We down play the role of luck in achieving success. Parents teach their children that if you try hard enough almost anything is possible. This is a lie. But understandable since unless you try your best few goals in life are achievable.
Senior managers may truly believed they deserve to be where they are because they are only to aware of how hard they had to work and the obstacles they had to over come to get there. However lots of people work hard and the obstacles some people face are much bigger.
I had a false start I trained as a teacher but didn’t teach. Instead I when to work in a social service children’s home largely because it offered accommodation with the job. I enjoyed being with the kids but after a couple of years I realised I was going no where. At a New Year’s Eve party with some friends from college one of them told me about a trainee social worker scheme she was on. It sounded just what I was looking for, still working with kids but a career and the pay and status not given to residential workers. There were no places on that trainee scheme but I also wrote to Birmingham SSD as I had a friend who lived in the city. They accepted me on their scheme.
Whilst on a practise placement I had a very positive experience of working with children with a leaning disability. My trainee scheme guaranteed me a post on completing the course, so after lectures one afternoon, towards the end of the course , I called in at the local area office to ask the recently promoted manager from my placement for a job. I had a very specific job in mind an innovative role that I had seen work well on my placement. He didn’t have a vacancy. But he knew of one, not with kids but with older people. He took me to the office across the corridor and introduced me to the manager for services to older people saying I was a returning trainee looking for the type of post he believed the team had just created. After a coffee and a chat I was offered the post. I said what about an interview and he said this counts as the interview.
Just two examples of being in the right place at the right time.
If this all sounds too smooth then my next lucky break came following the disappointment of not getting the area managers job I desperately wanted and thought I was strongly qualified for. On the rebound I applied for a secondment. Despite my lack of project management experience the interview panel took a risk and appointed me . It turned out to be a spring board into senior management, raising my profile, moving me out of my comfort zone and giving me experience of working across agencies and managing people from range of professional backgrounds.
Talent needs to be spotted in order for it to be developed, opportunities need to be created before they can be grasped, confidence needs to be built in order to make the most of talent, graft and opportunity. The individual needs to be in the right place at the right time for all this to come together in the right way. In other words work hard, work smart and be lucky.
Blair Mcpherson former Director ,author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk