It is much easier to be a critic than a creator; less risky to respond and react than to innovate and initiate; less costly to follow than to lead.

Charting new territory — innovating, establishing relationships and building solutions — requires a vision for the future and a measure of courage . . . an investment of blood, sweat and tears that is easy to second guess from much cheaper and less consequential seats.

The Potential of ‘Why Not’

To clarify, we’re not talking about the discipline and skill set that analyzes, tests and calibrates in the quest for a more perfect solution. We’re talking about a perspective that consistently sees the glass as half empty.

There is a difference between problem identification and problem solving.

The former is a never-ending proposition. To the degree it appears to be acumen, analysis or even leadership, it may be good for the short term; but it is often anathema to actual progress. The danger in constantly naming all that is wrong is that this process (or habit) can morph into a perpetual agenda.

On the other hand, those who chart new territory cultivate and nurture a different perspective — opportunistic, tenacious, and glass-at-least-half-full.

Robert F. Kennedy’s famous quote captures the attitude — “Some men see things as they are and say ‘why.’ I dream things that never were, and say ‘why not’.”

Anyone working on the creation or implementation of a strategy — anyone attempting to lead — is familiar with the tug-of-war between “why” and “why not.” The tension is real. Not every opportunity is worthy of resources, much less all out pursuit. Not every misstep warrants the energy and equity of a boisterous Why.

Leadership knows the difference.

Stalemate on every front might be an indication that a vacuum exists — an opportunity for leadership willing to invest in the honest, unselfish pursuit of solution.