If you search for the word "hope" through Google, you will find many Barak Obama presidential campaign posters. Ironic, isn't it, that the last campaign was won on the theme of hope but so much hope has been diminished in recent years?
Yet, in spite of lost assets, hard-fought defeats and the need to radically alter expectations, hope remains the asset we need to keep building. Without the optimism and readiness to try that hope brings, there is no way out of the economic, societal or personal blues in which we find ourselves.
Leaders who see themselves as stewards of their organizations understand that they must embody hope. Yes, it must be realistic and intellectually solid, a future that can be seen, touched, tasted, felt, but hope nevertheless--the reason people will act heroically and bring their greatest and most creative efforts to the task.
Perhaps the great effectiveness of Jesus of Nazareth in describing the kingdom of God, the greatest and most hope-filled mission of all time, was his ability to paint it for all five senses. More than this, his hope it could actually be accomplished, seemed to fuel his way forward in the darkest of moments.
Not that I'm comparing organizational leaders to the Messiah, and not that we need more leaders with Messianic complexes (we definitely do not). We do need hope-filled leaders, however. If we can give permission to enough of them, perhaps a better future can be envisioned and built than the one our currently morose culture points us to at the moment.
p.s. If you want to know more, here is a practical blog post on hope and the entrepreneur.