOPE A STRATEGY?

Is hope a strategy? In 2001 Rick Page published a book called ‘Hope is not a Strategy’. On September 3, 2008, at the Republican National convention, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani used the phrase in his convention speech, saying: “Because ‘change’ is not a destination, just as ‘hope’ is not a strategy.” In 2012 the Harvard Business Review published an article called ‘Hope is a Strategy (Well, sort of)’ by Deborah Mills-Scofield.

JAMES CAMERON SAID, “HOPE IS NOT A STRATEGY. LUCK IS NOT A FACTOR. FEAR IS NOT AN OPTION.”

MUCH HAS BEEN, AND CONTINUES TO BE, SAID ABOUT HOPE AND STRATEGY.

Hope is defined as ‘a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.’ Strategy is defined as ‘a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim’ and typically comprises visioning, objective setting, resource allocation, prioritization, implementation, and monitoring.

SO, CAN HOPE BE A STRATEGY OR IS THERE MORE TO THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HOPE AND STRATEGY?

Given what a strategy comprises, hope, particularly when based on illusion, delusion, fiction or false assumptions, surely cannot be a strategy. If hope is the core of a strategy it fosters slapdash thinking, tends to ignore ‘lessons from the past’ and can cloud intelligent decision-making.

Regrettably, the concept of hope is frequently misunderstood. The perception that hope is just ‘blind optimism’ is not uncommon. There is evidence that suggests that hope is far more action aligned and that hope is best seen as a positive motivational state that is derived from goal-directed energy. When hope is based on real-world experience, tangible data, information, and knowledge, it results in trust. Trust is a necessary component for implementing any strategy. Without confidence in the people, processes, and technologies involved, strategy execution is unlikely to succeed.

This positions hope as a critical construct in our strategies as we navigate this VUCA and BANI world. ( https://ontwerp.ch/2021/06/02/expect-the-unexpected/ ) You can be very motivated to move towards your goals, whilst not having clear strategies on how you will achieve these goals. A ‘hope is not a strategy’ mindset can, and often does, result in inaction and paralysis, while a strategy ‘with hope’ can inspire creativity and bold action.

IS HOPE A STRATEGY?

No, but it is an essential strategy component. Marcus Mossberger argues that hope is more important than strategy and that it should in fact be at the base of Maslow’s eponymous hierarchy of needs. ( https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/hope-strategy-much-more-important-marcus-mossberger/ )

Hope therefore can give us a sense of meaning or at least the motivation and energy to pursue a better sense of meaning. When we have a better sense of meaning it facilitates our capacity to actively drive long-term goals, i.e. better formulate and execute meaningful strategies.

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I am passionate about B2B marketing content. Simply put, I tell the right stories, to the right people, using the appropriate channels, at the right time.

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Michael Wood

Michael Wood

I am passionate about B2B marketing content. Simply put, I tell the right stories, to the right people, using the appropriate channels, at the right time.

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