Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Models of success

This morning I read a study in the Harvard Business Review that said that most companies that have been held up as models of success were actually probably just lucky (HBR, April 2009, p. 18). My daddy always said, "I'd rather be lucky than good."

I am curious about this because it often seems like business people wear blinders: they listen to anyone who has been successful and they are not often open to thinking until it has been "proven" by success. This seems sensible - until we look at different sources (include Gladwell's Outliers) that suggest that much success depends on context (another word for luck). This may be especially true in business. Certainly, given the incentive to produce replicable models for success and the number of minds at work at the problem, it is interesting that we have still have so little information about how to succeed in business.

The question I will ponder today is: where in my life do I see models of success and how do I know them when I see them?

And, since I'd rather be lucky than good: how do I increase the odds of being lucky?

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