WE Need Hope to Prosper

When I published the book, "We Are Smarter Than Me" in 2007, I understood that in order for individuals and businesses to truly connect, they needed to be social, co-creative, open, rewarding, and evaluative (SCORE). While this still remains the core of my business philosophy today, it occurred to me recently that there's another element that is vital to the "WE" message: hope. We live in a world that strives for interconnectedness, yet is still siloed in practice. We search for community, yet often mistrust those who position themselves as community leaders. We yearn for change, yet find ourselves skeptical of the unknown. In short, we live in a world that is looking for hope and help, yet when offered, we are unsure of its sincerity.

What I've realized is that in order for the world to truly change, individuals must embrace a philosophy of hope. Why hope?

I had a great opportunity this past week to work with the US division of BAE systems on their social strategies as part of their three day offsite with their leaders from around the world. (Note: BAE is the leading defense contractor worldwide. BAE manufactures the Sherman Tank, the F-35 fight jet, the Caiman Mine Resistent vehicle, fully body armor, and other major defense weapons for the US and other nations globally).

While there, I heard a great speech by another keynote speaker, who talked about hope. His message was that:

  1. Hope springs eternal – This mantra is part of every major religionScientists also believe optimism leads to better physical and mental health
  2. Hope is the anchor of our souls – it is what makes us human (Interesting trivia fact: Hope is featured on the flag of Rhode Island, which served as a place of hope and religious freedom when it was first created as part of the original 13 colonies)
  3. Hope is the key to great leadership – both personally and professionally and it clear that this has been true for many leaders for many years.

I found his message to be both motivating and exhilarating. The presenter was a retired Commander and Chief of the Army and his point was that without hope, military offenses fail, governments crumble, and democracy suffers. With hope, the future is always bright – even during the darkest moments. To prove his point, he told stories about how great things happen, whether on the field of combat, in government during financial crises, or in business turnarounds.

Hope In the World Today

When looking at President Obama's first 100 days in office, hopeful messages from his campaign still linger – "Yes We Can" and "Change You Can Believe In".

Last week, the Stock Market rose to a four month high, indicating that recovery is on the horizon. While there's no telling when we will fully recoup our losses of 2008, we can anticipate some significant gains in the future.

From a personal perspective, hope was also plentiful yesterday, as the country celebrated Mom's nationwide. I've always believed that women in society possessed the foundation of community – compassion, collaboration and communication – and thanks to today's social technologies, women can celebrate that more than ever their future as leaders in society. Mom's are all over the blogosphere, while female executives are leading successful startups including the President's of Harvard, University of Pennsylvania and CEO of the division of BAE that I had the pleasure to meet last week. I think it's powerful that young women today can hope for a future that allows them to choose both a career and a family and succeed at both. Hope at Mzinga - a bright future both personally and professionally

In that same regard, we at Mzinga began our own 100 day journey about 50 days ago. Since then, we've experienced positive and hopeful signs that point to the fact that our future will be a bright one.

Our next 50 days will reveal even more hopeful signs as we announce our new product offerings, prepare to announce our new positioning, embrace open source solutions, and create new partnerships that will be announced this summer.

In short, I am increasingly hopeful of the future ahead, both in my personal and professional life. Mother's day reminded me that I am thrilled to be married for the last 15 years to my best friend, a woman who gives me the courage to create a positive future both at home and at business. I am clear that every day will be a better one that will benefit Mzinga, its customers and employees and the families that I serve, including my own.

Cailin Darcy