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Creating 16 good fortune? I’ll settle for one, as a start

By Dan Rockwell?

Ask any successful person how they achieved success and many will mention good fortune.

Some will say, “I was lucky.” (Napoleon believed that some generals were just Not lucky persons)

For instance:

Jay Elliot told me he met Steve Jobs in the waiting area of a restaurant after leaving Intel for a job at a start-up. The start-up failed. Jay had no job.

Andy Grove, Intel’s president and Jay’s former boss, gave Jay this parting message, “You’re making a big mistake – Apple isn’t going anywhere.”

Jay became a V.P. at Apple and Jobs’ right hand man. Steve was twenty-five. It was just months before Apple went public.


I say luck is when an opportunity comes along and you’re prepared for it. (Denzel Washington)

The Sweet 16 of creating good fortune:

  1. Stay open. The thing you seek may not be the thing you find.
  2. Keep asking questions. (Intently listening for the opportunities?)
  3. Look for favorable circumstances. People see what they look for.
  4. Set direction and goals; they help you understand favorable winds.
  5. Adapt to favorable opportunities that aren’t perfect.
  6. Keep moving forward even if direction changes.
  7. Prepare for adversity.
  8. Embrace turbulence; it opens hearts and minds.
  9. Let go of failure.
  10. Talk opportunities. Talking problems elevates and validates them. The more you talk about problems the more problems you see.
  11. Learn from mistakes.
  12. Push through resistance.
  13. Disregard convenient activities; do what is right.
  14. Build a network of friends.
  15. Ask for advice, a lot. Seek out experts and others who share your experiences and vision.
  16. Express gratitude.

Bonus: Do your best where you are.

Successful leadership includes good fortune. I don’t believe in luck but good fortune isn’t always an accident.

How can leaders create good fortune?


“If you seek to achieve greatness, stretching for amazing is a great way to start.” John Doerr

By Dan Rockwell


Set a goal that requires you to rethink the way you do things.

Astro Teller, leader of Google X, illustrated the power of Moon-Shot-Goals when he said …

“If you want your car to get 50 miles per gallon, fine. You can retool your car a little bit. But if I tell you your car has to run 500 miles on a gallon of gas, you have to start over.” (WSJ)

Moon-Shot-Goals ignite creativity and innovation, not simply greater productivity and efficiency.

The gospel of OKR’s – Objectives and Key Results:

John Doerr has been preaching the gospel of OKR’s since the 80’s. He learned the system from Andy Grove (9/2/1936 – 3/21/2016), former CEO of IBM.

What and how:

Doerr explains, “The objective is WHAT I want to have accomplished. The key results are HOW I’m going to get it done. The objectives are typically longer lived. They’re bold and aspirational. The key results are aggressive, but always measurable, time-bound, and limited in number.” (HBR)

Timing and OKR’s:

Short-term goals impact daily behavior. Long-term goals define success and establish direction.

The 5 superpowers of OKR’s:

The acronym FACTS explains the 5 superpowers of OKR’s.

  1. Focus. OKR’s explain what matters most. “Innovation means saying No to one thousand things.” Steve Jobs
  2. Alignment – common purpose and creative latitude. Micro-management is mismanagement.
  3. Commitment and accountability. Establish weakly check-ins.
  4. Tracking. Make everyone’s KR’s public and trackable. People want to know if they’re succeeding.
  5. Stretching. A pattern of 70% attainment indicates OKR’s are functioning effectively. 100% achievement means the KR’s were too low.

(The above list is adapted from, “How VC John Doerr Sets (and Achieves) Goals”)

Note: Some operational KR’s need to be achieved 100%.







February 2023

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