How Organisations Hope For The Best In Wrong Situations


“I do the very best I know how, the very best I can and I mean to keep on doing so until the end”…Abraham Lincoln

Towards the beginning of a new year, organisations hope and expect the best to happen to them. The irony is that even organisations that have not evolved any game plan or have not taken definitive steps towards achieving their desired results will still hope for this ‘same’ best. The truth of the matter is: the best does not come to organisations who are mere positive or who are wishing for the best. The best will come to organisations that can match their desires with equal amount of time bound actions.

Over the years, some executives and managers have unwittingly used one key phrase and that key phrase has not worked in the best interest of organisations. They have told their subordinates, ’just be positive and everything will work out fine’. Imagine a situation where someone tells his manager about his/her inability to meet a target or perform an expected task, and what the manager tells him/her is don’t worry -just be positive and everything will work out fine.

With that kind of response, there is no way that particular staff member will bring the best for his/her organisation. What the manager has done was to simply hope for the best – without proffering solutions or asking what can be done to have an optimised results. Dr Martin Seligman was right when he said, ’If the cost of failure is high, optimism is the wrong strategy’.

Wrong strategy

Organisations are failing more than ever before because, they always assume some magical effect will turn around their situations. Such organisations believe that by hoping for the best, the best will graciously and calmly come to them – that is mere optimism and it does not happen most of the time.  In order to achieve higher and sustainable results for the year, organisations and individuals would need to move from mere optimism to Optimal Thinking.

The difference is that mere optimism will say, ’our organisation wants the best for 2014′, while Optimal Thinking will ask, ’what can we do to achieve the best for our organisation in this 2014, what are our options’? After sharing with participants in one of our workshops on ’Developing a Highly Productive Workforce’, I realised an important fact. Many people can memorise their company’s visions and goals but do not understand or know the step by step actions to be taken to realise their goals.

Every organisation’s vision could be a wishful thinking if they lack an implementable game plan for achieving success. Let us assume that a particular bank has projected a profit of $10 million for the year. To show a mark of seriousness and commitment, that particular bank is expected to provide answers and measures to the following questions: Is it in our best interest to achieve the $10 million? What are the best actions to be taken to achieve our goal?

What can be done differently in order to achieve the result? Are there right people that will achieve the results? What are the step by step strategies or game plan for the $10 million attainment?

Without providing compelling structures and answers to the above, achieving the $10 million profit will be difficult and impossible. The way forward for any organisation that wants to thrive in this year is to avoid leaving onefs success to chance or serendipity. When your organisation is not working others are working and that means they are trying their best to be better than you.

More so, many organisations have mastered the art of suppressing negative signals or negativity to their detriment. Most times they tend to ignore negativity. Negative signals, events, thoughts and feelings are not resolved in our organisations when we suppress, deny, or devalue them. It would be like heaping layers of unresolved problems, which will ultimately affect our morale, stress level, productivity and teamwork. It’s like putting a coat of fresh paint over rust. Sooner or later, the paint peels off and the rust resurfaces.

Proactive organisation

What will a proactive organisation who wants to achieve better results do?  That organisation will have to acknowledge the rust (which could come in any form detrimental to the organisation), treat the rust, and then apply the best paint in order to have the finest result. In the long run, no organisation can achieve better results by suppressing negative signals with positive thinking.

Organisations that want to better their results this year and beyond must first and foremost acknowledge the reality on ground and also try to optimise the situation and not sweeping the negative signals under the carpet.

Final note: Hoping for the best has been totally misconstrued and sometimes abused by some organisations. These organisations more often than not hope for opportunity to knock on their ‘business’ doors.

I like the saying – ’if an opportunity does not knock, you will need to build a door and knock on the opportunity.’ That means you need to be proactive, decisive and above all an opportunity builder who does not sit all day long waiting for the best to magically come his/her way. Finally, in the remaining months of the year, don’t just want to be the best, learn how to be the best and just do it.



Courtesy – Vanguardngr



Goke Alabi

Leave a Reply