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Lane Becker and Thor Muller divide businesses into two categories: companies that are lucky and companies that aren’t… just yet. According to them, luck doesn’t strike at random: it smiles first and foremost on people who are prepared for it. The authors’ advice to leaders is to develop their abilities to unearth new opportunities and create climates conducive to serendipity at all levels of their business!

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Cultivate a serendipitous state of mind
When life smiles on leaders, it’s not something they left to chance: they had to have worked for it. Here are three practical tips for cultivating a more serendipitous of state of mind:
• Get moving to break out of routines: The first skill to work on to become serendipitous – the art of finding something that you were not looking for – is the ability to keep your mind in motion and be prepared to move in new environments.
• Sharpen your curiosity: Our brains don’t all react to the same information in the same way. Some of us stow information away in a drawer; others take it out when the time comes to make connections with other pieces of information and build some projects
• Look after your contacts: The world today offers us limitless opportunities for making contacts. Everything that we could possibly need is out there somewhere – either just a few clicks away or even in the office next door…

Get luck on the side of your company
It’s all very well when a leader seizes opportunities… but it’s even better when the whole company does!
• Bring down barriers: The development of tools and techniques is needed to promote the flow of information and contribute to the building of productive relationships within a company. It’s also equally important to create the same dynamic outside the company, starting with customers and strategic partners.
• Prepare the ground for serendipity: build an inspiring work environment where teams are invited to express themselves, and where leaders are receptive and constructive with the objective of creating an inspriring work environment that encourages collaborators to get involved

Luck is rooted in motion!
Serial entrepreneur Umit Eraran thinks that opportunity is rooted in motion, and literally so. “Luck never comes knocking at your door: you have to go and look for it,” he says, sometimes even to the other end of the world. Eraran’s own experiences have taken him to South Korea, China and, more recently, Singapore. Although there have been a couple of nasty adventures along the way, he has also had some wonderful opportunities that have more to do with daring than chance

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Make your own luck!

Based on Get Lucky: How to Put Planned Serendipity to Work for You and Your Business by Thor Muller and Lane Becker (Jossey-Bass, April 2012), Éloge de la chance: ou l’art de prendre sa vie en main by Philippe Gabillet (Saint-Simon, April 2012), and the interview with Umit Eraran, CEO of Shenzu Consulting, Singapore, April 2013.
Business Digest nº 236, May 2013

Watch the video
Thor Muller talks about planned serendipity and how your company can retain the magic of a startup

As companies grow, they risk losing their flexibility. But this does not have to happen, says Get Lucky co-author Thor Muller. He asserts that with practice, you can create serendipity. The important thing is to keep thinking like an entrepreneur.