Are You Guilty Of Relying On ‘Hopeium’?

It needs to be banned from your business. Here’s why …

Right, I’m going to cut straight to the chase and talk to you about ‘Hopeium’, which is a management style that I sometimes see in CEOs. If you haven’t already guessed, it’s a combination of ‘hope’ and ‘opium’ and when it comes to business, it’s a term used to describe people who base all their dreams on hope without a clear plan or strategy on how they’re going to achieve them. Whilst it’s always delivered with the best of intentions it actually can be incredibly detrimental to the team and business at large, but also utterly demoralising, over time, to the person delivering it. 

If you’re guilty of feeling this way and leading with ‘Hopeium’ then read on. I want to be clear from the outset that I’m not in any way stating that ‘hope’ as a need, gift, or emotion is bad, I’m just going to show you why it’s not the most constructive or productive way to gain the results you wish for, for yourself, your team and your business.

So what is ‘Hopeium’ and when does it occur?

Winston Churchill said that ‘hope dies last’. And it’s true, it does. It’s an unbelievably powerful emotion to feel however, people also commonly feel that because it dies last, it’s also the last resort. One final gesture to keep going when times are hard.

This is negative because if you’re leading with ‘Hopeium’ as a notion the message that you’re effectively putting out to your team is that you don’t have a concrete goal or business plan. We all know that success is the result of many, many small acts of hard work all coming together over a period of time. With ‘Hopeium’ as a strategy, there are no mini-goals on a checklist to work towards success overall. Essentially, all business structure has failed. I’ve listed the negative impact of leading with ‘Hopeium’, as you can see, it’s certainly not one to be swept under the rug.

  • Your business loses its impact
  • No clear goals defined
  • Staff lose confidence in your ability
  • Teams lose sight of why they’re doing what they’re doing
  • Culture within the company fails
  • Productivity slumps
  • Business fails to achieve any goals

Have I put the fear of God into you? Good. It needs to be. So let’s move forward and figure it out. 

So why does this vision of hopeium affect CEOs and other people in positions of leadership?

Most of the time if a client comes to me suffering from ‘Hopeium’ it’s due to a lack of clear goals and the strategy to reach those goals.

Do you:

  • Feel out of the loop with conversations and opinions in your team?
  • Find it difficult to remember what your specific goals are?
  • Struggle to create successful sales and marketing campaigns?
  • Feel as though you don’t know where to start so you begin to use general quotes to inspire and lead?

Chances are if you’re feeling this way, particularly at this point it’s due to a clear lack of strategy and you’re most likely exhausted from the challenges, stresses, and strains of 2020. Interestingly I’ve found when chatting to my clients, that even the ones who have been incredibly successful during the last twelve months are beginning to succumb to ‘Hopeium’ simply due to the pressure of maintaining and growing success even further. They encapsulate the phrase: ‘more money, more problems’. 

So no one is free of ‘catching’ Hopeium. But the good news is, that you can shake it off and strive to push forwards in a much more solid direction. You would never embark on a long car journey without first having an idea of the destination and route. Your business should follow that exact same principle.  Success in business all starts in the mind. Your attitude and mind must be clear and future-focused to then be able to act with purpose. Again this all comes back to strategy. You can act with purpose when you know what your desired end goal is. You can focus your mind when you have a segmented plan to implement. 

Hope should be used to empower alongside a clearly thought out and planned strategy. Instilling and leading with hope in these circumstances has the exact opposite effect on your team and business as a whole. A strategy led positively with hope binds a team together – I’ve literally been witness to staff aligning themselves with missions and becoming so much stronger because of it.

  • Staff will believe in the power of your conviction
  • Your team will take pride in reaching milestones
  • Your goals will be clear and within reach
  • Your personal stress levels will be lower
  • Your team will be confident in you
  • Your own confidence and assurance will be boosted
  • Your business has a much better chance of success

Hope is an emotion. And whilst it’s a powerful one indeed, it doesn’t get you anywhere specific because it’s too general. Listen to some of the most prolific speeches from powerful leaders in history and they in-still hope, but only after they’ve talked about their end goal first.

Hope acts as the hook. Tactics and strategy are what’s needed to successfully reach your goal.

If you’ve never hired a CEO coach before, I’ve created a simple Strategic Planning Programme designed to get you started on your planning journey.


Call directly on (0)7973 137470 or schedule a call to see if my Strategic Planning Programme is right for you, or let’s discuss your specific needs to help you move forwards.

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