Right here, right now, it’s a treacherous world. Customers either don’t know what they want or are showing symptoms of impending change. Competitors huddle in secret cabals, scheming to transform the battlefield to their advantage. Suppliers miss deadlines or quality standards or pressure to accelerate your payables. Employees have morphed into free agents ready to jump for the first better offer.
How wonderful! Do you smell the opportunity?
Successful leaders are almost always glass-half-fullers, viewing change, difficulty, and uncertainty as occasions to create new advantage. They refuse to see obstacles as annoyances, but rather as challenges to raise their game to a new level.
It’s true that some leaders are primarily energized by crisis and thus look through a half-empty lens. Troops will generally rally to solve crises. For a while. The problem is that it’s much harder to sustain motivation when all is doom and gloom than when there is a bright vision of the future.
But if the bright vision is based on denial of reality, it too will fail to sustain.
Powerful leaders plant feet in the moment, analyze their reality with steely-eyed resolve, and move forward to what is possible. As Jim Collins says in Good to Great, great leaders and great companies confront the brutal facts…but never lose faith.