“Serendipity” . Luck that takes the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that are not looked for. Websters Dictionary.
My old Dad used to say “Son, the harder I work, the luckier I get” and it has usually worked out that way.
It follows then that if you combine the definition of Serendipity and Dads old chestnut, Serendipity can be managed.
How you ask!
- Recognise that Serendipity is a state of mind rather than a quantitative outcome, and should be managed that way.
- It requires a management culture that has everyone working together, “alignment of strategy and activity” as a popular management article would probably purr. A utopian notion, but doable.
- Ensure there is “spare” time allocated to staff to pursue ideas, contribute to collaborative activities, and look for improvements. Personnel whose performance measures are quantitative box ticking exercises are unlikely to risk compromising their KPI’s by allocating time to potentially serendipitous pursuits.
- Provide the forums for casual and social interaction. This can be done in all sorts of ways from the way the offices are designed to organising staff picnics.
- Encourage the behaviours you are seeking by publicly recognising it when it happens. Financial and organisational rewards are of little value, but is the social rewards that really count.
- Trust and respect are critical components of productive collaboration. Neither can allocated, both need to be earned. “Ideo“, the creative agency has it nailed, one of their core values is “Make others successful”. When everyone works to make others successful, trust and respect follow, and the culture tends to expel anyone who does not work with that culture and its behaviours.
The great benefit if success in these endeavours is that it will make your place a great place to work, and that ends up attracting the best talent, attracting interesting, challenging and rewarding customers, and making good money. A virtuous circle.