when results are checked

Results are checked on two occasions — not to be confused with the hit record of The Deele — either when things are really bad or really good.

When things are bad, it’s a matter of assessing the situation and knowing when to brace for impact. When things are good, it’s more of a morale boost and a quick affirmation that things are peachy.

The middle somehow seems less appealing.

With an abominable retention rate, HR managers kind of know what’s going on. With an incredible company culture that oozes out employee engagement, HR managers might even go on a keynote tour sharing their story with the world.

The middle is, however, where it gets at least equally interesting.

Monitoring average results in the middle enable you to anticipate. For better or worse. Chance favors the prepared mind.

success requires no explanation

“Success requires no explanation; failures must be doctored with alibis.” That’s what Napoleon Hill said. In my mind, that translates to explaining how success came to be, in hindsight, is easy. However, a multitude of factors undeniably played a role in achieving success—timing and location, among many others. Failure, on the other hand, is equally easy to explain. Post-rationalizing everything that went wrong, coming up with an explanation and excuse at the same time.

One is, however, more honest than the other. At least, if you take away the blaming aspect from explaining the failure. For instance, the product failed because the customers were too stupid to understand how to use the product. Considering that the market is always right, externalizing the blame doesn’t provide a fertile environment where learning opportunities are plentiful. In short, the product maker was too stupid and arrogant to make a product customers wouldn’t be able to understand.

Why is explaining success sometimes dishonest? Because the need for rationalization is smaller. Both from an internal and external point of view.

When people fail, we try to look for answers within to make peace or amends. Other times, the outside world demands explanations.
When people succeed, the need for answers is reduced.

Success to me is understanding failure, without blaming anything or anyone, on the one hand, combined with understanding, rationally, why success manifested itself on the other hand.

analyzing randomness

Even though people attribute lots of time and attention to specific events, almost religiously, predicting the outcome of said events requires no skills or unique insight.

Take a football match. Connaisseurs will have theories for days, predicting what will happen or rationalizing what has occurred.

Little do they know, it’s all random.

Two goals. That’s the number of goals with the highest probability to be scored throughout a match. Provided that the two teams are well matched. Other than that, predicting which team will win is mathematically impossible.

Maybe that’s what makes it interesting?

Events that can’t be expressed in a statistical model shouldn’t be analyzed statistically.

question mismatch

Sometimes, we get asked the wrong questions. Not a simple yes or no question in this case. A question that requires an answer in the form or shape of a report, document, or plan. A wrong question, not in the sense that the topic is sensitive or taboo. Wrong in the sense that the resulting answer is probably not going to be satisfactory.

Maybe you get asked to develop a certain plan, one that you know will be obsolete instantly. Perhaps the question hasn’t taken current legislation into account. Do you answer the question, or do you come up with an alternative question and answer the latter instead?

If possible, do both. Answer the question the way it’s being asked, but have your alternative answer ready.

crash and drown

Some things in life can’t be tried; they can only be done. Pilots can’t try to take off from an aircraft carrier and hope for the best. They either become airborne or go for a very expensive and potentially lethal swim.

Training for take-off and landing from a ship in the ocean doesn’t happen out on the ocean (initially). It starts in a classroom, studying the procedure theoretically. Followed by training in a simulator. Aspiring pilots can move on to the real deal once they’ve acquired enough virtual experience. Practicing on airstrips on land first, only then can they move on to an actual aircraft carrier.

Manoeuvres your business can only perform once, for instance, signing an exclusivity deal, should be analyzed appropriately.

Two sneaker brands tell us to “just do it” because “impossible is nothing.” An excellent mindset to adopt provided the initiatives won’t damage your brand. If that’s the case, by all means, don’t hesitate. Experiment and learn. If it’s a silver bullet, hit or miss initiative, look for ways to simulate the outcome first.