Sunday, March 3, 2019

Hope Is Not a Method

“May the GOD of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”- Romans 15:13

General Gordon Sullivan, Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army from 1991 to 1995, wrote a book called Hope Is Not a Method. As Chief of Staff, Sullivan was tasked with leading the US Army out of the Cold War mentality and creating a modern army to deal with a multi-polar world. With this task he also had to downsize the army by 40 percent. None of this was an easy task. He developed in Hope Is Not a Method eleven rules to governing change. We all have change in our lives and it is not always the easiest thing to deal with when it happens. So here are his eleven rules.

Rule 1: Change Is Hard Work
When your organization needs to change, you, as the person in charge, must get involved personally.

Rule 2: Leadership Begins with Values
How do your real values compare with the ones you pay lip service to? Real leadership starts with a commitment to shared values which guide everything you do.

Rule 3: Intellectual Leads Physical
You must have a clear idea of where you hope to be one year, two years, five years down the road before you can improve the organization to achieve those goals.

Rule 4: Real Change Takes Real Change 
Examine each of the critical processes your  firm performs,  looking for fundamental ways to improve them. Marginal tinkering will lead only to marginal growth.

Rule 5: Leadership Is a Team Sport
Effective leaders empower employees by sharing information and responsibility and breaking down organizational walls.

Rule 6: Expect to Be Surprised
Be prepared to respond, adjust, and make changes as needed to seize new opportunities as they arise and overcome difficulties when they emerge.

Rule 7: Today Competes with Tomorrow
Balance your energies between the demands of today and the needs of tomorrow.

Rule 8: Better Is Better
Better is not just about improving quality, cutting costs, or doing things faster. It's about creating an organization that will lead and win in the new environment.

Rule 9: Focus on the Future
Stretch yourself to think not just about what your organization will look like next, but go beyond that, to the organization after next.

Rule 10: Learn from Doing
After any major project or event, gather to review what went right and what went wrong, and to share insights and lessons that grow out of the experience.

Rule 11: Grow People
Take time to nurture the talents of your employees you and they will benefit.

Each of these rules are geared toward organizational change, but I believe we can see them in terms of personal change as well. Romans 15:13 says “May the GOD of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” God give us hope and fills us with hope through the Holy Spirit, but as we can’t live by faith alone, we can’t live by hope alone. We cannot make hope a method, but allow hope to be just what it is: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. Hope is a “feeling or expectation” and that is what God gives up, but we ourselves must make it happen. Through the eleven rules above, we can make hope happen.

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