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Lucky or just good?

10.22.12

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Las Vegas? That’s right, gambling. Most visitors come to Vegas to get lucky at the tables or slots. Casinos bank on players’ willingness to take on bad risk – that’s what keeps the acres of marble floors polished and maintains the opulence that is Las Vegas.

During last week’s American Staffing Association Staffing World 2012 conference, the other 1600 attendees and I crossed a casino floor what seemed like every 5 minutes on our way to workshops, meetings and meals. I’m happy to report that I didn’t make the house any richer during my stay. I’m also happy to say that discussions around a different type of risk came up repeatedly during the show. Business risk.

Every business manages (and I use that term loosely) risk differently. Some play the penny slots, hoping to stay in the game as long as possible while others go bust. Others go all-in right away and either hit it big or flame out before the high rollers even arrive. The consensus during last week’s meetings was that a calculated approach balances risk and allows businesspeople to leverage their luck while keeping an eye on the long term prize.

Easier said than done, right? Isn’t luck something that just happens uncontrollably? Jim Collins offered his thoughts on this topic during his keynote address, which in my opinion hit the jackpot. He recommends pausing to embrace luck and use it as a tool to enhance your long term business planning. Instead of chalking up a ‘random’ event to luck, Collins suggests quantifying each ‘luck event’ in terms of how it happened and its impact on your business. Then, evaluate how your long-term plans could be adjusted to incorporate luck and continue doing what you do best.

Bottom line – luck happens. You can welcome it, analyze it and use it to your advantage, or let it pass you by. Now, off to take my own advice at the blackjack tables…

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