When a corporate head mumbles, “Let’s hope that we come out of this recession strong,” s/he does not inspire confidence in his employees. Neither does a president who goes on national television to proclaim, “We all must pray that the culprits of these terrorist attacks be identified and prosecuted!” While prayers are effective, good leaders do not depend on the intervention of a magnanimous God but on plans, processes, and principles. It is not for providence to intervene but for intelligent humans to put in place systems that would yield predictable outcomes time and again.
Systems are foundational propositions that guide the workings of persons, societies, and businesses. They are tested and proven guidelines for modes of operation. For example a constitution of any country sets out the principles the citizens live by just as corporate vision and mission statements lay out the principles of a corporation. Leaders live by principles because they regulate their actions, processes,
Leaders work principles not magic. They put in place systems that yield positive results. If the business is vulnerable to a recession, a leader finds ways to minimize its vulnerability. For example, s/he may negotiate a loan, a merger, or even a corporate buyout. These options are all principles that work within the business world. Likewise, when a country is plagued by terrorists, the president would need to improve security and intelligence operations in order to ensure the safety of the country.
When we rely on principles, we set in motion processes that would yield predictable outcomes whereas when we hope and pray, we are expecting miracles or magic which reduce our efficacy.