How can your business achieve double-digit growth year after year after year?
It helps to be lucky.
Luck can make the difference between a great business and an ordinary one. It can also be what separates a mediocre operation from a failing one. But, contrary to popular belief, luck does not strike at random. It’s the product of how people—and even entire companies—behave. It’s just like the old saying goes: your business can make its own luck.
The proof comes from Richard Wiseman, a professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in England. Over the course of 10 years, he studied hundreds of people who considered themselves to be either exceptionally lucky or exceptionally unlucky. What he found and reported in his book, The Luck Factor: How to Increase Luck in Your Life, was that those who seemed to have good things happen to them with disproportionate frequency—in other words, the lucky people—apply four principles in their daily lives.
1. Lucky people maximize chance opportunities. Much of what happens to us on any given day is planned or expected. But much of it is a series of random events. According to Wiseman’s research, so-called lucky people turn those random events into opportunities by, say, striking up a conversation with a stranger on an elevator or working the room at a networking event. After all, you never know whether the next person you meet is going to be your next customer, employee or investor.
2. They listen to lucky hunches. Many of the most successful entrepreneurs credit their best business decisions to following their “gut.” That makes sense, given that “gut feel” is the hard-to-pin-down product of all your knowledge and experiences. However, the accuracy of your hunches improves in the absence of mental clutter. Lucky people tend to make their big decisions when they’re not under stress, overloaded with information or deprive of the time to “think it over.”
3. They expect good fortune. In other words, lucky people are optimists. This helps them persist in the face of failure and to have more positive interactions with other people and events. (See No. 1, above.)
4. They turn bad luck into good. For instance, the fortunate among us don’t dwell on misfortune; rather, they search for the positive in it. To lucky people, “every cloud has a silver lining” is religion, not cliché.
Most successful businesspeople already apply these four luck-making principles. The bigger question is whether your organization is doing these things. Check back next week, when I’ll explain how you can institutionalize the making of luck.