Providing Hope

Gerwig 2014-04-21

The dogwood flower is one of my favorites. Each spring, throughout parts of North America and Asia, various types of dogwood trees burst forth in an abundant display. My favorite colors are white and pink, though the numerous types of dogwood trees produce a wide range of flower colors. Flowering dogwoods provide a reminder that Spring is here. And, for me, they’re a symbol of hope.

The dogwood flower is a reminder that the cold winter is over, sunshine has returned and an abundant harvest is now possible. There is no harvest in winter. For crops to grow, Spring has to return. And each year it does. And each year the dogwood flower provides a reminder of Spring and of hope.

In some circles, the dogwood flower is also a reminder of Christ’s resurrection, which, of course, is celebrated in the Spring on Easter Sunday around the world. I won’t describe the symbolic connection of the dogwood flower to the resurrection, but if interested, Google it. For example, type in “legend of the dogwood tree.”

The dogwood flower reminds me every year of the importance of hope. And not just hope in our personal lives but hope in our vocational lives. Not just hope in our academic lives but hope in our athletic lives. Not just hope in our emotional lives but hope in our spiritual lives.

You see, we blossom when we have hope. We perform better, we listen better, we work better, we play better and we love better. When we have hope, we have something to strive for. It’s why vision casting is so important. It’s why organizations excel when individual members can relate to the organizational mission and vision.

Organizational health and performance are tied to hope. And so is individual health, including yours and mine. We need something to believe in. We need something to hope in. We need leaders to provide that hope. In the church, we hope for the 2nd coming of Christ and eternal life. In our families, we hope for our children to be successful. In our communities, we hope for our neighborhoods to be safe. In our teams, we hope to win the championship. In our schools, we hope to make A’s. In our corporate job, we hope to enjoy job security.

I could go on and on listing things we hope in. So could you. We hope for different things. But we hope. We hope for the success of the larger organization and we hope for our individual success as well. We want to have something larger than ourselves to connect with and be part of.

The world-class leader encourages individuals. He develops and casts a vision for the larger organization that excites the team. He knows that hope is a scarce commodity in the world. He knows that the health of individuals and the organization at large is tied to hope. And he does what he can. He positively impacts those with whom he comes into contact and he casts a vision that provides hope. It’s not a one-time event. It’s an ongoing process.

How about you? Are you providing hope to those around you? In your family? In your school? At church? In your organization?

As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.

Dr. is an agent of change and is able to balance the needs of the business and the needs of people. Dr. Gerwig believes and practices the values of performance and delivery of business metrics while simultaneously developing and growing people into leaders. You can contact him at RobertGerwig[at]


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