Plan for success, then believe it will happen

Management scholars have long noted the virtues of optimism. Leaders who bring the optimism to daily organizational challenges inspire teams to move forward, even in the toughest situations. We have certainly all experienced some tough situations in the past few years.

Having overcome global health and social upheavals, leaders are facing yet another wave of challenges. With surging inflation and shortages dominating critical commodities from energy to water, pessimism is creeping back into daily conversations. The Federal Reserve’s fall interest rate hikes were the final straw, and investors hit the exits. At moments like these, optimism itself seems to be plagued by supply chain glitches. Smart leaders know this is the time to double down on realistic, thoughtful optimism.

Skeptics argue that such positivity is simply a cover for management failures. Some might even conclude that optimists and good managers are 2 different people. To them, managers need to be level-headed planners. Tough times and challenges require carefully orchestrated plans and straight talk—optimism and planning don’t go together.

Adam C. Sansiveri of Alliance Bernstein believes otherwise. He connects intentional planning and optimism as the secret to leadership success. Adam notes, “When it comes to leadership, intentional planning cannot be overlooked…. people take planning for granted.” But solid plans form the basis of optimism. Regardless of the situation, planning for success is the first step—painstakingly plan for success and then believe it will happen. Then bring those plans to life through optimism. “When you bring optimism to the table every single day … problems get solved easier, and people want to work with you.”

To hear more from my interview with Adam Sansiveri (Managing Director, Head of Sports & Entertainment, Head of the Nashville Private Wealth Group at Alliance Bernstein), watch the video. We discuss evolving business opportunities in sports and entertainment, the benefits of non-traditional backgrounds in business, and the power of optimism.

Leadership Notes is a blog and video series on leadership.  Through interviews with leaders from both the private and public sector, Johnson examines key leadership issues like empowerment, team development, and cultural dexterity.  The blog also addresses topics such as learning from failure, the importance of friendship, and the role leaders play in developing organizational culture.

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