The Point: At Tip of the Spear, we’ve seen our fair share of leaders that are “blind squirrels” that somehow find a nut! Simultaneously frustrating and emotionally draining, these episodes had us wondering: “What if you were both lucky and good?” As such, the following post is aimed at providing you (the leader who no-doubt needs no luck) with three leadership action plans that when taken provide consistently higher results… Enjoy (and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!)
“Uh uh. I know what you’re thinking. ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’ Well to tell you the truth in all this excitement I kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow you head clean off, you’ve gotta ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?“
“Dirty” Harry Callahan – Dirty Harry (1971)
Can the Luck of the Irish Help?
Clint Eastwood as “Dirty” Harry said it, but it bears repeating: “Do you feel lucky?” When it comes to leadership, should you allow luck to enter into the equation of your day-to-day management of your operation? While most of us would argue that it is in fact better to be lucky, rather than good, we certainly don’t want to rely on lady-luck to smile upon us too frequently (Read that as a sure-fire recipe for disaster!) As such, what follows are three leadership action plans (or steps) you can take to rely less on the aforementioned lady-luck, the luck of the Irish, or rubbing your rabbits foot:
Play the Process Odds
If you know that a good process (one that is well detailed out, communicated properly, and has accountability steps) is in place, you can feel relatively certain that the odds of consistent outcomes occurring will be high. Likewise, you also can probably guess that poor processes have a less likelihood of occurring consistently (but nonetheless do occur some of the time). As such, as a leader, ensure that you take note of such outcomes (and processes!) in order to play the process odds regarding what the outcomes will be. Since these good processes offer the highest probability of occurring over time, bet on them.
Follow a Checklist
Using a checklist consistently will ensure that you follow a good process repeatedly. As such, the “good” process should produce similar “good” outcomes. For example, an airplane pilot can be seen prior to departure walking around the plane checking items off on a checklist (They similarly review a checklist inside the cockpit). These checklists ensure that pilots follow all vetted procedures consistently prior to each/every flight without fail. Similarly, there’s probably a checklist that you could develop to mimic these pre-flight rituals for your operation in some form/fashion.
The Skill and Luck Correlation Effect
There may however be those processes that defy logic (or the odds). In these instances, recognize that there might not only be lady-luck playing her part, but also a certain level of skill on the part of the participant. The greater the amount of skill that is displayed, the more likely that you will be able to determine the odds of the process occurring repeatedly in the future. Important to note here is that it may often be difficult to determine skill levels.
So are you better off as a leader being lucky than good? If you play the process odds, follow a checklist to repeat proven processes/procedures, and identify the skill and luck correlation, your odds of not needing luck will dramatically improve! Being a leader, you should avoid putting yourself in position where you have to rely on luck. But go ahead, make my day… Ask yourself ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do you?
PS – You may also enjoy some of the other recent posts I wrote:
- The Leadership Challenge: Can You Drive the Development of Leaders Who Transform Your Business?
- What’s Inside Your Leadership Time Capsule?
- The Leadership Challenge: 10 Characteristics to Develop Your Executive Presence
- The Leadership Challenge: Happy New Year! Now What?
- Leadership Amnesia: Should You Forget the Past to Move Forward to a Better Future?
- The Leadership Challenge: Are Your SMART Goals DUMB?
- The Leadership Challenge: Are You Climbing the Leadership Mountain?
- The Leadership Challenge: They Want You To Fail! 8 Leadership Tips to Overcome Failure
- The Leadership Challenge: Do You Exercise Your Moral Muscle?
- The Leadership Challenge: Conducting Post-Mortem Reviews
Sam Palazzolo is the Managing Director at Tip of the Spear Ventures, an agile Venture Capital and Business Advisory Services firm specializing in Executive Coaching, Leadership Development, and Communication Skills Training for Leaders.