Magazine article Management Today

Everything You Know about Business Is Wrong: You Snooze, You Lose

Magazine article Management Today

Everything You Know about Business Is Wrong: You Snooze, You Lose

Article excerpt

Going the extra mile. Giving 110%. Pulling an all-nighter. Whatever your cliche of choice, it's axiomatic in today's hyper-competitive business world that success means keeping your nose to the grindstone and being ready for every eventuality. Slackers never win the race.

It sounds good, but is it true? Not really. Firstly, however hard you work and however carefully you prepare, you simply cannot account for every possible event that might come to pass. Real life is not like that - as they say in the army, even the best plans don't survive the first contact with the enemy.

Secondly, it doesn't allow for what mathematicians call randomness - blind chance, or luck if you prefer. The things you can't discover any other way because until you find them you have no idea what you are looking for, like penicillin and the Post-it note.

Even ants appreciate this - when foraging, most of the ants in a colony diligently follow pheromone trails laid by their fellow creatures, leading to established sources of nourishment. But a few of them always wander around at random, because that's the best way of locating new resources and maintaining a constant food supply. …

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