“There was no such thing as luck. Luck was a word idiots used to explain the consequences of their own rashness, and selfishness, and stupidity. More often than not bad luck meant bad plans.” – Joe Abercrombie
Today’s quote is a little harsh, which I suppose is to be expected when you take a quote from a writer of fantasy novels. But harsh or not (I really don’t think you’re idiots), I agree with the premise. There are a lot of leaders, and by extension, organizations, who blame bad luck when the reality is simply that they’ve made the bed they’re lying in through their own poor decision making & planning.
Not too long ago I was working with a client who complained that their lack of growth was directly attributable to a lack of quality people (it largely was) and that the reason for the lack of quality people was bad luck in hiring. As we talked, it became clear that this organization had no hiring process and didn’t clearly understand or define what kind of people they wanted. Bad luck? Or bad planning?
Unfortunately, that sort of thing is all too common. People complain about the results and how they just “can’t catch a break”. MAKE YOUR OWN BREAKS! If you’ve had bad luck in hiring, figure out what you can do better. If you don’t like the quality of customers you have, make a plan for how you’re going to get better ones. If you are struggling to beat a competitor, make a plan for how you’re going to beat them. Don’t just blame luck.
The reality is that blaming luck may not make you an idiot, but it does mean you’re either in denial or totally clueless. You are responsible for your outcomes. If you don’t like the outcomes you’re getting, figure out what you’re going to do differently. Take the time to understand what you want your world to look like, then figure out what steps you need to take to get there. Yes, they’ll change as you go. Yes, you’ll have to remain flexible. But at least by thinking it through you’ll give yourself a chance for success.