4 09 2011

It is a way of thinking, a way of approaching challenges which I have long felt defines a healthy approach to the development of Vision-Based Strategy but for which I did not know there was a word. Then I came across the word ‘sceptimist’…..

Developing ‘Vision-Based Strategy’ requires a healthy mix of optimism in believing the long-term vision of better things to come and realism in believing it is achievable. It demands a desire to achieve better things while running those expectations through a constant checking process. It requires understanding of research and historical data balanced finely with intuition and common sense as to what the future might realistically bring.

Until now, for me, explaining and describing all of that (and more) could be quite a long handed process. It had to be, clients need to have positive expectations for the future but those expectations cannot be allowed to drift in a world of hopeless dreaming.

Today I was passed a copy of the September 2011 issue of ‘Psychologies Magazine’ with a post-it note on the cover suggesting I look up the ‘cool word’ on page 32. I flipped the pages and there it was:

“Word of the month; ‘Sceptimist’ – The best type of optimist; someone who’s positive about the future, but maintains a healthy sense of realism. Being able to hope for better things while keeping expectations in check is a great combination: you have the benefits of being an optimist, but are better prepared for and better able to cope with disappointment.”

It might not cover the full range of thought, but which of us who have worked in developing Vision-Based Strategy hasn’t at some stage felt the need for a single word to describe that healthy balance? Which of us hasn’t sceptimistically looked to creating a pathway to a brighter vision of the future sensibly tempered by expectations of reality?

It might not be perfect, but it is a very healthy mind-set for a Vision-Based strategist.

Be sceptimistic – I know I am!

© Jim Cowan, Cowan Global Limited, September 2011

Twitter @cowanglobal



4 responses

4 09 2011
Bill Casey

This beats the heck out of “realism” as a prescription. Thank you, Jim. Clever, as usual.

5 09 2011
Thomas Schaal (@TMOSchaal)

Like the definition – will start today to be a ‘Sceptimist’…

12 10 2011

I think I’ve been a sceptimist most of my adult life. It’s a great way to circumnavigate most of life’s troughs. Just never knew what to call it!

12 10 2011

Hi Mary,

Happy to help!

Hope all is going well and the business launch is coming along nicely. Speak soon,


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