When you’re just a lucky so-and-so

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

From their unique vantage point working with rocket scientists at NASA, two budding managers learned how to handle luck, good and bad.

Here’s their take on optimizing your chances for good luck and minimizing the effects of bad luck:

  1. Winners in business prepare themselves and their staffs to handle unpredictable events. Then they say, “We were just lucky.”
  2. When something unforeseen happens, they snap it up and exploit it. They equate a problem with an opportunity.
  3. How do you exploit bad luck? When people let you down, equipment fails or the market turns, you need emergency plans in place and you need to have practiced them. If your goals change, act quickly to stop your losses.
  4. How do you exploit good luck? Stay on the lookout for great individuals or teams becoming available just as funding comes online. Maintain your professional network. Keep your thinking cap on so you can identify completely new processes.

—Adapted from Optimizing Luck, Thomas Meylan and Terry Teays, Davies-Black Publishing.

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Terry Teays November 29, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Thanks for the note about Optimizing Luck. Many people have found our down to earth advice useful in their management endeavors. We spent a lot of time distilling our own management experience, in a variety of venues, to develop a succinct description of why things worked well (or didn’t). Luck Optimization & Fault Tolerant systems is what came out of it. (And yes, we know that luck optimization is an oxymoron in a mathematical sense.) We also happen to believe that management isn’t about perks, corner offices, etc., but is in fact hard work, if done right.

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