In our series on inspiring hope within your organization, we wanted to provide you with a “nuts and bolts” checklist to help you assess your organizational hopefulness quotient. Remember, the difference between wishing and hoping is that wishing is passive, but hoping is active. Wishing actually undermines your chances of success (Lopez, 2013), while uninhibited hoping can result in intentionally engineered, modes of operation.

Please note that these questions include both systemic and relational propositions. So, ask yourself the following and then open yourself up to some healthy conflict, by including your team members in assessing your hopefulness culture.

  • Do you create exciting organizational targets with your team? Even mundane goals and objectives can be conveyed with an exciting, “end goal mental picture” in mind. Best practice is to corporately design the goal and then to take turns verbally reminding one another of the ultimate outcome (mental model) of that goal.
  • Do your organizational goals make your individual team members’ tails wag? Organizational goals must have your team members fingerprints all over them and should strike at the heart of why they came to work for the company.
  • Is your most dynamic presenter in charge of conveying and assessing your targets during meetings? It is always surprising when meetings are conducted with the most dry and boring personalities at the wheel. This is an opportune time to tap into your dynamic, funny, high energy employee(s) and allow them to shine. A person’ s title doesn’t ensure their ability to inspire, so don’t be afraid to involve team members at all levels to lead out in strategic planning and vision casting.
  • Are the first words out of your mouth, “yes, or no?” Nothing squashes hope and engagement more quickly than a leader telling team members how and why their ideas won’t work. Dr. Diane Duin, the Dean of Health and Human Performance at Montana State University Billings, sees her job as “clearing the decks” for her amazing academic team. Her notion – that her primary job is to remove obstacles so that her team can initiate their curricular and programmatic ideas – has created a trusting, effective and innovative work environment.
  • Is it common practice for you and your team members to be vulnerable around each other? Healthy conflict, trust, innovation and hopefulness all come from a professional’s willingness to self-investigate and to do a “re-set” when needed. The leader sets the tone here. Be cautious though; there is a fine line between coming across as a waffler or a flake and someone who is willing to openly discuss which of their techniques did not work or when their best efforts fell short.  Vulnerability creates trust, while a pattern of saying your sorry for consistently poor performance does not.
  • Do you lead from the assumption that your team members are truly experts and can get the job done? Don’t be the leader that believes that all the good ideas have to come from them or have their stamp on every phase. By designing and setting exciting goals with your team, then “clearing the decks” of obstacles or limitations, and finally stepping out of your team’s way – you are exemplifying hopefulness! Engaged, hopeful employees know that they can take calculated risks because you will back them up.

For more information on developing exciting targets and conveying hope in your work environment, join FutureSYNC International on April 4th and 5th to grow your leadership. Our Executive Intelligence seminars are the most successful and well attended professional development seminars in Montana and we would like to invite you! To register, call us at (406) 254-2326 or email us at info@future-sync.com.

Lopez, S.L., (2014), Making hope happen: Create the future you want for yourself and others. Simon and Schuster, New York, New York.