What’s Luck Got to Do with It?

Posted: April 30, 2017 in Readiness & Strategy
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By Richard Martin

If you’re a regular reader of my newsletters and blogs, you know that I put a lot of emphasis on preparing for the worst while hoping for the best. However, this week I’d like to look a bit closer at the positive end of luck and uncertainty. Specifically, how can we generate good luck? How can we put randomness in our favour? The answer is that you we have to take chances, and put ourselves in a position for something to happen. Call it the dynamic mindset versus the static mindset.

The great Florentine poet Dante had a special place on the outskirts of hell for those who had never risked anything in their lives. They had always strived for neutrality and what they perceived as security, so they were doomed in the afterlife to an eternity of blandness, neither knowing great suffering nor great elation. They were just blobs, like those in limbo.

Teddy Roosevelt expressed the dynamic mindset best: The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, …who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

In other words, you can’t make progress, grow, or achieve great things, without taking risks. That’s what “being in the arena” means. You can’t score if you don’t take a shot, and you can’t take a shot if you’re not on the ice. One of my clients once asked me if I could guarantee success if he implemented my recommendation. I said I could not, but that I could on the other hand guarantee what would happen if he didn’t act on it: nothing would change, and the situation could possibly even get worse.

We face these situations every day. What if I call a prospect and they hang up on me? Well, what if they don’t? What will you do then? Maybe you get a “no” 9 times out of ten, but it’s the “yes” 1 out of ten times that counts. And by actually doing something, you can practise, get better, and improve your results. You could even double them, going from 1 to 2 out of ten saying yes!

It is said that most projects are failures, either coming in over budget, over time, or with quality below expectations, or a combination of these three. And yet, we have bridges, buildings, tunnels, rockets, new drugs, new companies, new products and services, and inventions being built and achieved every day. If most projects are failures, why do we have so much accumulated capital and knowledge?

It’s because someone took a chance, put themselves in the arena, risked failure, but also created opportunity for success. They looked at the end result as the measure of success and achievement, not some arbitrary criteria based on a budgetary projection or an implementation calendar. They accepted that there would be setbacks, and kept on moving forward. In other words, they took chances and generated some good luck along the way.

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“Richard has been instrumental in getting me to draw on my hard-won experience and ideas to turn them into marketable intellectual property and products. His disciplined, systematic approach has already led to several significant accomplishments for me. Whether you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur, or working to get to the next level, Richard can boost your productivity and organizational effectiveness. Be forewarned, though. There is no magic formula, just systematic thinking, disciplined execution, and… Richard Martin.”

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Richard Martin’s Business Readiness Process:

  1. Ensure vigilance through situational awareness.
  2. Do preliminary assessment of tasks and time.
  3. Activate organization or team.
  4. Conduct reconnaissance.
  5. Do detailed situational estimate.
  6. Conduct wargame and decide on optimal course(s) of action.
  7. Perform risk management and contingency planning.
  8. Communicate plan and issue direction.
  9. Build organizational robustness.
  10. Ensure operational continuity.
  11. Lead and control execution.
  12. Assess performance.

Contact me to apply the whole thing–or just a piece, as needed–to improve your strategy, your readiness… and your results!

Did you know that an infantry battalion only needs about 3 to 4 hours of prep and planning time to be battle ready? What are you waiting for to get the same benefits for your outfit?

Why Sunday and What Does “Stand To” Mean?

Sunday? I want you to get my insights and advice first and fast, so you can prepare and up your readiness and results before others even know what’s happening!

And Stand To? It’s the order used in the military to get forces to man the parapets and be in a heightened state of situational awareness and, yes, readiness, so they can face any threat or undertake any mission.

My name is Richard Martin and I’m an expert on applying readiness principles to position companies and leaders to grow and thrive by shaping and exploiting change and opportunity, instead of just passively succumbing to uncertainty and risk.

© 2017 Alcera Consulting Inc. This article may be used for non-commercial use with proper attribution.

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