A Daily Dispatch from the Front Lines of Leadership.


Making Your Own Luck

Essentially, all decisions are bets. If luck weren’t involved, the best poker players would win every time. The same is true for leaders. If not for chance and unpredictable influences, the smartest leaders would always make the right decision. For decision-makers, luck is either a negative, or a necessary ally. The best decision-makers strike a truce with luck by incorporating it into their decision process.

Face the facts. You can’t outsmart luck. In fact, the smarter you are, the better you are at confirming what you already believe and pretending luck won’t confound the outcome. Yet, random forces appear when you least expect them, turning a wise choice into a wildly bad decision. Luck reveals information no one predicted and at the worse possible moment. Knowing this is your savior.

The best decision-makers presume the unforeseen and the unlucky. The critical skill required to master luck is not to predict it, but to expect it. The flexibility to respond to and capitalize on unpredictable changes is how the best leaders tame luck.

You make your own luck when you are prepared to play any cards you are dealt. The essential skill is the ability to react and adapt to whatever randomness throws at you. Planning for unexpected contingencies is a good start, but luck requires leaders to adapt on the fly. Knowing you will have to adjust in a moment’s notice is half the battle.

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