Leaders Must Give Hope
By: Randy Wolken, President & CEO

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 assurances that tomorrow will be better than today.  In some ways, it is one of the most important qualities of successful leaders.  They give us hope – and we can work today knowing tomorrow will be better.

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 a sense of hope.  We need more hope-filled leaders and individuals.  It is how we and our businesses transition to our future.  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.  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.

As a leader, it can be very difficult to find hope in a turbulent period.  But, we must if we are to lead.  Think back to the most important 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.  They declared it possible – and then those who followed began to implement what was needed to make it happen.

Consider President Kennedy’s declaration that we 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 achievable and meaningful change starts with a declaration that it is possible – and then that we are going to 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.  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 launched the entire effort.

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 hope – and commit to a better future?  I hope you do.  Because, if you do, you will be creating the future successes in our community.  It is really the only thing that has.  Almost 105 years ago, 13 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 now have because of them.  A century later, what those 13 leaders hoped for is still being realized.  Could you do this for your company and your family? I have hope, and I am convinced, you can!  Please do it for all of us.