I have a question for you today. When you’re talking about a goal you want to reach, whether at work or at home, how often do you start out by saying “I hope… (you can fill in the blank with whatever it is you are working towards)? I hear it quite often from people I’m working with. They ‘hope’ that they’re going to find a solution to that nagging customer complaint problem, or ‘hope’ they’re going to grow their business, or ‘hope’ that they will improve employee engagement. Problem with this is that hope is many things, but it is not a strategy! And in order to reach the short, medium and long-term goals that will ultimately allow us to solve the problems we’re working on and improve ourselves, our organizations, our communities and the world, what we need is an actual strategy: a plan with timelines and deadlines, and hypotheses about what will happen, so we can check our progress along the way. Hope is not a strategy. And if we start out by saying “I hope…” then how confident are we – or others – going to be in our ability to creatively find ways and put in the effort that it’s going to take to accomplish what we set out to do? Again, hope is not a strategy. Putting in the hard work to strive purposefully towards our goals is.

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