Three ways to regenerate hope


John Baldoni (a fellow Michigander!) has a new book coming out in November called THE LEADER’S POCKET GUIDE: 101 Indispensable Tools, Tips, And Techniques For Any Situation. Here is an excerpt from it for all leaders who need to have hope and instill it in others.


THERE IS ONE LEADER in whom I have found nearly a boundless source of inspiration: Winston Churchill.

While history often remembers him at the height of his power as he led Britain through the terror of World War II, I like to reflect on the Churchill of 1915, tossed from the cabinet after the debacle of Dardanelles, which was an ill-fated plan to knock Turkey out of the Great War.

The Churchill of this period teaches us that we can recover from our mistake if we take charge of our own recovery; this is something that should be familiar to any executive. However, action after adversity should be preceded by a period of reflection as well as rejuvenation. Here are three ways to make this happen:

Reflect. Take a step back, consider what happened, and examine the situation from all angles. Discuss with colleagues what went right as well as wrong. Assess your performance and consider what you might have done differently. Now that you know the outcome, use what you know to prepare for the future.

Recharge. Now, put the failure aside and find ways to reconnect with yourself. It may be through a regime of fitness or by spending more time with friends and family. Keep yourself occupied; do not dwell on yourself. Churchill painted. What might you do? Find something to reconnect your mind with your spirit. You may have lost a battle, but you did not lose your life. Keep thinking positively.

(Re)Act. You must do something. If you are in the same job, put lessons learned from failure into place. Debrief your team. If you are in a new job, find ways to leverage those bitter lessons in your new position. Know that you are a different person, in many ways a stronger one for having withstood the pressures of defeat. Channel your energies into your work, but keep in tune with yourself and the people close to you.

Understand that defeat is not the end. The Churchill of 1915 prepared the way for the Churchill of 1940 to become the savior of his nation.

Churchill once quipped, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”


Think About…

Ways you have developed your confidence to lead.

Consider a time when your lack of confidence may have hurt you. What happened and why? What will you do differently?


From THE LEADER’S POCKET GUIDE: 101 Indispensable Tools, Tips, And Techniques For Any Situation by John Baldoni (AMACOM / November 2012)

I am a former executive in a Fortune 100 company. I have owned and operated an executive coaching firm since 2003 called Aspire Collaborative Services LLC. We partner with great leaders to help them become even greater at developing, improving, and sustaining relationships with the people who are essential to their success. This blog is for leaders and those who help them to be more intentional about relationships at work. My top personal values include respect for others, kindness, compassion, collaboration and gratitude. I work very hard at practicing my values daily and when I don’t succeed, I practice some more. I am married with two wonderful daughters and two spoiled pugs.

2 comments on “Three ways to regenerate hope

  1. The other key learning from Churchill was that he was the ideal leader for a specific context. Both before and after the war he was rejected by the electorate as too extreme.

    Leadership is highly situational, you need to fit the culture and the moment to be a truly inspirational world leader.

    Thankfully it’s a bit easier in corporate life, but still the style of leadership that is successful depends on the maturiy of the business, its challenges and its culture.

  2. When I was i college, I studied in London for a semester, and took an entire semester class on Winston Churchill. The reading list was tremendous and the subject fascinating. You do a nice job summarizing some important points in a few words.

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