Leadership, Luck, & Friday The 13th

Friday the 13th is here, and we get another one next month. Thoughts of Friday the 13th got me thinking about luck, so I decided to poke around among the writings of our Leading Voices to see what I could find. Lucky me, I found quite a few references to luck.

Sometimes we get to choose our teammates; other times external factors rule. Will Lukang looks back on his childhood basketball days and says, "What a great feeling to be picked first, but that’s not my luck as I’m not the best player and usually play a backup role." He goes on to explore the art and skill of building teams in Surrounding Yourself With The Right People, with a special eye to including people in your inner circle who have different skill sets than  you.

When you do hit the sweet spot of collaboration, luck means good fortune. Susan Mazza, in her article Can Collaboration Prevail, celebrates those who are lucky enough to experience the extraordinary intrinsic rewards of being part of a team, whether they experience it in school or at work.

Mike Henry, Sr., in his article Heroic Choices, discusses the difference between doing heroic things versus living as a hero. He asks: "Have you been lucky enough to get by with the heroic path yet?"

In preparing for the heroic path of war, Chip Bell wrote aboutChange Management Lessons From Eating Snakes & Rats. Ultimately, his post was not the jungle for which he trained, but the lessons stuck for a lifetime.

"I was lucky. The geography of the region of Vietnam where I served was much like the southeastern U.S. farmland where I grew up. While there were monsoons and tropical vegetation, there was no jungle. But, the superb Army Jungle School experience stayed with me. And, when I am asked by a senior leader to facilitate a large systems change, I find myself metaphorically thinking, 'How can we encourage queasy, skeptical employees to eat snakes and rats?'"

Here at Lead Change Group, we often talk about ways to measure results. Karin Hurt, in Great Leadership Produces Great Results, notes that results that can’t be replicated are luck.

Sometimes, we have to realize our own strengths, such as the situation Mary Schaefer described in Job Security - Change Your Mind, Change Your Life. She writes, "I learned from this experience that they were lucky to have me. I had a lot going for me whether I stayed or left. I would never feel at the mercy of this type of situation again."

In keeping with the theme of knowing your own strengths, Jane Perdue cautions against a self-effacing I was lucky when you are paid a compliment. In A Humblebrag Isn't The Answer, Jane explains, "Individuals might believe your denials and fail to give you credit when credit is due."

Lastly, I hope that this situation is a hypothetical for many of you, but as David Dye writes, in When Your Team Won't Work Together: "If you ask people to work together and then you tolerate obnoxious, conniving, bullying, abusive people, good luck."

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