Find and Nurture Luck – In Yourself and Your Team

Have you ever noticed how some people are just luckier than others. They always find great deals, meet interesting people who open doors on cool opportunities and come up with the brilliant, game changing ideas.

I’m practical and don’t believe that some people are just born under the right alignment of stars. Luck is something real to be sure, but maybe it’s something that we can develop in ourselves – and it’s definitely something that we can look for when we hire for our teams.

The theme of the 2017 StartUp Fest in Montreal earlier this month was Luck. There was an incredible line-up of keynote speakers, many of whom spoke about their experience with luck. Here are some thoughts that stuck with me, and that relate directly to how we can build our teams.

Luck isn’t just about being in the right place at the right time.

It’s about being open to the opportunities that are presented to us in the everyday. That right place and time? The lucky people weren’t there alone, but they were the ones to see the opportunity. Lucky people will engage in interesting conversations, and will pay attention to things that are not always relevant to the task at hand. They are positive and curious.

Opportunities will be presented to everyone, but the lucky person will recognize it and will have the courage to change course and grab it.

The lucky person says yes more than they say no. They will abandon routine to try a new way, and will risk failure. And if they fail, they’ll try again.

If you don’t expose yourself to chance, you can’t possibly be lucky.

Which doesn’t mean that you should take your paycheque to the casino. But it does mean that you will only be lucky if you sometimes take your focus off a task, consider a different and better way and a new destination.

There are some really interesting lessons here for all companies. If you want your business to be lucky, just hire people who show the characteristics of the lucky. Sounds too simple to be true? Even without any science, it’s just logical that if you only hire lucky people that they will bring that luck to your team.

We can all think of companies that were set on a specific outcome and route, that had so much focus on the task and destination that they missed market signals that were obvious to others. Jobs with these (usually big) companies seemed safe and predictable, but in hindsight we know that having one of these jobs was most unlucky.

If you want to hire and inspire the lucky, you need to create an environment that enables your lucky people to see opportunity and change their path. You need to allow risk and failure, and listen up when they hear a signal from the market. You need to foster positivity, be open to alternate ways of working and new ideas, and you need to encourage and seek different perspectives.

Now get out there and get lucky!