Luck Insurance

We have a picnic table in front of our Atlanta-based Supply Chain company’s corporate office that borders hundreds of acres of public woodlands. It is where this CEO frequently takes a meeting and shares his humidor stock with attendees. These sessions usually begin at the end of the day and go late into the evening.

Picture this; It’s Thursday at 4:45 pm. CEO, CFO, COO, all standing around the table in rapid fire conversation; 3 cigars, 4 urgent decisions, all unrelated. Soon it’s 2 down, 2 to go. It’s now 4:52. Shiny black sport sedan pulls in. Sharply dressed young man emerges and approaches the front door. CEO’sspider sense is tingling. He stops the young buck as he reaches for the door, and invites him into their lair. He is apparently there to cold call the plant manager on a commodity spend. He’s 50 miles from his office, 30 miles from home. Turns out he has intense operation management experience in supply chain and has recently moved into sales. Sharp kid, real sharp. 

Backstory: The 4th topic the C’s were there to discuss that afternoon was the urgent need for an Atlanta sales professional. The problem has always been finding the sales talent that could recognize specific supply chain opportunity within customer processes, a rare trait usually only found in sales pros with deep operations experience. In addition to target account selling,  our business success also requires that someone on the sales staff possess a diligent cold call commitment to flush out unknown monster clients. Bingo.

Being in the right place at the right time.  Is it because of luck? Sometimes. Or is it that you were in five times as many places as the others so you “created” your luck. Was it luck getting a promotion because the boss happened to be there alone with you late one night, and liked your ideas?  Or was it because your work ethic got you there early, and kept you there later than everyone else EVERY DAY and it was bound to happen anyway.

I read a very insightful piece very early in my career. It explained the one common difference between successful and non successful people. The simplicity amazed me, and yet, once applied, proved to be acutely accurate. Simply this – successful people are willing to do the things that non successful people are not. Period. Because they are so rare, they will ALWAYS be noticed, no fail.

I call it luck insurance. Many people say “good luck” to me in many situations.  I just smile and nod. I never see luck playing a part of it,  other than us eliminating all potential demons and dragons from the equation by applying all energy and resource to the opportunities, known and unknown. By practicing this diligent regimen, it seems Lady Luck grants her favors on us more frequently. Here’s the secret; we buy luck insurance.

Know this, luck insurance cannot be bought with money. The currency of the protection is sweat, grit, perseverance. And to finish the thought, luck will always be found in the answers to these questions, regardless of the context:

What am I missing?

What could possibly go wrong?

What can I do better?

That young buck not only bought luck insurance for his current compensation, but quite probably for his career. Stay tuned …

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