The Serendipity of Success

You have a great business plan. You know exactly how much money you expect to make next year, who your first hire will be, and even where you expect market trends to be in the next three years. 

Can I borrow you crystal ball?

By all measures, planning, careful analysis, and extensive groundwork should guarantee a successful business. But in our unpredictable world, prediction and planning are not the only elements at play in the wooly world of business-building.

Frans Johansson, author of the Click Moment argues that chance is a major determining factor in whether or not a business will succeed. 

“The reason is that the rules of the game–whether you’re an artist or a scientist or a startup–are not locked. They can change. And because they can change, we start to have difficulties for predicting what’s going to work,” says Johansson.

“That means that whenever I lay out a plan, whenever I analyze how to become successful, when I sort of draw up a strategy, I am very likely to be wrong. And that means that if I reach success, it’s not because of what the plan said, it’s because of something unexpected.” (thanks!)

He believes that behind every major success is something totally serendipitous. An unexpected run-in with someone who becomes your mentor for example, or maybe a chance conversation with a customer that inspires you to take a new approach to an old way of doing what you’ve always done.

For Johansson it’s a lot like love. People are always looking for that chance encounter when the stars align and they meet ‘the one’ and feel a spark. You can’t plan for it, but in matters of the heart you depend it.

It’s the same in love as business. Even though you may plan for everything, you never know when lightning is going to strike, and the most successful businesses are ready to whip out their conductors and turn chance into power in a millisecond.

In the race to set yourself apart from the herd, you need to have a plan, but you need to keep your plan adaptable and even be ready to toss it out all together when opportunity knocks. 

How has serendipity played a role in your success?


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