There is a sense of anxiety in our world today. Just read the newspaper or try following the political scene for a few days. It is crazy making. The financial markets have calmed down for the moment however, there is little confidence that we have a smooth sailing year ahead. So, is it hard to find the optimists? Maybe. Settling for a pessimist view is not the answer. Bill Taylor, speaker and author of Mavericks at Work and a new book soon coming out called; Simply Brilliant: How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways, talks about a future outlook that sounds promising and "optimistic." He sees a fierce optimism in companies that are ordinary but blend new ideas, have deep commitment and are resilient in the face of change. I want to meet those companies and their leaders! I would like to help them find additional leaders as they grow. They embrace the positive and not the negative.
There is so much being written about great leaders and those guided by purpose. Are those leaders defining success so that they stand for something special (as Bill Taylor suggests)? Yes, they are successful for they have a business, product or service where they think about where they have come from, but re-invent the future with a keen eye moving forward with a clear line of sight. They might be genius to achieve that - however, think about the definition of genius as another favorite author of mine, David Whyte, a poet that touches the heart) defines it. "Genius is something we possess", says David Whyte.
"Human genius lies in the geography of the body and its conversation with the world. We have a unique signature and stories from our lineage that have not been fully explored. Genius is a gift and a possibility that has not yet occurred; it is not a fixed commodity but a conversation to be followed, understood and celebrated."
The optimist continues to believe and has the confidence to create a play book for the future. I would like to start a new conversation with our clients about hiring for genius. Let's listen to what the CEO believes tough minded optimism looks like in their company. The, let's translate that. It could be, as Bill Taylor reminds us, that optimistic leaders know how to use what they already know but are willing to re-frame it tenaciously for a positive future and not a negative one.