“Every opportunity is attached to a person. Opportunities do not float like clouds in the sky. They’re attached to people. If you’re looking for an opportunity — including one that has a financial payoff — you’re really looking for a person.”Entrepreneur and investor Ben Casnocha, Source: James Clear’s (excellent!) weekly newsletter
My life is an example of this quote in action. The most transformational opportunities in my life have come to me through people. I would not be teaching at IESE without Brian Leggett opening the door for me… not just to teaching, but even to the idea that I might be able to teach. I would not be involved with Vistage without Verne Harnish.
In both of these cases, I didn’t even know that the opportunity even existed. I was not looking for the opportunity. It took the vision of the other person to see a path for me that I would never have seen myself.
The power of people luck is that others can often see an opportunity that you cannot see yourself.
Return on Luck (especially People luck)
I had the privilege to meet Jim Collins a few years back in San Diego. A powerful idea that Jim has shared is “Return on Luck”. Over several years, Jim and his team investigated the hypothesis that “successful people/companies are just luckier”. They defined what it would mean for a life event to be considered “luck”:
A luck event is one that meets 3 criteria:
- not predictable
- has consequences
- outside of my control
Jim and his team looked at successful and unsuccessful companies, and leaders, and identified every luck event that had occurred. They found no difference in the absolute number of luck events.
Successful People & Companies are not Luckier
There is no difference in the absolute number of luck events in the lives of successful or unsuccessful companies or leaders.
However, Jim and his team did find a difference in what happened after the luck event… Once luck happens… how do you respond?
Jim calls this “Return on luck”. Once a “luck event” has happened, there is a big difference in how successful and unsuccessful companies and leaders respond.
The luck event happens… then what? You meet the girl of your dreams and say “Nice to meet you” or you say “I want a coffee, will you join me?” You meet a key person in the company you dream of working for… what do you do with this moment?
When something lucky happens in your life, do you seize it and take action? Are consistently getting prepared for future luck events in your life?
Dwight Eisenhower taught military strategy for years at West Point… when he accidentally got the chance to present his ideas to General Patton after Pearl Harbour, he had been practicing for years how to present a military strategy. He turned a chance meeting into a promotion to general, and then on to President of the United States.
Jim says that the most valuable type of luck is People luck… and knowing how to create a Return on People Luck is transformative.
How to be open to people luck? How to create a return on People luck? These are my questions…
Ingredients to increasing people luck:
- Meet more people
- make a better first impression
- share your life vision in a way that others wish to help
- bring opportunities into other people’s lives (introduce them to others, think about who and what you know that could help others, ask good questions to find out what they are seeking)
- thank anyone that helps you (written note better than an email)
- have a blog, youtube channel, articles, posts on linkedin that consistently clarify who you are and where you are going
- join organisations where great people bring interesting opportunities (business schools, Vistage, EO, YPO, Rotary)
- speak on stages at conferences
- what else?
Ingredients to increase return on people luck:
- learn who they are – ask better questions – become deeply curious
- be trustworthy (the trust equation)
- become better at demonstrating your appreciation
- create more opportunities that you can offer to others
- what else?
3 Recommendations from Jim Collins:
- Seek clarity. Clarity of speaking comes from consistently writing your ideas down
- Choose Excellence. Excellence is the fruit of a conscious decision and commitment to long term disciplines (that are not easy for anybody)
- Seek Evidence. Evidence matters (especially in living our own lives)
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