Musings on Leadership – Planned Serendipity

Jurassic Gargoyle, Dorset

Image by flatworldsedge via Flickr

In this Musings on Leadership I look at Planned Serendipity – break throughs that lead to chance, or chance leading to creativity a definition orginally from neurologist James H. Austin. In Wendy Lea‘s interview with Thor Muller and Lane Becker co-authors of Get Lucky: How to Put Planned Serendipity to Work for You and Your Business they explain Planned Serendipity as luck you have created not just “dumb luck” we all say we had at some point. More importantly it is what companies like Google and 3M attribute success to. So how can leaders encourage this mindset? Here is what Muller and Becker had to say…

What are some tips for leaders who want to communicate the “get lucky” attitude to their employees?

Leaders need to encourage employees to have outside interests and give them reason to keep learning and be passionate about work. Take Google, which gives employees time to work on unrelated projects while they’re at work. That type of freedom always pays off. Beyond that, leaders need to make it clear that new ideas will be heard. That’s easy at smaller companies. At larger companies, the message needs to be very clear that employees are encourage to speak up, be creative and offer suggestions. That’s when structure comes into place. You might need to create a system or software that makes it easier to communicate. Whatever it takes, make sure that hotel lobby includes your customers, employees and maybe even the random mad scientist who could be harboring the next billion-dollar idea….more at Who Needs Luck? Try Planned Serendipity

So what is the biggest obstacle in planned serendipity?


“I’m scared” “I’m not trusting my instinct” “What if I fail?”    That voice inside your head  -it’s dangerous.   It never forgets anything, all the way back to when you messed up in Kindergarten and got called out by the teacher in front of everybody.  All those embarrassments and insecurities, buried beneath your dreams.  That’s the YOU you need to always be aware of, and the awareness itself it what will save you.   Because your instincts ARE good, and as a dreamer, you’ve already taken some of the hardest steps.    For us, it’s “coming to terms” with our fear that will keep it at arms length.  I wrote a letter to fear that really helped me, and I would encourage you to do the same thing, as crazy as it sounds.  Trust yourself,  and all of those internal barriers will fall away….More at The 3 People That Stand In Your Way Of Business Success (and How To Push Them Aside)

It wasn’t luck that created the light bulb it was the thousands of creative ways Thomas Edison tried before his success. He had the choice to focus on his obstacles or to focus on what he wanted to create. He chose forward focus, putting his efforts and choices towards his focus of providing us with the light bulb not the obstacles in his path. Forward Focus is a great way to look at planned serendipity. I would further Muller and Becker’s definition of planned serendipity - to luck we create through forward focus on our ideas.

Check back for the next Musings on Leadership - in the mean time find the focus for yourplanned serendipity.

And I always found that the harder I worked, the better my luck was, because I was prepared for that.


More Reading




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>