In business as in so many contexts, we hear others say “Some people have all the luck”. Well, is that so? Are some people just lucky or is it something else? What is luck? Is it all pure chance?
I am writing the week after Chelsea won the Champions League, which to the uninitiated is the European (Soccer) Club Tournament. Pundits and fans of other clubs, including those defeated by Chelsea, have said that Chelsea were not good enough to win the competition. A lot of this criticism has emanated from the club’s ultra-defensive approach.
So apparently Chelsea have been lucky to defeat and get past the following clubs: Valencia, Napoli, Benfica, Barcelona and Bayern Munich? Can a football team be that lucky? I don’t think so. Especially in the latter stages of the competition it was all about management and planning. Oh yes, and hard work.
Riding the wave
Is Mark Zuckerberg lucky? He is a multi-billionaire following the recent public offering of Facebook shares. Was he lucky because he had an idea? No, he had an idea and saw a demand. He developed his website, he rolled it out from Harvard to other colleges and universities. He adapted what had become a business. He and his partners thought on their feet. They got investment when they thought they needed it.
Heaven knows how many internet businesses have tried and failed because they didn’t look for an investor or finance when they were still on the crest of a wave.
The Facebook gang worked on their business. They understood the demand. They are phenomenally successful, but they are not lucky. Winning the lottery is lucky. Knowing how to ride their particular wave was not luck.
We all have different talents with which to run our particular businesses. We are not successful through luck. We succeed through working hard, making the right business decisions, and getting help when we need it, whether that be advice, hands-on assistance or finance.
Saying someone is lucky in business can be an excuse for our own failings, but an excuse is not a reason. Success is in our own hands, isn’t it?