Luck, while nice when she smiles on you, is a fickle and elusive relative. She rarely shows up at family events and when she does, it’s all about her.  She raises expectations of ridiculous things to insane levels, and then disappears after disappointing, without a word.

Hope, is much more accessible than Luck, but in some regards, she is even more frustrating to deal with.  Hope is comfortable and comforting, providing us with possibilities, but most often leaving us disappointed.  What Hope doesn’t tell you is that she relies on her cousin, Luck, and of course we’ve already established that Luck is undependable.

Luck and Hope hang out with a bad crowd. Their latest buddy, Silver Bullet is the one who promises quick, almost magical fixes to the toughest of problems. Unfortunately, as the rest of us have learned, Silver Bullets don’t work any better than Hope or Luck. 

The quiet one in the corner at this reunion of cousins is Hard Work.  HW for short, is not glamorous, but of all of the cousins, she’s the one that delivers. HW is a stern task master, demanding time, attention and practice. Her price is your time and your sweat and your genius, but the payoff is always there eventually. Yes, HW is the reliable one.

Of course, Hard Work comes from solid stock. Her mother is Dreamer and her father is Common Sense. The combination of the three is nearly unbeatable.

Of Dreams, Hard Work and Common-Sense:

For some reason, Dreams, Hard Work and Common Sense are rudely shoved to the background during times of difficulty. That’s perverse, because these are the only three that are capable of supporting us as we persevere against an endless barrage of bad news and tough choices. Dreams give us something to reach for, Common Sense guides our way and Hard Work…well, she does all of the heavy lifting.

Consider our world today:

  • Economic growth is built on the backs and brains of hard working people who aspire to something more and are willing to invest and sacrifice and work to get there. Economic growth is not built on the back of government spending which offers false hopes about a magical multiplier that exists only on the pages of your hopeful and luck-driven, silver-bullet laden Keynesian economist.  At best and worst, the government must create rules that incent people and capital providers and businesses to invest and work hard.
  • Organizations hoping for a return to normalcy are in for a disappointment. This is the new normal and once again, Hope has disappointed.
  • Senior teams looking for a silver bullet fix for their mature and declining business in this ferocious global environment might as well be searching for a mythical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  Alternatively, they can invest in lottery tickets and let Hope and Luck guide their actions. Oh, and the products, customers and markets that helped you make it this far…don’t count on them taking you any further. It’s time for the Hard Work of  business reinvention.
  • Leaders who expect people and performance problems to simply disappear are bound to be disappointed. Hope strikes again.
  • Leaders who expect the presence of just a job to engage and retain the best and brightest have suspended common-sense and are flirting with the rarely spoken of family member, Arrogance. It might work for a few minutes in time, but it’s a bad plan.
  • To those struggling in this economy and looking for your next step in your career, working harder on solving your problem is the only way forward. No amount of luck, false hope or magical silver bullet jobs program from your friendly government is going to solve your situation. You will have to work harder than you ever have before…likely at reinventing yourself and your career.  After a lifetime of working, it doesn’t seem fair, but Fair is from a different branch of the family, and he almost never shows up at this family reunion.

The Bottom-Line for Now:

Right now, grab Luck, Hope and Silver Bullet by the collective collars and throw them out into the street. Stare Hard Work in the eyes, thing long and hard about what her parents, Dreamer and Common Sense would have to say about your situation, and get going.