Planned Happenstance or Luck at Work

Planned Happenstance or Luck at Work

How Luck Matters At Work


Luck at work

© Terra King | Dreamstime Stock Photos

When it comes to efficiency and productivity, very few experts mention the importance of luck. As a former PR practitioner there have been so many occasions, for me, where PR coverage happened as a result of luck. Luck at work happens regularly. You get that double page spread because the previous case study dropped out. Your client’s book on Mary Queen of Scotts gets a review because it landed on the reviewer’s desk just at a time when they fancied reading something historical. You also got another client mentioned in that article because your press release on tax refunds landed in their inbox just when they were working on that same subject.

But this doesn’t mean that you can just sit back and let fate take its course. Pure luck at work isn’t enough.

The other magic ingredient here is something called Planned Happenstance. It’s a theory created by John Krumboltz and originally designed for career planning. The basic premise is that sometimes good things happen because you’re in the right place, at the right time.  In a career sense,  you can take this further by making sure that your CV is out there, you are working at your networking and attending events with an open mind as to who you might meet and what comes up.


Maximising Luck at Work

From a PR perspective this could translate into:

  • Getting material out to the press on a regular basis so that they remember your brand when they are covering XYZ and you fit the spec
  • Having a presence on social media. So, when someone asks if anyone knows someone who creates websites for architects, your social media contacts and fans can point them in your direction
  • Picking up the phone and talking to journalists, clients and contacts to create a connection that will help them bring you to mind in future
  • Connecting, whether that’s sharing helpful information, making people laugh with silly jokes and amusing stories, offering free courses or pairing connections
  • Staying flexible and open to what comes up

As business owners and professionals, this is something we probably instinctively know and. Krumboltz’s theory also asserts that we need to undergo regular self assessment, feedback and suggestions from others and financial planning. Yes, I know the last one sounds weird. However, if you consider that sensible financial planning means you won’t have to take on clients out of desperation, or miss valuable visibility opportunities because you’re touting for business and can’t justify the time, it makes more sense.

It’s good to ponder if we could actively pursue this as a strategy and ramp things up a bit. It’s bound to make life much more interesting…

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