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Issue 619 - "The Realistic Optimist" (Liz Wiseman and John Wooden)

Woodens Wisdom
Wooden's Wisdom - Volume 12 Issue 619
Craig Impelman Speaking |  Championship Coaches |  Champion's Leadership Library Login



Liz Wiseman is a bestselling author, researcher, and elite leadership coach. In her New York Times bestseller, Multipliers: she researched over 150 leaders worldwide.
Liz Wiseman and Coach Wooden both agree that you should be a "Realistic Optimist."
In her book, Wiseman describes how just being an Optimist in your communication can be counterproductive:
"Optimist" This positive,can-do manager always sees possibilities and believes that most problems can be tackled with hard work and the right mindset.
A colleague and I were in the middle of a high-stakes research project where we had a small window of opportunity to write an article for a prestigious academic publication.
I enthusiastically attacked the project, providing leadership along the way to my more junior colleague. At one critical meeting, he turned to me and said, "Liz, I need you to stop saying that!" "Saying what?" I asked. He replied, "‘How hard can it be?’" I looked puzzled. He explained, "You say that all the time: ‘How hard can it be? We can do this. After all, how hard can it be?’
"But why?" I probed. He paused and said, "Because what we are doing is actually really hard and I need you to acknowledge that."
When the leader sees only the upside, others can become preoccupied with the downside."
Coach Wooden put it this way: "Be a realistic optimist."
When you introduce a new program don’t just say: ‘This is going to be great!" You should say: "We have a new program. I don’t know if it’s going to work or not. I do know that if we just keep doing what we are doing we will just keep getting what we are getting.
All change doesn’t result in progress, but all progress is a result of change. Let’s give this our best effort and see if we can make it work. I look forward to your input."
How do you communicate?

Yours in Coaching,
Craig Impelman




Watch Video

Application Exercise



The Little Velvet Suit

Last night I got to thinkin' of the pleasant long ago,
When I still had on knee breeches, an' I wore a flowing bow,
An' my Sunday suit was velvet. Ma an' Pa thought it was fine,
But I know I didn't like it—either velvet or design;
It was far too girlish for me, for I wanted something rough
Like what other boys were wearing, but Ma wouldn't buy such stuff.

Ma answered all my protests in her sweet an kindly way;
She said it didn't matter what I wore to run an' play,
But on Sundays when all people went to church an wore their best,
Her boy must look as stylish an' as well kept as the rest.
So she dressed me up in velvet, an' she tied the flowing bow,
An' she straightened out my stockings, so that not a crease would show.

An' then I chuckled softly to myself while dreaming there
An' I saw her standing o'er me combing out my tangled hair.
I could feel again the tugging, an' I heard the yell I gave
When she struck a snarl, an' softly I could hear her say: 'Be brave.
'Twill be over in a minute, and a little man like you
Shouldn't whimper at a little bit of pain the way you do.'

Oh, I wouldn't mind the tugging at my scalp lock, and I know
That I'd gladly wear to please her that old flowing girlish bow;
And I think I'd even try to don once more that velvet suit,
And blush the same old blushes, as the women called me cute,
Could the dear old mother only take me by the hand again,
And be as proud of me right now as she was always then.

Edgar Albert Guest (1881-1959)






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