Leaders Must Give Hope
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

Many call this the season of hope. And leaders must be primary givers of hope. In today’s world, filled with plenty of things to worry about, we look to our leaders to give us hope. We want real assurance that tomorrow will be better than today. In some ways, it is one of the essential qualities of successful leaders. Good leaders give us hope – and we can work today knowing tomorrow will be better.

As a leader, finding hope in a turbulent period is sometimes challenging. But we must if we are to lead. Think back to the most influential leaders in our country and our world. They believed in a better future despite what was being experienced. They willed us to a better opportunity—starting with their own lives. They began living the future before they thought it was possible. They declared it possible, and those who followed began to implement what was needed to make it happen.

Consider President Kennedy’s declaration that the United States would be the first to land on the moon. At the time, NASA had no idea how to make that happen. None. It was an outlandish commitment. But we did it – successfully. Would we have had the stamina and the commitment without the declaration of hope and belief first? I don’t believe so. I have seen this same kind of effect in our member companies and here at MACNY. Every meaningful change starts with a declaration that it is possible – and then we will do it. We do not yet know how. But we will be doing it. And so we start – and it becomes possible and then probable. Then, after the fact, we identify how it happened. We might even say it was inevitable. But was it? No. Not until leaders and their teams declared it as possible and committed to doing it. Hope began the entire effort.

Even the most serious of crises can be navigated with hope. Bankruptcies, failed projects, loss of coworkers, and even family tragedies can be overcome with the assistance of individuals who walk with us and give us hope. We need more hope-filled leaders and individuals. It is how we transition to our future. Businesses need to transition to their futures. Leaders are the vehicle to create the conditions necessary to move forward. Fear, by itself, will paralyze individuals and organizations. I have seen it far too many times. But on the other hand, I have also witnessed truly miraculous outcomes when leaders and their teams have genuine hope and plans to transition to a better future.

Leaders must have hope and fight back the demons of doubt. We all must have hope for a better company, work environment, home life, and community. It is this hope that brings meaning to what we do each day. Leaders can greatly bless their teams when they both demonstrate hope and encourage others to live their hope too. Together – with hope – we do make it better, often much better.

Do you have hope? What is it for? Are you ready to communicate it and commit to it? Do you encourage others to have hope and commit to a better future? I hope you do. Because if you do, you will create future successes in our community. It is the only thing that has. One hundred and nine years ago, thirteen manufacturing leaders got together at the Hotel Syracuse and launched the Manufacturers Association of Syracuse. Because of their hope and commitment to a better future, I can now write you this article and tell you what we currently have because of them. There was a commitment to what was hoped for – and it is still being realized. Will you do this for your company and your family? I have hope, and I am convinced, you can! So please do it for all of us. Thanks.