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  • Writer's pictureDavid Pountney

Respair: Reviving a Lost Concept for Modern Leadership

Image of Lethbridge Reserve Chardonnay 2022 label discussing Respair concept.

The inspiration for this post came from wine.

Not the contents, but the label of the 2022 Lethbridge Reserve Chardonnay (oaky, creamy, white nectarine in case you’re wondering).

On the label, winemaker Ray Nadeson wrote about the word Respair, an old English word forgotten since the 15th Century but loaded with significance for winemakers (and business leaders) in 2024.

The opposite of Despair, Respair is the fusion of ‘resilience’ and ‘hope’ embodying the essence of a mindset needed to navigate a landscape of unprecedented upheavals. As Ray put it ‘Despair is to see no light at the end of the tunnel while Respair maintains that the light will return after darkness’.

Today’s business landscape is darkened by pessimism and uncertainty…

Politically, 49% of the world is facing national elections with multi-year consequences.

Economically, 2024 is projected to be the weakest year of growth in Australia since the early 90s (excluding the pandemic period).

Socially, the cost of living crisis is resulting in increased tension and growing inequalities of wealth.

And Technology continues to evolve at an exhausting pace with AI threatening the status quo of almost every industry.

Given this, more than ever, leaders need to cultivate a Respair mindset and be a beacon of optimism for others.

Below are six traits of Respair leadership (GPT’d into an acrostic!) that can have a positive impact on others…

R - Resilience

Embrace resilience in the face of adversity and encourage others to bounce back stronger from challenges.

E - Encouragement:

Support and inspire others to reach their full potential.

S - Solution-Oriented:

Adopt a solution-oriented approach to problems and help others find constructive ways to overcome obstacles.

P - Positivity:

Foster a culture of positivity and maintain an optimistic outlook even in the most challenging of moments.

A - Adaptability:

Cultivate adaptability, encourage flexibility and celebrate openness to change.

I - Innovation:

Champion innovation and creativity, foster an environment where new ideas are welcomed and explored.

R - Recognition:

Give recognition where it's due, acknowledge the hard work and achievements of others along the journey.

Choosing to adopt a Respair mindset isn’t ignoring the landscape, it’s charting a path through it for the benefit of all.


David Pountney

Optimist, business builder, hockey club president and occasional wine drinker 😵‍💫


New perspectives on Growth and Innovation. Delivered every Full Moon.


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