Is it possible that what we attribute to foresight, brilliance and the power of strategic planning is really a function of randomness, serendipity and luck?
Author Frans Johansson says, unequivocally, "Yes."
In his book "The Click Moment: Seizing Opportunity in an Unpredictable World" (Portfolio/Penguin), Johansson makes the case for uncovering the role of circumstance and the effects of the unexpected in business success.
Citing examples from Microsoft, Nokia, fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg and blockbuster products like the Rubik's Cube, he shares stories that support his premise: the world is highly unpredictable and following a formula may be counterproductive. Instead, we need to look for those "click moments" when opportunity meets change.
Johansson defines a "click moment" as that combination of luck and timing that, if we're paying attention, can open up a new world--or, as in the case of Nokia, cost us dearly. He suggests ways to purposefully introduce randomness into our lives, our careers and our organizations. Luck favors the curious, he writes, because "curiosity is the way your intuition tells you that something interesting is going on." Fortunes like Microsoft have been built on those moments and he tells us how.
From creating click moments to placing "purposeful bets" (small risks, calibrated over time) and respecting the complex forces that can set whole movements into play, the author instructs us on how to be alert to incidental events that move us toward our goals. "Create a focused plan to court randomness," Johansson advises. This paradox can help us contribute our products, services and ideas in the most unexpected and profitable ways.
• Vickie Austin is a business and career coach, author and professional speaker. She hosts "Biz Books Review" the third Tuesday of every month at the Wheaton Public Library. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.