Vince Lombardi, the famed football coach of the Green Bay Packers made the statement, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” I believe wholeheartedly in this statement and believe that “luck” will come your way more often when you are prepared for multiple situations and conversely “bad luck” will be there when you are not prepared. It’s all a matter of probability.
In the board game backgammon, the object is to move your pieces off the board before your opponent does. The game relies on dice for the moves. Completely random, right? Yes – but the way you move your pieces makes certain rolls much better than others. The more options you present yourself within a given roll, the better that roll has the potential to become. Knowing different scenarios, knowing how your opponent plays, and knowing probabilities of different rolls can definitely influence your moves and therefore influence the game. Preparation meeting opportunity? Absolutely. You have made a situation where you gain an advantage and the randomness of the dice roll becomes less of a factor.
So, why this example and what does it have to do with my job?
Whether you are in production, customer service, accounting or management, you can’t control the randomness of your daily external factors. A customer will dictate his expectation regardless of the product you sell or the delivery you can achieve. Tolerance parts will either fit perfectly together or be tough to assemble. A competitor at your top account will cause a possible loss of business. You can only control how you prepare for as many situations as possible and how you handle yourself when those situations occur.
My job is in outside sales and at times I visit customers knowing exactly what to expect. Other times I am stopping by a customer for the first time and have no idea what will come my way. I recently read a book called “The Little Red Book of Selling” by Jeffrey Gitomer. Here the art of preparation is discussed. The last thing you want to do when calling on a new account is to go in and ask, “So what exactly does your company do?” With the age of the
The last thing you want to do when calling on a new account is to go in and ask, “So what exactly does your company do?” With the age of the Internet there is so much information at your fingertips. You can easily find out the products that they manufacture. Google the person you are meeting with to see if they have done anything interesting. It’s amazing what you may find out. Ask other people in your industry if they have had any dealings with the account to add some further insight.
These are the things I will do as they pertain to my job, but most of you reading this are not in outside sales. Take a few minutes and think what you can do from a preparation standpoint to make a difference in your job, and how it will affect the customer. It is all about differentiating ourselves from our competition; since the only long-term differentiator is people, we are the ones that need to make it happen.
If we take the approach that there is no good or bad luck we are much better off. There is certainly randomness in life that we cannot control. But we can control our condition, we can control our preparedness, we can control a lot in our everyday life that makes it much easier to benefit from randomness instead of suffering from it. Taking this outlook will not only benefit the company but more importantly you as a person. “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”.
This blog post was written by Scott Spangler, former Sales & Marketing Manager for the Duff-Norton Company.