Curt Fowler | Fowler & Company | Fowler, Holley, Rambo & Stalvey
“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.” – Colin Powell
The effect of a leader’s enthusiasm and optimism is incredible. The impact of leadership’s pessimism can be equally impactful but in the wrong direction. Leaders must be grateful for what they have, yet unsatisfied with the status quo. Great leaders dream great dreams and create plans to do them. Great dreams don’t start with “improve ______ by x %.” Great visions are just beyond the reach of your current organization. They require risk taking and the willingness to dramatically change the abilities of the organization to achieve them.
Great leaders inspire their teams to achieve goals they thought were unachievable. These leaders then create a path to accomplish the goal and rally the troops to achieve each milestone. When milestones are missed – and some milestones will always be missed – the optimistic leader is grateful for the effort expended by his team and willing to change everything to make sure the next milestone is not missed.
Don’t hang out with realists. Realists have never accomplished great things. They accept the status quo as the best things can ever be. Think about the things we take for granted today – flying around the world in glorified tin cans, free video conferencing with anyone around the world on our phones, virtual reality and computers that can beat anyone at chess. Could these things be imagined by a realist? Never.
Great leaders are grateful for the team they have been given. They are overly optimistic about what their team can achieve and what each team member can become. Isn’t that what we all need? Someone to tell us we can do far greater things and then encourage us to make it happen. Brian Houston, leader of the amazing Hillsong Church (about 100,000 people attend one of their churches every week) states this principle well when he says “I want my ceiling to be the next generation’s floor.” Jesus said it better when he stated “…anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done and even greater works…” (John 14:12). Greater works than Jesus? Are you kidding me? That is true optimism.
A friend of mine in real estate development told me that when his team is deciding whether to undertake a project they will discuss every way possible the project could fail. They strive to be pessimistic at the evaluation stage. Once they decide to do the project no one is allowed to discuss failure, only solutions and paths to success.
Those are the kinds of leaders I want to follow.
Gratitude is the starting point of optimism and optimism is required to lead people to great destinations. What we focus on drives our emotions. Gratitude is the greatest tool we have to enjoy life, be more fun to be around and accomplish great things in this world.
Organizations exist to achieve things we could not accomplish alone. What crazy dream are you and your team chasing? What seems impossible, that you could make possible? What joy is there in doing the same things in the same way everyone else is doing them?
What great change in the world is waiting for you and your team to tackle it?
Remember, small dreams don’t inspire. Dream something worthy, inspire your team and start the journey. The journey is the reward. Reaching the goal happens because of who we become on the journey. Have a business growth topic or question you’d like me to cover? Send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or use our contact form by clicking here .
Curt Fowler is President of Fowler & Company and Director at Fowler, Holley, Rambo & Stalvey. He is dedicated to helping leaders create and achieve a compelling vision for their organization. Curt is a syndicated business writer and keynote speaker. He has an MBA in Strategy and Entrepreneurship from the Kellogg School, is a CPA, and a pretty good guy as defined by his wife and four children.