The Stockdale Paradox

How to Prevail in Times of Crisis.

In the book called ‘Good to Great’ by Jim Collins, Jim notes an important skill that businessmen (and individuals) should master should they wish to build a ‘great’ company – he calls it the ‘Stockdale Paradox’. It can be described as the ability to acknowledge the brutal facts of your current reality, while remaining optimistic about the future

To put this into perspective – if you were to be optimistic about the future, while ignoring the struggles of the present, your decision making at this moment in time will be ineffective as it will not be relevant (to the current set of circumstances).

However, if you were to only focus on the struggles of the present, while ignoring the possibilities and hopes of the future, your decision making at this moment in time will be ineffective too. Why is this? Without a future optimistic goal in mind, you will lack the enthusiasm needed to muscle through the current challenges – you will run out of energy long before the current challenges can be overcome.

So why is the Stockdale Paradox concept so important during these trying times? The last few months have been really difficult, and we have found that those businessmen (and individuals) that faced their current hardships head-on by making firm and swift decisions, while remaining optimistic about the future, have been able to push through the pains of the pandemic without losing their businesses or livelihood. Those that procrastinated, ignoring the reality of current hardship, suffered more than what they should have. And those that lost optimism of the bright future, lost all energy needed to get through these difficult times.

It’s never too late – take the time to understand, embrace and make calculated decisions based on the current hardships, but never lose your optimism for the future, because as

John Lennon once said, ‘Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end’.

by Michael Dryden  – The Finserve Group