Author: Andrew Razeghi
Hope is a word of inspiration. Hope is a book of leadership inspiration. Hope energizes your mind with the power to dance without music and ideas to break through and deliver exceptional results in times of challenge based on the human foundation of hope. Hope: How Triumphant Leaders Create the Future is a great book you should read.
In one way, Andrew Razeghi’s book is a couple of years before its time. In another, it is of perfect timing. While not specifically targeted, Hope is a powerful uplift to any executive in transition looking to re-create a new future. It is also a must read for any leader pressed to create innovative ways forward in a time of economic crisis and stakeholder pressure for growth in the enterprise they lead.
Andrew writes: “Hope sets objectives, ignites will, focuses the organization in turbulent times, renews energy, displaces boredom as it succeeds, fosters creativity and innovation, and hope inspires people to want to do the right thing.” The book effectively teaches the reader the depth and breadth to which hope influences and drives so many leadership skills, from organizational motivation to decision-making ethics.
I met the author at a book presentation when this book was first published and was honored with a personalized signed edition. That officially defines me as a slow reader. Perhaps it was destiny as I am recreating many things in my own life and career around which this book has provided helpful steering and epiphany. I recall Andrew Razeghi’s passion and enthusiasm in the room that day years back. That enthusiasm enabled me to to know at the time that loaning this book to three others who would read and grow from it before me as I kept it on my own personal to-read list.
The book conveys stories of a number of named leaders of our time, and recognized names of the past. In each case, Andrew brings us to the realization that the challenges these leaders addressed, persevered, and overcame were the result of leadership skills based on hope. Leadership skills that focused on influencing both the head and the heart of not only the team, but also the diverse near and distant stakeholders.
Andrew has researched and interviewed dozens of examples of triumphant leaders and the stories of their challenge and success. Some examples are shared in depth, like Shackleton (Antarctica), Nirenberg (human genome), McCoy (AMD), Mandela (South Africa), Cakebread (vintner), Jackson (Harlem Globetrotters), and many more. These stories alone are cause enough to read and study hope as a powerful leadership tool as we create the future.
I have heard Andrew Rezeghi speak, and his message as a Kellogg professor, and internationally recognized speaker is infectious. This book really puts into perspective the qualities people need to be truly great leaders. Leaders that deftly plow through the challenges and sometimes adversity along the way to triumph. It describes how and demonstrates real breakthrough and hopeful thinking based on beliefs and values that success is inevitable. Triumphant leaders of our time who have conquered adversity and challenge like Charles Schwab (yes, that one…), Jack Cakebread (auto mechanic, Ansel Adams -taught photographer, winemaker and champion over Phylloxera in Napa Valley ), Jimmy Buffett (record-setting NYTimes best seller [no kidding], songwriter and performer), and others like the Dalai Lama, Geoff Canada, Ty Cobb, and more. Andrew Rezeghi has collected interviews and facts that paint a wonderful picture of how you can be a triumphant leader based on a leadership style of hope, belief, and values.
Other authors and researchers have used the Head and Heart analogy for influencing and leading others. But it is Andrew’s approach that engages us on a journey to learn a deeper nervous-system-stimulating understanding of this concept. He uses using many examples to pull us into the lens of experience to better understand stories and personal interviews than any other book, paper or classroom discussion I have experienced. The author’s objective is to use this book to enable and empower us to use hope as an amplifying anchor in our own daily leadership.
For the cynic, the book debunks the myth of wishful thinking and clarifies for the skeptic the difference between “wishful thinking” and “true hope.” Those that practice wishful thinking “lost energy by ignoring negative information, capitulating to time and longing for things to turn around;” this is the lazy expectation that luck will somehow occur as the complacency of mediocrity sets in. True hope “involves believing deeply, seeing further, thinking conditionally and acting willfully to make things happen.” True hope is the skill that triumphant leaders possess.
Andrew Razeghi challenges us in the end to take one thing from reading about how hope has created triumphant leaders. He asks, “If you take nothing else away from this book, be vulnerable to possibility — let down your guard — and have the courage to believe in the power of hope.” It is a challenge for those set in their ways to make this change, to be sure. But with this book, leaders can find the strength to take the first step, and begin to experience the power of hope.
I mentioned that I shared this very copy of the book I hold with three of my colleagues and the book traveled from Illinois to Texas. My friends were changed by it. It’s hard to recognize one’s own transformation and so perhaps I’m changing too. More to the point, in the month since reading this book, one of my colleagues has introduced it to their book club and it has influenced a servant leadership initiative here in Chicago. Hope is a good catalyst for creating the future.